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Vincennes emergency hospital

Two Sisters of Providence took charge of the emergency hospital in Vincennes, Ind.

In addition to their work at the Military Hospital in Indianapolis, the Sisters of Providence also had charge of the emergency hospital in Vincennes, Ind., that was opened in July and August of 1861 and then again on May 29, 1862, for a short period. Sisters St. Felix Buchanan and Sophie Glenn were given the duty to manage this hospital. Vincennes Bishop Maurice de Saint-Palais offered to Gov. Morton a building on the seminary grounds to be used as a hospital.

The emergency hospital was needed because of an epidemic outbreak that occurred while men were being recruited in Vincennes. So many people under such unhealthy, cramped quarters caused disease to spread quickly. In the second volume of the Congregation’s history, the author Sister Eugenia Logan writes:

“The hospital had many cases of particularly virulent contagious diseases. An epidemic broke out among the new recruits and the contagion created a panic so city-wide that only with the greatest difficulty could supplies by obtained. Those who brought provisions came at night and left what they brought outside the hospital. The hired help fled at the approach of danger, leaving the Sisters alone to care for the stricken. The lives of the Sisters were threatened by patients suffering from feverish delirium as well as by the risk of the epidemic. The Sisters, however, remained at their post, washing linen at night, and cutting wood for the fires. Finally, the doctors got an old man to cut the woods and bring in water. After the first terror subsided, the people of Vincennes ventured to the relief of the Sisters.” (pages 73-74)

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The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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2 Comments

  1. craig frisz on October 11, 2013 at 2:49 am

    where was the Vincennes emergency hospital at?

  2. Sister Marie Grace Molloy on October 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

    The building offered for use was the old St. Gabriel’s College. Since it was on the seminary grounds, it would have been located near or on the present St. Francis Xavier Cathedral’s grounds in Vincennes. There was no address given.
    Sister Marie Grace Molloy, Archives

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