Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Peoria's Catholic Post

The Catholic Post in Peoria can leave one confused.

The July 29, 2007 issue had an article about OSF’s groundbreaking ceremonies immediately followed by an article on the legacy of Dorothy Day.

What is the reader to believe? Mixed messages are being sent.

The article regarding OSF’s $234 million dollar Milestone project was replete with statements that the Sisters started from humble beginnings 130 years ago in Peoria. Sister JudithAnn, president of OSF Healthcare System stated, “We have placed these resources into the hands of the most caring physicians, nurses and technicians so that all who come to us in need of health care can be received with open hands and hearts. The true joy of this day is to realize that in serving those in need we serve Christ Himself.”

But OSF is not doing what Sister JudithAnn told the crowd at the ceremony. What about the Haitian Hearts patients that are being turned away at OSF and are dying? Would the pioneer Sisters that started with "humble beginnings" in Peoria 130 years ago be proud of OSF's immoral behavior now? I don’t think so especially with the amount of money available for medical care.

Multiple dignitaries spoke of the Sisters great work in Peoria over the last century, and I agree it has been great work. However, the dignitaries are hiding behind the Sisters now as OSF ignores the sick and dying Haitian kids.

Bishop Jenky "prayed that God would bless the builders, benefactors, physicians, nurses, employees, and all those cared for by OSF Saint Francis and Children’s Hospital, especially “the little ones”". I completely agree with this also. But it seems to me that Bishop Jenky forgot Haiti’s “little ones” when he abandoned the Haitian Hearts program in Peoria several years ago. His Chancellor, Monsignor Rohlfs, called a picture of a Haitian child with heart disease an “advertisement”, rather than a “little one” during a Haitian Hearts committee meeting.

What is one to believe from the Diocese and OSF?

Dr. Kay Saving, the medical director of Children’s Hospital, personally turned away a Haitian child from receiving care at Children’s Hospital several years ago. However, at the groundbreaking ceremony the Post reported that Dr. Saving stated that the guiding principal of the new facility is “the patient will be first”. Amazingly this statement meant that the new $234 million dollar Children’s Hospital will “feature private rooms that include comfortable beds for a parent that may wish to stay the night.”

What about the Haitian kids who live in small stifling rooms with 10 other family members who have no options for medical treatment? What would the OSF founding Sisters say about that? Contrary to Dr. Saving's declaration, the sick Haitian child is definitely not coming first.

And the article on the legacy of Dorothy Day described a lady who “handed herself over totally to the humble and courageous service of the poorest of the poor" by fighting for their causes in her newspaper, “The Catholic Worker”.

Bishop Jenky is the Publisher of The Catholic Post, the newspaper of the Diocese of Peoria. Too bad he and the Post send mixed messages to all of us regarding care of the Haitian poor. I bet Dorothy Day would have been honest regarding this issue and would not have hid behind the OSF Sisters as did the groundbreaking dignitaries.

(Pictured at the top of this post is my niece standing in front of a tiny hospital in a slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The slum is home to 400,000 people and this is the only hospital that is functioning. Below is OSF, the largest medical center in downstate Illinois.)

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