CHRISTUS St. Michael Celebrates 100 Years of Healing

Chris Karam, CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System President/CEO speaks during the 100 year celebratory Holy Mass
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CHRISTUS St. Michael welcomed a century of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, with a Celebration of Holy Mass with the Most Reverend Joseph Strickland, Bishop of Tyler, Texas as Celebrant.

The Most Reverend Anthony Taylor was Concelebrant. Music was presented by Marc-André Bougie and Michelle Karam along with Sacred Heart and St. Edward Parish Choirs.

The St. Michael story began humbly when the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word-Houston were invited to Texarkana by the city fathers to establish and operate a hospital for the “treatment of all poor and indigent persons in need of medical attention and other persons as the trustees under the rules and regulations permit.”

It was a late summer evening in 1916 when Phillip Brooks found his way into a boiler room of a building in Texarkana. As a transient, he had no job, no money, no ties to the community. What he did have, though, was a fever of 106 degrees. Phillip Brooks was dying when the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word found him in the boiler room of the new Michael Meagher Memorial Hospital.

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Members of the community follow along during the celebratory Holy Mass

Phillip Brooks was the first patient of the new 50-bed hospital on its official opening day of September 14, 1916. Michael Meagher, for whom the hospital was named, no doubt would have been pleased since Mr. Brooks personified the hospital’s original intent: “to serve those who are ill, regardless of race, religion, or economic status.”

A Catholic Irishman and a civil engineer, Michael Meagher, not only witnessed the founding of Texarkana but responded to calls for the betterment of his adopted community. What Meagher did not witness was the founding of his namesake hospital. Upon his untimely death in 1909, Meagher left his entire estate for the establishment of a hospital in Texarkana to meet the health care needs of the community and surrounding areas.

Now, 100 years later, Michael Meagher’s vision lives on as CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System continues to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

CHRISTUS St. Michael hardly resembles the old Michael Meagher Hospital. The 128-acre campus, made possible by additional land purchases in 2003 and 2005, offers a full range of health care services in one location.

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Expansion over the decades of CHRISTUS St. Michael’s history has been necessary to meet the demands for advanced, accessible health care in the Texarkana region. Yet this expansive development has not overshadowed or diminished the Catholic mission or the core values of dignity, integrity, excellence, compassion and stewardship. Rather, the Sisters of Charity, CHRISTUS St. Michael’s visionary leaders, and health care professionals have worked tirelessly over the past 100 years to design a comprehensive health care system that perpetuates the hospital’s mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to all.

It is this commitment, dedication and adherence to Michael Meagher’s and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word’s honorable and charitable legacies that have driven the Associates, physicians, Sisters and volunteers of CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System toward excellence and compassion for 100 years.

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