SA's oldest hospital writes another chapter in its long history

Christus-Santa Rosa City Centre begins transition


SAN ANTONIO – Christus-Santa Rosa City Centre has withstood the test of time.

Started by three French nuns who opened its doors in 1869, the hospital originally opened to help settlers of San Antonio battle Yellow Fever and Cholera.

"It's always been a response to the people of San Antonio (and) their needs," said Sister Michele O'Brien, who has served at the hospital since 1965.

Now, 142 years later, those needs have changed.

"The dream, even 20 years ago, was to be exclusively for children," said Christine Gonzalez, director of volunteer services at Christus-Santa Rosa.

That dream of better serving children will soon become reality, but not before having to say goodbye to a longstanding history of serving all San Antonio patients.

On Wednesday, hospital officials and staff walked down memory lane, remembering the hospital's history and contribution to San Antonio.

There was some sadness amongst attendees, with parts of the hospital being decommissioned, including one of its most historic buildings, St. John's Chapel. It will be torn down to make room for the free-standing children's hospital.

"There is that sadness because we are letting go, but there's that richness, too. Let's rejoice and be the best we can," said Gonzalez, who added there was plenty of excitement moving forward.

The next step in the hospital's rich history is to become a preeminent children's hospital, with the goal of keeping families with children who need specialized care in San Antonio.

Meanwhile, the transition of moving adult patients out of the City Centre facility has already begun.

"Since our announcement in April, we've been working diligently with our medical staff and our directors here as well, to transition our patients to other campuses within the Christus-Santa Rosa Health System," said Vice President of Administration of City Centre Jerry Rodriguez.

The hospital has also worked to move patients who want to stay downtown to other hospitals.

The completion date for the children's hospital has not been announced. However, all adult patients are scheduled to be out of City Centre by July 31. Child patients currently at the hospital will be unaffected.

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