CHRISTUS St. Michael observes 100th anniversary

February 15, 2017

In 1915, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Galveston, Texas, agreed to a proposal from a Texarkana foundation's trustees to lease and operate a hospital for indigent sick people in that East Texas town. A civil engineer and Texarkana community leader, Michael Meagher, had died in 1909, leaving an estate valued at $75,000 to establish a facility to serve the region's poor.

Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word take part in a procession for the 1945 blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana, Texas. That facility was completed in 1948. Today, the hospital anchors the CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System.

The estate's board of trustees renovated and converted an old sanitarium into a 50-bed hospital called the Michael Meagher Memorial Hospital. It opened Sept. 14, 1916, under the sisters' management. The system it gave rise to, CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System, held a community Mass and celebration Sept. 14 to mark its centennial. Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, was the celebrant.

At its start, Michael Meagher Memorial's staff included 10 physicians, one dentist, 10 nurses and six Sisters of Charity.

Texarkana grew in the ensuing decades, and so too did demand for health care services. In 1948, the hospital opened a 127-bed facility near the legacy site and adopted a new name: St. Michael Hospital. That facility expanded four times over the next four decades but in time outgrew its downtown Texarkana campus. In 1994, the facility opened a new campus outside of the downtown area.

The hospital's founding congregation had expanded from Galveston to San Antonio. In 1999 the San Antonio Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and the Houston Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word combined their health care ministries to form what is now CHRISTUS Health. The Texarkana hospital was among those facilities.

Today, CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System includes the 312-bed hospital, a 50-bed rehabilitation hospital, imaging center and other facilities in Texarkana as well as a 65-bed hospital in Atlanta, Texas.



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