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Celebrating 145 Years Of Health And Healing

Sent on Behalf Of John R. Morahan, CEO, Penn State Health St. Joseph

Tomorrow we celebrate 145 years of health and healing in serving the Berks community. Ours is a story filled with both care and compassion as well as change and transformation.

It’s a story that reflects how we’ve evolved to serve the growing and varied needs of the people of the Berks community—with the urging of Monsignor Bornemann—and also building on the vision of our Foundresses, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. The Sisters’ ministry is anchored in a lifetime commitment to continuing the healing ministry of Jesus through selfless service to those in need. It is reflected in this mission:

“To nurture the healing ministry of the Church, supported by education and research. Fidelity to the Gospel urges us to emphasize human dignity and social justice as we create healthier communities.”

From the first days in a small farmhouse on 12th and Walnut Streets, through all the advances in care techniques and medications and the modern buildings and cutting-edge technologies, the Sisters have partnered with dedicated lay men and women. And while these faithful women religious are now fewer in numbers, the Sisters who work at St. Joseph today serve as a treasured inspiration of our rich history, caring tradition and bright future. So, on this 145th anniversary, we honor OUR Sisters: Sr. Rose Dvorak, OSF, (Mission and Ministry) and Sr. Beth Howe, OSF, MD, (Emergency Medicine), both of the founding community of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, and Sr. Joseph Patrice Weitzel, FSSJ, (Pharmacy), a member of another branch of the Franciscan religious family, who faithfully continue the ministry established by Jesus Christ.

The Sisters are a shining example of selfless service and faithful affiliation with the Catholic Church. Their example of servant leadership reflects our continuing Catholic identity and, with that, our mandate to live God’s love through Jesus’ healing ministry. This faith forms a set of sacred obligations including respect for life and human dignity, promoting workplace justice, prioritizing the needs of the poor and vulnerable, contributing to the common good, using financial resources responsibly, and caring for the environment. These obligations support actions that reflect the church’s moral and social teaching and ensure that we see every person as a treasure, every life as a sacred gift and every human being as a unity of body, mind and spirit. We also continue to be guided by our core values of Reverence, Integrity, Compassion and Excellence.

As part of our 145th celebration, I want to thank you for your compassion and your commitment to St. Joseph. I thank you for the actions you take each day, small and great, to live and advance our mission. What you do truly honors all that the Sisters held dear in 1873; it’s a legacy that continues today and into tomorrow, as we create communities of hope and healing – together.

Thank you.