While the spirit of Catholic health care — particularly the church’s healing ministry — will continue at two local hospitals they are no longer Catholic institutions.
Sts. Mary and Elizabeth, located at 1850 Bluegrass Avenue, and Our Lady of Peace, 2020 Newburg Road, have been acquired by UofL Health, which assumed ownership on Nov. 1.
The facilities were founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and more recently owned by KentuckyOne Health and CommonSpirit Health, serving throughout the years as Roman Catholic institutions.
Among the most immediately visible changes will be modified names and signs to reflect the new ownership.
Because the hospitals will no longer be operated as Catholic facilities, the Archdiocese of Louisville requested that the names of Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital and Our Lady of Peace Hospital be changed to reflect the change in affiliation, according to a news release from UofL Health.
The facilities are now known as UofL Health — Mary & Elizabeth Hospital and UofL Health — Peace Hospital. Crosses adorning the outside of the buildings are being removed, but the hospitals will maintain their chapels, the news release said.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said in the release that he is encouraged by UofL Health’s “desire to continue to honor the spirit of the church’s healing ministry” as it acquires the facilities.
He also offered “gratitude to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth for their long legacy of care and compassion.”
“I appreciate the University of Louisville’s stated intention to respect the history of the sisters’ health care ministry, and I am pleased that the university will seek to maintain health care for underserved areas of the city, serve the poor and vulnerable and preserve employment for many local employees,” he said.
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth have served in health care for more than two centuries. They founded Sts. Mary & Elizabeth in 1874 and Our Lady of Peace in 1951.
Sister Sangeeta Ayithamattam, president of the SCNs, said the congregation looks forward to this new chapter and “offer blessings upon the transition.”
“We continue to consider access to healthcare of utmost importance, especially for those underserved and living on the margins. Knowing that the two hospitals are going to an organization that has a sense of the SCN legacy of compassionate care and concern for employees makes us hopeful.”
A closing prayer service and Mass was recently held at Peace Hospital. Catholic artifacts, such as books, paintings and crucifixes, once found inside the chapel, hallways, meeting spaces, exteriors and other areas at the two facilities have been moved to the sisters’ campus in Nazareth, Ky.
Some pieces with ties to the SCNs will stay in place. The picture of Sister John Miriam, who was administrator of Sts. Mary & Elizabeth and oversaw the construction of the current site on Bluegrass Avenue, will remain in the front hall of the hospital. In addition, the timeline tracing the hospital’s history in the main corridor will remain.