St. Francis de Sales nears opening as teaching hospital

February 1, 2015

The new St. Francis de Sales Hospital here is one of the first public buildings to be completed since much of this Haitian capital city was destroyed by a massive earthquake five years ago, and the sense of gratitude and achievement against great odds was palpable at the hospital's official dedication Jan. 15.

The 200-bed, 125,000-square-foot, nine-building hospital complex is owned and governed by the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince. The campus is expected to start ramping up outpatient services this month and open for inpatient care in the spring. Throughout its 100-plus-year history, St. Francis de Sales Hospital has been the principal health care provider for the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the Haitian capital. The support of the Catholic Church and its U.S. health ministry has ensured it will be able to continue in that role.

Following the earthquake, Catholic Relief Services joined with the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince to plan for the rebuilding of St. Francis de Sales. CHA organized a fundraising effort, the Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal, to support the reconstruction, and ministry organizations contributed more than $10.1 million to CRS for the project and to strengthen health care in Haiti by building a network of faith-based hospitals.

Speaking at the dedication, Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, CHA president and chief executive officer, said, "I am so proud and so grateful to the CHA-member organizations who responded to CRS's initial emergency request for funds immediately after the earthquake devastated this beautiful country. It is heartwarming to know that, in their generosity, they have played so significant a role in rebuilding St. Francis de Sales as a modern teaching hospital."

Yet, Sr. Carol said the Catholic Church recognizes much remains to be done for the poor of Haiti. On Jan. 10, Sr. Carol attended a day of reflection and solidarity with Haiti hosted by the Vatican. At a special audience for attendees of the program, Pope Francis said, "There can be no true rebuilding of a country without also rebuilding each person in his or her totality."

St. Francis de Sales Hospital
St. Francis de Sales Hospital
(Photo credit: Chris Ryan)

Archibshop Guire Poulard
Archbishop Guire Poulard of Port-au-Prince greets Haitian President Michel Martelly at the dedication of the rebuilt St. Francis de Sales Hospital.
(Photo credit: Chris Ryan)

Pope Francis
In a private audience Jan. 10, Pope Francis addresses participants attending a day of reflection and solidarity for Haiti at the Vatican.
(Photo credit: Ed Giganti)

Sr Carol Keehan
Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, CHA president and chief executive officer, tells the audience at the dedication that a Catholic hospital must be a place where rich and poor feel their dignity as children of God is always respected.
(Photo credit: Chris Ryan)

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, blesses St. Francis de Sales Hospital at the celebration.
(Photo credit: Chris Ryan)

Dorm-style room
A dorm-style room that will house medical or nursing students at the St. Francis de Sales teaching hospital.
(Photo credit: Chris Ryan)
Watch the dedication video and view additional photos.



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