The dreaded epidemic of smallpox during the year of 1893 put a severe tax on the facilities of the Hospital and Msgr. Bornemann, ever wise and solicitous for those needing health care, assisted the Hospital in every way during what could be called a “reign of terror.” The Reading Board of Health requested that a stable on the Hospital grounds be used a temporary quarters for the poor victims until they could be moved to the Berks County Home in Cumru Township. Day and night, Doctors and Sisters cared for the smallpox patients; not only caring for them, but making every possible effort to keep the disease from spreading.
St. Joseph Hospital is the proud possessor of a copy of the “Resolution of Gratitude” passed by the Board of Health of Reading in recognition of the Doctors and Sisters for their heroic work during the epidemic. Great credit is due to Msgr. Bornemann and the members of the Board for the encouragement and assistance given to the Sisters during their trying period. It has been said that tents for the convalescent victims dotted the hillside and need for more accommodations for the patients was indicated.