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From humble beginnings and with limited resources, the Sisters of Charity with the help of truly supportive staff and the local Community, created a healthcare ministry that has served the people of Dublin and indeed people from many parts of the country down through the years. Our dedication to provide the best possible health care continues today, through our daily work in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, convalescent centres, and in the homes of the sick.
In 1832 there was a major outbreak of Cholera in Dublin. As the sisters tended the sick poor in their own homes, they soon realised that there was urgent need for a hospital where anyone and everyone in need of medical assistance could be cared for. Mary Aikenhead, the first Superior General of the Sisters of Charity, was a woman of dauntless courage and strong faith with an abiding compassion for the sick and the poor. She was determined to establish this hospital where the suffering poor would receive all the care that medical skills could provide.
During the 19th century it demanded more than ordinary courage to open a hospital. Today it is not easy to appreciate the many difficulties that beset her efforts to improve the conditions of the sick and suffering. Disease, hunger, unemployment and sub living conditions were all around her.
On 23rd January 1834, Mary Aikenhead responded to an urgent need in the city of Dublin and opened St Vincent’s Hospital. It was established at a time when the destitution of the city's poor was almost incredible. The slums were now encroaching on Georgian Dublin, the rich were moving out of the city and their Georgian dwellings were for sale. The Sisters of Charity took possession of No. 56 East St. Stephen’s Green.
The building was the town house of the Earl of Meath. The house was in excellent repair but much construction work had to be carried out before the building could function as a hospital.
Initially there were 12 beds. So great was the demand for the service that the hospital had no choice but to expand almost immediately. During all this time the hospital had to rely on its own resources for funds. It received an annual subscription of three hundred pounds from Dublin Corporation, but the rest of the money came from charitable donations.
In the mid-nineteen hundreds, it became evident that it was no longer possible to extend the Hospital in St Stephen’s Green. On 1st November 1970 the first patients were transferred from St Stephen’s Green to the current site in Elm Park. Today St. Vincent’s University Hospital is one of the largest voluntary teaching hospitals in the country.
In January 2003 St Vincent’s Healthcare Group was established. The Group continues our long and proud tradition, in a Healthcare environment that has changed and is becoming increasingly more complex. St. Vincent's hospital continues to provide a service, which is efficient and specialised in response to health needs today. High quality health care is provided in an atmosphere of Christian love and compassion operating according to the values of the Sisters of Charity Health service and drawing on the talents and creativity of all those who share our vision.