“Just because it has not been done before is no reason why it should not be done now.”
Mary Aikenhead, Foundress of the Sisters of Charity Congregation.
This year, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane celebrates 60 years of compassionate care.
Our story is part of a larger legacy that begins with one inspirational woman, Mother Mary Aikenhead, who saw the plight of people who were poor and suffering. Through her great faith and trust in Divine Providence, she founded the Religious Sisters of Charity to serve and bring hope to those most in need.
In 1954 the Kangaroo Point Campus on which our hospital stands was given to the Sisters of Charity by Miss Mary Bedford in honour of her good friend Dr Lilian Cooper, the first female doctor registered in Queensland. Miss Bedford’s wish was for the Sisters to establish a hospice for the sick and dying, especially those who were poor.
By 1957 the hospital, with the support of a generous community, was established. The Sisters opened the hospital doors (then known as Mount Olivet Hospital) and their hearts to a community in need. They served without prejudice, they cared with compassion, they instilled hope.
Today, we serve as St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane, continuing in the footsteps of those pioneering women, inspired by their Spirit. We are Queensland’s largest specialist palliative care service provider. We innovate and lead highly specialised medical services for people with chronic, complex and multiple health needs and reach out to support refugees and people who are homeless or at risk in our community.
We are part of the legacy of the Sisters of Charity and continue their commitment to the “healing ministry of Jesus” under the auspice of Mary Aikenhead Ministries. They form our values today and are a solid and unshakeable foundation of our health service.
Did you know…
- The foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Duhig, who upon his death was the then longest serving bishop in the Catholic Church (48 years).
- Mother Giovanni Ackman, the hospital’s first administrator, was a dedicated fundraiser and won the hearts of many in her crusade for funding. Our chapel is named in her honour.
- In our first state-wide doorknock appeal in 1959, $30,000 British Pounds was raised. This is equivalent to over a $1,000,000 today. People gave whatever they could – crockery, clothing, furniture and even a London Taxi!
- The first hospice palliative inpatient/home unit was established in 1981. Sr Colleen McDonald, R.S.C and Mary Ferguson were the first home care workers.
- Sr Nola Riley was the last of The Sisters serving as hospital administrator from 1979 to 1992. Under her guidance, the hospice transformed into an integrated model of care. Our beautiful garden facing the Brisbane River is named in her honour.
- Our Commemorative Quilts are a tradition started in 1999 as a memorial to the many people cared for by our Palliative Care Service.
- Our name change from Mt Olivet to St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane in 2009 marked the end of an era. It reflected our new journey and shift to stewardship by Mary Aikenhead Ministries on behalf of the Sisters of Charity.
- The name St Vincent’s is taken from the hospital in Dublin, Ireland which was founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1834. The hospital was named in honour of St Vincent’s de Paul, the patron Saint of Charitable Societies.
- Today, we are Queensland’s largest provider of palliative care services and the only hospital in Queensland to offer adolescent pain management programs.
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