1885

During this period 1885, a legacy of Forty Thousand Dollars was bequeathed by Mr. Francis A. Drexel of firm of Drexels, Morgan and Company. Mr. Drexel’s death was mourned not only by his family and friends but by the many that were the recipients o f his charity. This legacy was a boon to the Hospital at a time when it was greatly needed and the gratitude of the Sisters has been manifested until the present day. On the fifteenth of February each year, since his death, a Mass is offered in the Chapels of our Order for him. His daughter, Miss Catherine Drexel, also known for her charity, later became a Nun and was Mother General of the Sisters of Charity in the far West.

Sister M. Juliana followed Sister Anastasia as Superior from 1886 to 1907. This valiant woman governed the Hospital for twenty-one years. It has been said of her that problems were not obstacles but rather challenges. It was during her tenure of office in 1893 that the smallpox epidemic struck Reading. Sister Juliana and her Sisters worked side by side with the Doctors and a group of men, an unofficial Board as it were.

With growth of the Hospital, it was recognized that the formation of an official Board of Management would be advisable, small in number but influential men of the City of Reading in 1890 formed a group to help the Sisters with their problems. These men proved a tower of strength, working with the Sisters and the Medical Board to give the City of Reading the best in health care. This first group of men over the years, gave their time and effort to the furtherance of St. Joseph Hospital, until seven years later (1897) an official Board was organized.

More land was purchased in 1893, coverage extending from Walnut to Elm Street, which was about half a city block. Thought 1883-1894 building was an imposing one, the interior had to be finished and made possible to receive more patients and an addition was added which would give capacity of one hundred and thirty-five beds.

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