St. Vincent Charity builds excitement for sesquicentennial with social media blitz

February 15, 2015

St. Vincent Charity School of Nursing students outside the school's main entrance in 1968.
Cleveland’s St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is building momentum for its yearlong 150th anniversary celebration with a website and a social media campaign under the acronym "STV150."

The hospital started building awareness of its deep roots in the community last spring — 150 days before the official kickoff — with a presence on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Historic moments in the hospital’s development are featured at The hospital is encouraging people to share stories of how St. Vincent has impacted their lives and is posting submissions on its Facebook page, at

Anniversary events formally kicked off with a biennial fundraising gala in October and a December Christmas tree lighting and continue with a Feb. 28 anniversary bash, an August picnic for the community and a September closing Mass and luncheon.

St. Vincent Charity traces its beginnings to the 1860s when Cleveland residents worried that without a hospital, the growing city would not be able to adequately care for soldiers returning from the Civil War or for victims of railroad and steamboat accidents. In 1863, Cleveland Bishop Louis Amadeus Rappe proposed to the city council that Cleveland build a hospital and that the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine provide the nursing care in the hospital. According to a historical account now on the hospital’s website, "Newspaper editorials opposed a hospital under Catholic auspices since nine-tenths of the taxpayers were Protestants, and proposed instead the establishment of a nonsectarian hospital." But, the bishop continued his efforts, and he offered to both build the hospital — largely using philanthropic dollars — and provide the sisters to staff it. That plan earned the city's support, and the community raised $42,000 of the $72,000 cost of the hospital.

The sisters began their nursing work at the hospital on Oct. 5, 1865, and Sisters of Charity still work at the hospital. Sr. Miriam Erb, CSA, is the facility's vice president of mission and ministry; Sr. Jane Lab, CSA, is administrative assistant for the hospital's certified pastoral education program; Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, is congregational leader and honorary chair of the hospital's anniversary campaign; and Sr. Mary Denis Maher, CSA, is the congregation's archivist and has been assisting with the hospital's anniversary campaign.

Today, the facility is a teaching hospital that includes a spine and orthopedic institute and a bariatric surgery center and that offers cardiovascular, emergency medicine, primary care, behavioral health and addiction medicine. It is part of Cleveland-based Sisters of Charity Health System.


Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.