The two Congregations of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston and San Antonio share a common mission of providing the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, which began more than 130 years ago. The shared legacy of the two Congregations dates back to 1866 when three Sisters Religious came from France in response to a call from Catholic Bishop Claude M. Dubuis to come to Texas to help care for the sick and infirm. In the leading port city of Galveston, the Sisters founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and opened the first Catholic hospital in the state. In 1869, three members of the Congregation traveled to San Antonio and established Santa Rosa Hospital. Due to the distance between the cities and the problems of transportation at the time, the Congregation in San Antonio became a separate order with the same name as its founding Congregation.
The Congregations of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston announced in September of 1997 their plans to work together toward combining the health care systems which each sponsors. In July 1998, the two signed a letter of intent, calling for all assets of the Sisters of Charity Health Care System (SCH) and the Incarnate Word Health System (IWHS) to become part of CHRISTUS Health. On February 1, 1999, that dream became a reality and CHRISTUS Health was born.
In 1972 Space Center Memorial Hospital opened to serve the 55,000 community members surrounding NASA Manned Spacecraft Center. The goal of the new hospital was "to return to the people of our country the benefits in the form of health service dividends produced from space exploration."
Unfortunately, the facility was closed in September 1974, only 13 months after it opened, by the Federal Housing Administration because the hospital was behind in mortgage payments. The hospital was unoccupied until the federal government took it over.
In 1981 Congress passed an administration bill, part of President Reagan’s budget-cutting proposals, that closed eight Public Health Service hospitals in the United States. The Houston-based Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Health Care Systems was selected by the federal government to assume control of the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Nassau Bay. The government said Sisters of Charity was chosen because of its reputation for providing quality care for its patient population. The Sisters purchased the facility for $1.
On Dec. 9, 1981, CHRISTUS St. John Hospital treated its first patient. The founding sisters of the hospital, Sister Clare Marie, Sister Frances Therese, and Sister Edwin Berry, worked night and day to build St. John Hospital into the quality health care facility it is today. The hospital opened to serve the needs of the community, merchant marines, workers for the Department of Defense as well as Vietnamese and American shrimpers.
In 1982 CHRISTUS St. John Hospital was one of the first hospitals to have a layman, rather than a member of the Congregation, as administrator. Over the years, CHRISTUS St. John Hospital, located across from Johnson Space Center, has been under contract with NASA for provision of the medication kits for the Space Shuttle and for physiological testing for the space program.
A $9 million expansion that was completed in 1989 debuted the concept of LDRP suites in the Center for New Life, enlarged the emergency department and improved diagnostic imaging capabilities.
On Jan. 23, 1998, the hospital unveiled its new street name and address. Hospital Boulevard was renamed St. John Drive in an official proclamation from the mayor. The hospital’s founding sisters were forever memorialized in the new street address, since the "3" in 18300 was chosen to represent the three sisters.
CHRISTUS St. John Hospital has always been committed to the CHRISTUS Health Mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ through community involvement and programs. The hospital is responsible for establishing Point of Light Clinic, school-based clinics and Project Gabriel in the Dickinson and Nassau Bay areas. CHRISTUS St. John Hospital also received national attention with the development of its parish nurse program.
CHRISTUS St. John Hospital continues to offer quality acute care health services, has added specialties to serve the community, has actively recruited top physicians to fill the needs of Nassau Bay residents, and remains solid in the mission of mercy envisioned by its founding sisters 20 years ago.