JEROME - It’s the end of a legacy that changed health care in southern Idaho.
The Benedictine sisters brought a hospital to the Magic Valley making health care available to more Idahoans in an area where there was a pressing need.
After nearly 100 years working in the hospital, the last of the Benedictine sisters left the region, but not before St. Luke’s held a celebration to honor her and the sisters who’ve helped.
"We're celebrating 65 years here on this spot, and to me it's the legacy of my sisters and it just means a lot to me that they're acknowledging that,” Sr. Barbara Glodowski said. “It's a very special day."
The sisters began their mission in Wendell at St. Valentine’s Hospital. They didn’t have medical training.
"They had to learn when they stared in Wendell. They thought it was going to be an old folks home and…they decided it has to be a hospital and so they just learned on the job," Sr. Barbara said.
The nuns noticed a need for a hospital in Jerome and decided to take the matter into their own hands and started fundraising to build a new hospital.
"Really building this hospital and really putting their resources into it and working for many years without taking any compensation just to make the hospital work,” Curtis Maier, St. Luke’s Jerome, said. "Without the sisters’ vision and their dedication to providing health care services here, the hospital certainly would not be here without their vision."
The hospital was completed in 1952. Patients were moved from St. Valentine’s in Wendell to the new hospital in Jerome. And it happened in one single day by loading them into ambulances, cars and they even had help from the National Guard.
Over the last 65 years, more than 50 Benedictine sisters have worked at this hospital. In the early years, 10 to 12 would be working at the hospital.
"We've always had Benedictines here. You know we started it we never had a year without having a Benedictine sister here, I just hate to see it go. But I know it's in good hands," Sr. Barbara said.
After a battle with cancer, Sr. Barbara decided to leave. She’s in remission, but the treatment has taken a toll on her.
“I was hoping to be here another five or six years because I had all of this energy until the cancer hit me,” she said. “It's hard to say goodbye to good friends, goodbye to the legacy and to know that I'm the end of the Benedictines. It's hard.”
Even though she is retiring, don’t expect Sr. Barbara to sit back too long.
"Once I heal, watch out world,” she said. “I'm on the road again."
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