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The Rule of Benedict directs: "Let care be given the sick, that they may be served as Christ."
This was the call the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton, South Dakota heeded when they came Cañon City, Colorado more than 60 years ago. The Sisters responded to a plea from Abbot Leonard Schwinn of Holy Cross Abbey in 1938. Abbot Schwinn was searching for nuns to take over the Fremont County Doctors' Hospital founded in Cañon City in 1917 and located at 432 Greenwood. This began a mission of healing and ministry that would continue until 1994.
A total of six Sisters had arrived by November of 1938. Working all day, seven days a week, these women dedicated their lives to the health and well being of the citizens of Fremont County. Sister Maurita, quoted in the Pueblo Chieftain in May 1988 said, "There were no days off. We had no such things in those days. There wasn't much time for anything but work."
And work they did. Together they laid the groundwork for the future of nonprofit religious-based health care in Fremont County.
They first purchased a larger building to house the hospital (the former Y.M.C.A. building at 431 Macon Avenue) and extensively remodeled it.
It was named Thomas More Hospital in honor of the English martyr who lived according to the teachings of his faith.
In 1942, it was renamed Saint Thomas More Hospital.
In 1968, with the donation of 10 acres of land and the fund-raising efforts of the community, our current hospital was built at 1338 Phay Avenue. The move allowed St. Thomas More to diversify into such areas as home health care, long term health care and rehabilitation services, services not usually available in rural hospitals at that time.
Like its predecessors, our current facility has been remodeled several times in the last thirty years to better serve the needs of our patients. Extensive remodeling in 1996 occurred in the ER and outpatient surgery areas and provided for a new main lobby. In the summer and fall of 2000, a new, "updated" look was given to the patient rooms and nursing station in the medical/surgical wing.
In 1994, the Benedictine Sisters turned the reins of St. Thomas More Hospital over to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Ohio, while still maintaining great interest in the hospital's success. Two years later, the Sisters of Charity Health Services of Colorado and PorterCare Adventist Health System formed a new, nonprofit, statewide-integrated health care delivery system known as Centura Health. St. Thomas More Hospital is now an affiliate of Centura Health.
In 2005, St. Thomas More Hospital underwent an exciting expansion to meet the growing needs of the communities we serve. The project included new, private patient rooms, expanded radiology and Emergency Room departments, a new surgery suite, lab and Intensive Care Unit, and an innovative Health & Fitness Center featuring a warm water therapy pool.
Today, the Benedictine heritage lives on as we strive to carry on their mission and good works.
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