Category Archives: Ministries

Tenth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

On August 25, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, causing widespread destruction and loss of life in the region. New Orleans was hit especially hard. The text below comes from a news story which appeared a few days after the storm.

… As the waters continued to rise in New Orleans, four Navy ships raced toward the Gulf Coast with drinking water and other emergency supplies, and Red Cross workers from across the country converged on the devastated region. The Red Cross reported it had about 40,000 people in 200 shelters across the area in one of the biggest urban disasters the nation has ever seen.

The death toll from Hurricane Katrina reached at least 110 in Mississippi alone, while Louisiana put aside the counting of the dead to concentrate on rescuing the living, many of whom were still trapped on rooftops and in attics.

A full day after the Big Easy thought it had escaped Katrina’s full fury, two levees broke and spilled water into the streets on Tuesday, swamping an estimated 80 percent of the bowl-shaped, below-sea-level city, inundating miles and miles of homes and rendering much of New Orleans uninhabitable for weeks or months.

… Officials said it was simply too early to estimate a death toll. One Mississippi county alone said it had suffered at least 100 deaths, and officials are “very, very worried that this is going to go a lot higher,” said Joe Spraggins, civil defense director for Harrison County, home to Biloxi and Gulfport. In neighboring Jackson County, officials said at least 10 deaths were blamed on the storm.
Several of the dead in Harrison County were from a beachfront apartment building that collapsed under a 25-foot wall of water as Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast with 145-mph winds Monday. Louisiana officials said many were feared dead there, too, making Katrina one of the most punishing storms to hit the United States in decades.

[Louisiana Governor Kathleen] Blanco asked residents to spend Wednesday in prayer.
“That would be the best thing to calm our spirits and thank our Lord that we are survivors,” she said. “Slowly, gradually, we will recover; we will survive; we will rebuild.”

The Daughters of Charity have ministered in New Orleans since 1830, serving in school ministry, health care, social work, and parish ministry. Since the storm, the Sisters have returned to New Orleans and taken a leadership role in providing community-based health care through Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans (DCSNO). DCSNO operates five health centers which provide care for chronic illnesses such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression. Women’s health, behavioral/mental health, dental, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services are also available at select health centers. It is a member of Ascension Health, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health care system. DCSNO’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of our community and to be a presence of the Love of Jesus in the lives of all they serve and with whom they partner.

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Nursing Education – Sanders Medical Books

Another important aspect of the Sisters’ work in health care was nursing education. From the 1890s to the 1970s, nursing education was based in hospitals. Many Daughter of Charity hospitals had schools of nursing associated with them. Nursing students would have learned from textbooks such as those featured in the catalog below, from W.B. Sanders Company, West Washington Square, Philadelphia. Based on Worldcat searches for some of the titles, we think the catalog was printed around 1915.

Sanders was a publisher of academic medical books. The company was founded in Philadelphia in 1888 by Walter Burns Sanders. Originally independent, the company was acquired in the 1960s by CBS, where it became part of their publishing division Holt, Rinehart & Winston. When CBS left the publishing field in 1986, it sold the academic publishing units to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Harcourt was acquired by Reed Elsevier in 2001.
(Source: Wikipedia)


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19th century medicine advertisement

Mason's Health Defenders - Front Mason's  Health Defenders - Back








The Daughters of Charity have been caring for the sick since 1633, and they have witnessed many advances in medicine. Recently, While arranging and describing the records of a mission in Philadelphia, we came across this ad for “Mason’s Health Defenders”. We do not know whether the Daughters ever used this medicine in their work, nor do we have any information about the effectiveness of these medicines. However, advertisements like this are an interesting window into 19th-century medical practices.

“Catarrh” means congestion, especially congestion associated with the common cold.
“Piles” is another word for hemorrhoids
“Croup” is an upper respiratory infection, commonly found among children and marked by a harsh barking cough

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