I Wonder: Where did Saint Als St. Luke's get their names?

I Wonder: Where did Saint Als  St. Luke's get their names?

Saint Alphonsus Liguori left and Luke the Evangelist, right are the namesakes of Boise's two big hospitals.

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by Don Day KTVB.COM

Bio | Email | Follow: @DonLDay

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 17, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Updated Sunday, Oct 25 at 3:00 PM

I wonder where our two saintly hospitals got their names - and why they were picked.EL of Boise

BOISE - Few things have been a more constant part of life in the City of Trees over the past 100 years than the care given by St. Luke's and Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Centers.? The two institutions have been treating the sick, welcoming new babies and handing out preventive care for more than a century each.

While "Luke's" and "Als" have become part of everyday language locally - the names have a rich history that extends well beyond the two hospitals' time in Boise.

Saint Alphonsus was founded first, by the Catholic Sisters of the Holy Cross. They brought organized medical care to Boise for the first time in 1894, setting up Saint Alphonsus downtown - not too far from the current location of St. Luke's.

Saint Alphonsus spokesperson Jennifer Krajnik said when the group went about choosing a name for their fledgling hospital - they looked to a major figure in Idaho catholic life at the time.

Alphonse Glorieux was the Catholic Bishop of Idaho in the 1880s and 1890s, and invited the Sisters of the Holy Cross to Idaho to found a school and hospital.

"In the Catholic tradition people give their children, churches and other buildings set aside for good works the names of holy people who have been declared Saints," Krajnik said.

That tradition had a trickledown effect on the hospital.? Bishop Glorieux was named for Saint Alphonsus Liguori - an Italian Bishop who lived in the 18th century.?

?"To honor (Glorieux) and the saint he was named for, when the hospital was established in 1894, the Sisters called the hospital Saint Alphonsus," Krajnik said.

Saint Alphonsus is now located on Curtis Rd. in Boise and recently finished a massive expansion to increase patient-care services in the Treasure Valley.

Boise's other hospital started serving the sick just a few years later.

The Episcopal Church revamped a home downtown to open a small medical facility for up to six patients.

Rt. Rev. James B. Funsten, the Episcopal Bishop of Idaho spearheaded the project.

"Funsten founded St. Luke's in 1902 with $25,000 from the national Episcopal Church. He used $5,000 of that amount to purchase the Charles Paynton home at First and Bannock Streets," St. Luke's spokesperson Ken Dey said. "The rest of the money was used to renovate the home."

Funsten chose Luke the Evangelist as the hospital's namesake.? Luke is well-known as the author of the Gospel of Luke, and as the patron saint of physicians.

In a meeting just a year after the small hospital opened, administrators recognized the need for expansion.

"The minutes of the meeting (noted) 'We ought to secure valuable property while it is reasonable, especially in the smaller and newer towns,'" Dey said.

Today, St. Luke's operates hospitals in Boise, Meridian, Twin Falls and Hailey - as well as number of other clinics.? The hospital group is no longer part of the Episcopal Church - and has grown to be Idaho's largest private employer.

Together, St. Luke's and Saint Alphonsus now have more than 780 beds between their two Boise hospitals.

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