100th Anniversary Book
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nswering the call to care formore than100years.A
T H E H O S P I T A L O F S A I N T R A P H A E L
Hospital ofSaint RaphaelA member of the Saint Raphael Healthcare System
Answering thecall to care
100 years of hope and healing at
the hospital of saint raphael
Hospital ofSaint RaphaelA member of the Saint Raphael Healthcare System
MISSION OF THE SAINT RAPHAELHEALTHCARE SYSTEM
The mission of the Saint Raphael Healthcare System, sponsored by
the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, is to care for and improve
the health of our patients, with compassion and with a special
concern for the underserved, poor and elderly.
MISSION OF THE HOSPITAL OF SAINT RAPHAEL
The Hospital is a community teaching hospital and health care
resource sponsored and guided by the values of the Sisters of Charity
of Saint Elizabeth and of the Roman Catholic Church. Our mission is
to witness, share in and promote excellence in the healing ministry of
Jesus Christ. We are committed to preserving the dignity and well-
being of each individual, and to assuring that every person is treated
according to the principles of charity and justice. We accept the
Gospel challenge that prompted our founders of the sponsoring
congregation, Saint Vincent DePaul, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and
Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan, by pledging every loving service in our
power to reach out to those in need of our services.
THE MISSION VALUES ON WHICH WERE FOUNDED AND THAT GUIDE ALL DECISIONS AND ACTIONS
Charity Justice Service StewardshipDignity Excellence Integrity
edicated to past and present Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, employees, physicians, trustees,
volunteers and Auxilians. Each of our first 100 years of excellence is because of you, and we commit to
carrying on your legacy.
This book is based on information and recollections from many sources. These include wonderful old
scrapbooks, memorabilia, reports and other materials from Saint Raphaels archives, materials and
photographs from the archives of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, taped oral histories of persons
now deceased, and countless interviews. Every effort has been made to validate dates and other facts,
some of which vary by source.
Working on this book has had special significance. I joined Saint
Raphaels in late 1981 to help plan its 75th birthday observance, never
thinking I would celebrate the 100th as well! But my roots are deeper
than that. While working on the 75th, I organized years of accumulated
materials into what evolved as Saint Raphaels archives. In the
process, I learned that the New Haven archi tectural firm of Brown &
von Beren, led by my great-grandfather and then grandfather, designed
the hospitals first new construction, the Saint Marys Building. It is an
honor and privilege to be part of this organization, to have learned
from the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, and to have worked side
by side with extraordinary colleagues.
Editor: Cindy von Beren, vice president/Corporate Affairs
A special thanks to the many individuals who were part of the
research, writing, editing, fact-checking and production of this
history, with particular gratitude to:
Patricia Mich, art director
Jennifer Duarte, graphic designer
Michael Dabbraccio, staff photographer
Christine Mora, director, Public Relations & Marketing
Pat Wales, director, Health Sciences Library
And to contributing writer Alix Boyle and contributing writer/editor
Cynthia Wolfe Boynton.
CHAPTER 1 Beginningsa hospital is born
CHAPTER 2 William Francis Verdi, M.D.
CHAPTER 3 The first 30 years
CHAPTER 4 Saint Raphael School of Nursing
CHAPTER 5 World War II
CHAPTER 6 The 1940s and 1950s
CHAPTER 7 Sister Louise Anthony Geronemo
CHAPTER 8 Saint Raphael Auxiliary and volunteers
CHAPTER 9 1960s and 1970s
CHAPTER 10 1980s and 1990s
CHAPTER 11 Sister Anne Virginie Grimes
CHAPTER 12 Advancing the science and art of medicine
CHAPTER 13 Entering the new millennium
CHAPTER 14 2007: A milestone anniversary to remember
CHAPTER 15 The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth
Contentsanswering the Call to Care
1If Saint Raphael s future is anything like its history, great things are ahead for all of us.
Saint RaphaelHealthcare SystemPresident and CEO David W. Benfer, FACHE
Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth General Superior SisterMaureen Shaughnessy,chairperson of the Saint RaphaelHealthcare System Board of Trustees.
2Introduction100 years of Caring
W hen the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth and Catholic HospitalAssociation agreed on January 30, 1907, to join forces and found
Saint Raphaels, their goal was to create a hospital that all members
of the community could call their own. It was to be a place where
every patientregardless of race, religion, ethnicity or income
levelreceived the best care, with the most compassionate touch.
A century later, this caring mission still guides Saint Raphaels, and
is what our physicians, nurses and other professionals strive to give
patients every day. Our long history of medical excellence, and the
roots weve established in Greater New Haven, made us proud and
excited to celebrate Saint Raphaels 100th birthday in 2007.
Thank you for opening this book and celebrating this milestone
with us. Within these pages, youll find great old photo graphs, facts
and memories about both the hospital and its place in the Greater
New Haven community. Its a community that has embraced and
supported Saint Raphaels for each of these 100 years. And for this,
we are most grateful.
Youll see in Chapter 1 that at the same time the Hospital of Saint
Raphael opened its doors, both the community and the field of
medicine were changing. Most people at the start of the 20th century
received medical care in their homes from family doctors. Family
members were expected to take care of loved ones. Hospitals at that
time were said to be for the poor and the friendless.
Yet as medicine advanced in the early 1900sthe beginnings of
modern surgery; the development of vaccines; an understanding of
how germs spread and the need for safe public health practices
people came to realize that hospitals were the best and safest places for
the delivery of increasingly sophisticated medical care.
Ready to meet that new demand for hospital care in New Haven
was Saint Raphaels. A 1913 New Haven Union newspaper article
praised Saint Raphaels for offering the best scientific medical
treatment available, calling the hospital a pioneer.
One hundred-plus years later, these phrases still describe
As you go through this book, youll see stories and photo graphs
showing how Saint Raphaels has grown to match advances in
medicine; how Saint Raphael physicians were among the first to
perform many breakthrough procedures; how compassion, dignity
and respect for patients have always made the Saint Raphael
difference; and how Saint Raphaels has formed an enduring
partnership with the community.
We wish it had been possible to include the names of every
person, department, treatment and procedure thats made a
difference over our first century. For that, however, wed need a
book this size for each of the hospitals 100 years. Instead, weve
done our best to cull stories, memories and photographs that best
3The invitation to thecorner-stone placementfor the Saint MarysBuilding, and relatednews coverage.
4represent the spirit and achieve ments of
both our hospital and health providers.
Please read on and enjoy.
Caring for the sick is a divine trust, said
the Sisters who started and continue to
sponsor Saint Raphaels. As a faith-based
organization and one of four Catholic-
sponsored acute care hospitals in Connect i -
cut, Saint Raphaels holds firm to this belief,
which will un doubtedly con tinue for the
next 100 yearsand beyond.
Thank you for your belief, support and
trust in us.
If Saint Raphaels future is anything like
its history, great things are ahead for all of us.
Early patient ward.
On behalf of theCatholic HospitalAssociation, urologistFrancis H. Reilly, M.D.,wrote to the Sisters of Charity of SaintElizabeth, requestingtheir help.
The silver trowel used to lay the cornerstone for the Saint MarysBuilding (below).
In Hebrew, Raphe means heal and El means God . Thus together, Rapha-el means God heals.
6Chapter 1ll over the United States, the early 1900s was a time of new
beginnings. New Haven was no different, as Italian, Irish and other
immigrants came to work for local factories and start new lives.
Downtown New Haven was bustling with tradesmen, trolleys and
tenements, and on every street corner were new accents, voices
Not everyone, however, embraced this changing, more colorful
community. Institutions begun by white, Protestant menthose who
founded the citywerent always eager to welcome those with
different faiths, faces and cultures.