100 Lincoln Avenue
Carbondale, PA
Tel: (570) 281-1000 


SAINT JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL

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 A View from the Past


The history of the Apostolic commitment of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the community of Carbondale, began in August of 1876 when the Sisters opened a Mission and transferred the Novitiate for the training of Novices to the Carbondale community.

In September 1876, an Academy for day students was opened at Saint Rose Convent School. Extensive additions were made in 1893 and a Resident School for Boys under fourteen years of age was established. For over twenty-five years, Saint Rose "On the Hill" served as the Novitiate of the Congregation until 1902 when Mount Saint Mary's was erected in Scranton. The Academy continued to thrive and became one of the outstanding private educational institutions in the area.

In 1915, as a result of economic instability, Carbondale's non-sectarian City Private Hospital (the hospital was the property of a group of stockholders in the Carbondale area), then located in a two-story frame dwelling on Washington Street, faced an uncertain future. The Board of Directors of City hospital decided to sell this structure.

At that time Carbondale had a population of 20,000 including some adjacent communities from Archbald to Forest City. Although the community was not growing economically, its population was increasing. Many European emigrants were settling in the area, hopeful of employment in the mining and railroad industries.

Meanwhile, Monsignor Thomas Coffey, then pastor of St. Rose Parish, summoned Doctor Walter E. Loftus to the rectory and told him of his desire to have a Catholic Hospital in Carbondale. A committee was then appointed. This committee formed by the hospital's Medical Staff, Board Members and leading citizens of Carbondale explored carefully the feasibility of improving City Hospital's facilities. This group diligently studied the community's medical needs and considered every possible course of financial aid. Meanwhile Doctors Dixon and Martin, the doctors who controlled the City Hospital at this time, insisted that the work of the new hospital should be in charge of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who had been in Carbondale for many years engaged in the education of youth.

The Bishop Michael J. Hoban prevailed upon Mother Casimir, Superior of the IHM and asked her to send Sisters to begin the work of reorganizing the hospital. Mother Casimir sent three Sisters to the City Hospital: Sr. Donald accompanied by Sr. Melanie and Sr. Magdalen. On November 25, 1925, they assumed the responsibility for all activities of Carbondale City Hospital, including its School of Nursing. This marked the first step in the founding of Saint Joseph's Hospital of Carbondale.

Less than four months later, plans were made to transfer all patients and equipment to the larger Saint Rose Convent quarters. There, on March 26, 1926, the Convent building opened its doors to the public for the first time under the name of Saint Joseph's Hospital. The temporary hospital in the St. Rose Convent Building was a marked improvement upon the Carbondale City Hospital, but the need for a well planned modern hospital was ever in the minds of all who considered the health and welfare of the people of Carbondale of prime importance.

On December 7, 1927 laying of the cornerstone for the new Saint Joseph's Hospital was presided over by Cardinal Dougherty of Philadelphia. The construction of the hospital took two years to finish, at a cost of $500,000.00, and on July 29, 1929 was formally opened to the public. This public ceremony attracted a crowd of five thousand people to marvel at this modern, up-to-date building. Sister M. Donitella was Superintendent at the time.

The Sisters were now engaged in a huge project. The depression came and Carbondale was not excepted from its scourge. Many of those who had generously pledged sums of money were unable to help the sisters in their need. With a debt over $500,000, and the annual interest of $25,000 to meet, with little or no income, the situation soon become desperate.  Patients were taken in, but few had the money to pay the hospital for services rendered. Bills were unpaid, and the credit of the hospital became very questionable. And yet, as difficult as it was, the necessary money appeared each year from one source of another. .

This difficult financial situation continued for many years, and it was not until May, 1950, during the administration of Sister M. Lucina, that the hospital was cleared of debt. Sister Lucina was succeeded by Sister M. Cor Mariae who had been associated with the St. Joseph's School of Nursing for eighteen years. At this point a new era in the history of the hospital began.

In 1956, Marian Hall, including a residence and educational unit, was dedicated. 

In 1968, a Convent was built next to the hospital to house the Sisters. At this time , extensive renovations began at the hospital with a new Intensive Care unit followed by a renovated Pharmacy, Central Supply and Administration offices.

In 1971 the Northeast Tri-County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Unit opened a Clinic on the first floor of the Residence Hall. This was the beginning the conversion of sleeping rooms to  physician's offices when the Nursing School became a day program in 1973 and Marian Hall became the Professional Building.

In 1972, plans were completed for a new Emergency Room, Cafeteria and Kitchen.

In 1978, Saint Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing graduated its 50th and last class.

In 1983 the Computerized Tomography (CT) scanning was available at St. Joseph's.

In 1985, the hospital open the new patient wing which included two medical surgical floors, radiology, emergency, and short procedure unit. When this was completed, the existing hospital building was completely remodeled and refurbished.

In 1992, Saint Joseph's Hospital joined with Carbondale General Hospital to form Marian Community Hospital.

 

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Last update October 2000.Comments/Suggestions to [email protected]