PATERSON, NJ [OCTOBER 10, 2012] – St. Joseph's Healthcare System celebrated the feast of St. Vincent de Paul this year with the blessing of a 113-year-old stained glass window depiction of St. Vincent caring for a sick patient. The patron saint of charity and all charitable societies and volunteers, St. Vincent dedicated his life to caring specifically for the poor. The monument serves as a beautiful daily reminder of the mission of St. Joseph's Healthcare System, to render quality healthcare in Northern New Jersey with a special concern for the poor and underserved. The blessing ceremony at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson brought together speakers from St. Joseph's Healthcare System, the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth of New Jersey, as well as the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of New York symbolizing how the work of St. Vincent and his message can bring together different groups all dedicated to a similar mission of caring.
Sister Maryanne Campeotto, SC, Vice President, Mission, St. Joseph's Healthcare System, worked diligently with William Keeley, the donor of the stained glass window, in an extensive process to bring St. Vincent to his new home. "I was stunned by the stained glass image of St. Vincent," said Mr. Keeley upon becoming overwhelmed by the completed project, "I'm so happy to be part of this project and it is great for the hospital."
St. Vincent de Paul was a founder of the Daughters of Charity amongst other organizations, which today amounts to an involvement of 3 million persons worldwide, explained Sister Jacqueline Burns, SC, Past Chair, Board of Trustees, St. Joseph's Healthcare System, as she shared the life and work of St. Vincent with the assembled group.
The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul opened the Seton Building at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan in 1899, gracing the top of the entry staircase with the stained glass depiction of St. Vincent crafted by Mary Tillinghast, a noted glass artist and native of New Jersey. The St. Vincent stained glass window was later moved to the reception area of the Smith Building, also at St. Vincent's Hospital.
In 2011, when St. Vincent's Hospital closed its doors, the legacy of the Tillinghast St. Vincent window having already been moved once, looked grim. Thankfully, Mr. Keeley stepped forward and, working with the Sisters of Charity at St. Joseph's and the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, not only saved and restored the stained glass window, but installed the artwork in its new home in the lobby of St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey. The magnificent window stands tall in a wood framed light box flanked on each side by a recounting of its history.
Sister Karen Helfenstein, SC, Director of Sponsorship Services, the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of New York, remarked, "St. Vincent will serve as a daily reminder that our call is to attend to the need in front of us." Sister Rosemary Moynihan, General Superior, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, agreed, adding that the window reflects the deep bond of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth and the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, reinforcing the healing mission of the Sisters. Father Edward Collins conducted the Blessing of the stained glass window.
"The Sisters of Charity are a part of our heritage and we honor them with our Sister's Wall and now with St. Vincent as he reminds us of our own work within the St. Joseph's mission and the heritage and development of our dedication to the poor," noted William A. McDonald, President and Chief Executive Officer, St. Joseph's Healthcare System, in his opening words at the blessing ceremony.
The event concluded with a reminder of St. Vincent's dedication to personal charity and helping others, a message that the stained glass window will reflect to all who pass through the doors of St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center for many years to come.