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St. Vincent Hospital celebrates 125th anniversary


GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The 125th anniversary of St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay is being honored this week.

"We've had activities all week," says Chief Nurse Executive Paula Hafeman. "Every colleague is part of our mission, and they are carrying on the Sisters mission, so they're celebrating with our Sisters and our leadership."

The St. Vincent Hospital story began with a letter written in 1888. At the urging of community leaders, Bishop Frederick Katzer wrote to the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Springfield, Illinois, asking for help. 

At the time, Green Bay had no hospital.

Five sisters made the trip from Springfield to Green Bay, and on December 12, 1888, they opened a hospital in a 23-room house on Quincy Street with just one chair, four beds, and an old cook stove.

"They would trade $25 of goods so they could survive and eat, for a certificate good for health care for a year," said Hafeman.

Since then, Hafeman points out that the biggest changes in health care are technology and specialty care.

"Our mission is to love to heal, that's what the Sisters did, they loved people to wellness," says Hafeman. "That's what we are here to do; we just have more tools to do it with."

Renovations to the medical facility since the 437-bed hospital was completed in 1957, has brought about the region's first Newborn Intensive Care Unit, the Heart Center, the Regional Emergency Center and St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center.

Hafeman says they continue to serve as many people as they can and will strive to be a part of the fabric of Green Bay.