The Vatican has approved a petition that allowed St. Louis-based Ascension Health to transition to a public juridic person sponsorship model. A newly formed PJP called Ascension Health Ministries became the health system's sole sponsor June 30.
Tony Tersigni, Ascension Health president and chief executive, said the change allows religious and laypeople to better share sponsorship responsibility. He said the PJP structure helps assure that Ascension Health will be sustained and strengthened over time. The largest Catholic and nonprofit health system in the U.S., Ascension Health has more than 1,200 locations in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
Ascension Health was formed in 1999, when four provinces of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul brought the Daughters of Charity National Health System together with the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth (now part of the Congregation of St. Joseph). In 2002, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet became the sixth sponsor when the Carondelet Health System joined Ascension Health. Plans now call for the Alexian Brothers Health System, sponsored by the Alexian Brothers, to join Ascension Health.
Since its formation, Ascension Health has operated under the sponsorship of a council with representation from its ministries' sponsoring religious congregations. In 2006, two members of the laity joined the council. In December 2010, the council petitioned the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to create Ascension Health Ministries and designate it as the sole sponsor.
The initial members of Ascension Health Ministries will be Sr. Helene Lentz, CSJ; Sr. Barbara Moore, CSJ; Sr. Mary Walz, DC; Dr. Andre Delbecq; Sr. Mary Kay Hadican, CSJ; Jack Logue; Gino Pazzaglini; Leroy Rheault; Sr. Mary Ann Rodgers, CSJ; and Sr. Kay Ryan, CSJ, who serves as interim chair.
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