St. Dominic Health Services of Jackson, Miss., has entered into exclusive discussions to join Baton Rouge, La.-based Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. Under the arrangement, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Ill., would transfer sponsorship of St. Dominic's to the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady congregation.
According to a St. Dominic's press release, the two nonprofit Catholic systems expect to complete the agreement in early 2019.
St. Dominic's traces its Catholic roots to 1946, when the Dominican Sisters of Springfield purchased the secular Jackson Infirmary. Today, St. Dominic Hospital is a 571-bed hospital that anchors the St. Dominic Health Services system. That system also includes a continuing care campus, a network of clinics, physician network, school nurse program, mobile care, foundation and other programming. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System has five hospitals as well as a system of clinics, elderly housing and other facilities throughout Louisiana. The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady sponsor that health system.
In a press release, St. Dominic's said the Dominican Sisters determined through discernment that the transfer of sponsorship of the health ministry is necessary to "secure the future" of the system.
Sr. M. Dorothea Sondgeroth, OP, associate executive director of the St. Dominic Health Services Foundation, said in the release that "our diminishing numbers cannot sustain our role as its sponsor." She said the sponsor's decision was a "difficult" one, but the right one.
St. Dominic's said by becoming part of a larger Catholic nonprofit health system, it will gain resources and backing needed to build on its tradition of high-quality, personalized care.
According to Andy North, St. Dominic Hospital director of marketing, "the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady have expressed their strong desire for the Dominican Sisters to continue their involvement with St. Dominic's. The Dominican Sisters will be able to remain and work at St. Dominic's as long as they would like or are able to do so." He said the Dominican Sisters likely will continue in their current roles.
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