Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Legacy - Giving

 Post by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

As this year 2020 winds to an end my mind reflects on endings. The long-running show 'Supernatural' came to an end in November. Now you may ask what a television show has to do with endings, with legacies. There was a line in one of the early shows in which the writer, Chuck, says "No doubt endings are hard, but then again, nothing ever really ends." after which the character disappears from the screen.

The end of that line "...nothing ever really ends." is what brought the thought of legacies to the forefront.

So what is a legacy? The online dictionary has among its definitions: a thing handed down by a predecessor.

For a look at part 1 - Legacy - The Beginning?

This time I am looking at Dr. B.P. Anderson and the Sisters of St. Francis. This doctor and nurses gave of their time to bring the first hospital, St. Francis, to Colorado Springs. 

B.P. Anderson gravesite 
Photo by Ron West

The hospital was established in 1887, however, the story begins before that. Dr. Anderson was the physician/surgeon for the Midland Railroad. Dr. Anderson was in Colorado Springs, according to the newspapers, in 1878 and he could have been here earlier. 

The Sisters of St. Francis were part of the beginning of the hospital and remained so through its early years and beyond. 

So what prompted the building of the hospital? Prior to the building of the hospital, Dr. Anderson had brought four Sisters of St. Francis from Layfette, Indiana. According to articles, Anderson had become acquainted with their work as nurses during the War. The Sisters and Dr. Anderson had a clinic for the workers who were building the Midland Railroad Line to Leadville. 

St. Francis Hospital 1925

After an accident in which a number of workers were injured near Leadville of which sixty were brought to Colorado Springs for treatment. The incident showed the need for a larger facility to care for the sick and injured. Through door to door and other means, they found the funds to build their hospital.

This hospital grew over the years from a place that could handle fifty patients to being a part of the Penrose-St. Francis Hospital that we know today. I quote you from an article from February 20, 1916, in the local paper, the Colorado Springs Gazette:

"Charity — that is, real charity — goes on quietly and unobtrusively. Consider that St. Francis handles more than 300 charitable cases annually, ...Take this charitable work away from Colorado Springs and what would the community do? Taking these facts into consideration, it is not amiss to say that Colorado Springs cannot get along without St. Francis. The larger part of these cases are of an emergency sort, of which the public knows little. All this is done without cost to the city at a heavy expense to the St. Francis management."

This is just a brief overview of the giving that became the St. Francis Hospital. This came at a time when Colorado Springs was also a haven for those suffering from consumption, which at the time was defined as any wasting disease. The legacy of this giving of time and service is a legacy that lives on today.

Sometimes we forget what happened that has made our lives easier and those who did so did it selflessly. 

What is our legacy as we move forward into 2021 and beyond? I don't believe we need to become nuns or doctors unless called to do so, but we can be a friend to those in need. Our words can be a comfort to those shut-in or ill. We can choose and the world will be a better place.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet


Julie Lence said...

Excellent, Doris! The newer St. Francis Hospital is up the road from me. I've been there a few times and am so thankful they're close by. They keep adding on to help as many as they can. Hugs!

Renaissance Women said...

Thank you, Julie. The history and what we can learn from it is a passion of mine. (In case anyone hadn't noticed. ) Doris

GiniRifkin said...

Thank you for the interesting and insightful post. Always love learning more history, especially about Colorado.

Renaissance Women said...

You are welcome. Those who know me know of my desire to share the history of my beloved adopted home. Doris