OSF Heart of Mary celebrates 100 years of Catholic health care in Urbana area

Bishop Louis Tylka smiles as Marion Anderson encourages him to give a good blessing to her friend, Nichole Miller, at the rededication of OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center on Oct. 6. To their left are Sharon Ingram and Colleen Thomas. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

URBANA — With prayer, blessings and gratitude, OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center staff, friends and benefactors celebrated 100 years of Catholic health care in the Urbana-Champaign community.

Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, of OSF HealthCare leads a round of applause for everyone who has supported OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana, making it possible to celebrate a century of service. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

While the Sisters of Mercy, the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary and The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis were all praised for their loving service, it was God who received the lion’s share of the glory.

“God is the power by which we extend love to others. So truly the work becomes God’s work,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, who chairs the boards of OSF HealthCare. “The service is his. It’s our hands, our feet, our minds, but guess where they came from? It’s his work that we extend.”

Bishop Louis Tylka pledged to keep doing that work.

“We’ll continue to do it — with purpose, with heart, with compassion, with mercy and for all, because it is who we are and the mission that Jesus has given to us,” he said at the reception that followed the rededication of OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center and the blessing of the mission partners who lined the hospital corridors.

HEART RULES

When the hospital was built at 1400 W. Park St. in Urbana, it was overseen by the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross. The religious community had to withdraw from Mercy Hospital, however, so the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary assumed responsibility for the health care ministry there.

Louise Fellmann, who worked at OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center and its predecessors for more than 40 years, and Theresa Smith look over photos and artifacts from the hospital’s 100 years at a celebration held Oct. 6. Pointing to a bib that said, “I’m a Mercy baby,” Smith said she was, too. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

In 1989, Mercy Hospital merged with Burnham City Hospital in Champaign to form Covenant Medical Center. As changes in health care continued, it would become Provena Covenant Medical Center and then Presence Covenant Medical Center.

OSF HealthCare, owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, signed a letter of intent to take ownership of the hospital in 2017. On Feb. 1, 2018, the hospital would become OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center.

When it came time to rename the hospital, the choice was very straightforward, Sister Judith Ann explained at the Oct. 6 celebration.

“The Servants of Mary are the heart of the Heart of Mary Medical Center and they always will be,” she said. “They are really the mortar that fills in all the gaps and sets firm the walls that provide the environment where we can continue to labor and serve with love and we must never forget them.”

“TRULY REMARKABLE”

“What (God) asks, he enables, and will provide — he promised. And God’s very, very good at keeping his promises.” — Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF

Bishop Tylka was more than happy to give an accounting of how OSF HealthCare has carried on that legacy. The system has 24,000 mission partners, 15 hospitals, two colleges of nursing, and more than 2,400 primary care specialists and advanced practice providers.

They are responsible for 1.6 million outpatient visits, 2.2 million physician office visits, 80,250 in-patient admissions, 266,014 home health visits, and serve 3,065 hospice patients, he noted.

There’s also “one bishop you’re trying to keep healthy,” Bishop Tylka said with a smile.

“It’s truly remarkable what OSF is doing. It’s not just in Peoria. It’s not just here in the Champaign-Urbana area. It’s across the diocese and even beyond,” he said. “And it’s touching people’s lives, giving them the experience of Jesus’ healing presence in who they are and in their suffering and well-being.”

Sister Judith Ann said God had invited them to a very high calling.

“What he asks, he enables, and will provide — he promised,” she said. “And God’s very, very good at keeping his promises.”

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