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​CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System celebrates a century-and-a-half of providing relief to the suffer

February 10, 2020 | posted by Archdiocese of San Antonio

Topics: Vocations

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System celebrates a century-and-a-half of providing relief to the suffering

It was during the first week of Advent in 1869 that the first Mass was celebrated at the newly established Santa Rosa Infirmary. The foundation Mass, celebrated on December 3, 1869, is described as being attended by the Sisters and a few close friends. “The chapel was a small room in the hospital in which there was no sufficient space for many worshippers.”

On December 3, 2019, attendees gathered in The Chapel of the Incarnate Word Motherhouse to celebrate the heritage of the past 150 years and what has been accomplished through the healthcare ministry of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System and its mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

It was a time to give thanks for all the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word along with the many lay men and women who have participated in the mission of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa through its years of growth: from Santa Rosa Infirmary to Santa Rosa Hospital in 1930; to the Children’s Hospital being opened in 1959, through the transitioning of Sister administrators to lay administrators; to the expansion of the system to the present that includes five full-service hospitals, including The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

After welcoming comments from Dr. Dennis Gonzales, regional vice president of Mission Integration for the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System; and Sister Teresa Maya, CCVI, congregational leader from the Sisters of Charity in the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, acknowledged that as worshippers gathered to celebrate 150 years of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa, they also come together at a time of great crisis.

He referred to the first reading at the liturgy from Isiah, when Isaiah spoke words of comfort and assurance in God to the people of Jerusalem and Judah, who were very afraid of the Assyrian empire and its aggressive policies of domination of peoples. God sent the prophet to describe a future world that resembles a return to the Garden of Eden -- calves and young lions playing together, leopards lying in peace with young goats, young cows and bears resting together.

“God will send a Savior who will rule wisely, who will ensure justice for all -- a ruler who will respect the innate human rights and dignity of everyone, including the poor, the widow, the orphan, the stranger,” the archbishop explained. “The Spirit of God will rest upon this Messiah, this Son of David. He will be empowered to establish the kingdom of God despite the forces of evil at work in the world.”

Archbishop Gustavo described the characteristics of that kingdom as being justice and peace, mercy and compassion, love of God and neighbor, reconciliation, harmony, unity. “Jesus has reminded us that the Kingdom of God -- while it is clearly not yet fully present -- is already here among us.”

The San Antonio prelate added that we see signs of the kingdom in CHRISTUS Santa Rosa when doctors and nurses bring healing or alleviation of suffering, treating their patients with dignity. “We see signs of the kingdom when nurses’ aides and dietary staff and security personnel help people who are in difficult times -- respecting their individual needs and rights. Yes, the kingdom of God is among us,” he continued.

The Missionary of the Holy Spirit emphasized that Jesus praises his heavenly Father for revealing the good news of the kingdom of God to all the world, and that we are all God’s daughters and sons, created in his image and likeness. “As missionary disciples of the risen Lord, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live our lives in accord with the gospel, proclaiming God’s enduring, unconditional love to all whom we encounter not only by our words but also by our actions,” he said.

The archbishop concluded by exclaiming that Our Lady of Guadalupe is with us and the risen Christ is with us. “The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom, courage, and strength to build up the kingdom of God here and now!”

Closing comments were provided by Dean Alexander, president and CEO of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System.