St. Louis Hospital expands
JERUSALEM – Saint Louis hospital founded in Jerusalem by the Latin Patriarch and the French Consulate more than 160 years ago plans an expansion. The institute, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, derives its renown both by the quality of the care and by the acceptance of all regardless of religious creed.
As the only hospital in Jerusalem that specializes in pain therapy and oncology, at the same time Christian and inserted in the Israeli healthcare system, the Saint Louis hospital is unique in its kind. It is a place where every day you come alongside Jewish patients, Christian doctors, and Muslim families. Or vice versa. In this place, the Sisters of St. Joseph, who have served the hospital since 1948, make it a point of honor to accommodate anyone whatever their religion and their origins. Even thirty volunteers, from the four corners of the earth, collaborate with generosity.
En route to the future
The hospital which has received from the Knesset in 1988, the “prize for the Quality of Life”, is beginning to grow. “We have two projects for the coming years; re-structure and bring up to standard the rooms by the year 2013 and the creation of ten new sleeping berths by 2016 “explains Sister Monika, head nurse. The amount necessary for the completion of the work is 2 million euro, of which at the moment only half a million is raised. Upon completion of the work, the hospital will be able to accommodate 60 patients. Today it welcomes 50, of which 17 are long-term patients and 33 sick. Twenty percent of them are Christians.
“We want to ensure that each of them is what each one is”
To respect each patient for what he/she is. Respect their origins, faith, and habits. A key slogan of the hospital is, “We try to create a place where the man – the patient – is in the center. Respecting all that he is without wanting to change him,” says sister Monika. “It is thus that the Saint Louis hospital became the only Christian kosher hospital!” specifies the nun. And this having its own chapel.
It is often the case that patients Christians, Jews or Muslims share the same room. Which gives rise to unusual meetings between the families which Sister Monika is and excited witness. As, for example, a recent friendship was born in daily life, between the Jewish father at the bedside of his comatose daughter and the husband of a Muslim patient. “At the bedside of a relative who suffers, hearts get closer, hands are extended… and the social, religious or political boundaries begin to disappear”.
In the face of the question as to whether suffering is necessary to bring people together, Sister Monika responds a decisive “No”. “You don’t need to exploit suffering. Especially, as is clearly seen, in this region where suffering is sometimes the cause of violence”. To conclude, she explains, “it is true that suffering can open doors, allows you to see the heart of man” and in this sense “we are aware that the sick make us the gift of peace”. Because when you see the heart, peace is possible.
Amélie de La Hougue