A Beacon of Christ’s Light
By CHRISTOPHER ORLET
Though times and locations have changed, the mission of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital remains the same: to carry on the work of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis and St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
The hospital is relocating from its current home in Belleville where it has been since 1875 to the Interstate 64 corridor off Green Mount Road. The new hospital opens Nov. 4 in O’Fallon.
On Oct. 4, Bishop Edward K. Braxton blessed and dedicated the new, five-floor, $300 million facility. Addressing a group of local and hospital leaders, including Hospital Sisters of St. Francis and board members, the Bishop said St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has “truly been a beacon of Christ’s light.” He reminded those in attendance that as the hospital relocates to a more affluent part of the diocese, they should “never forget the elderly and poor just as St. Elizabeth would not have forgotten them.” The Bishop reflected on St. Elizabeth, a princess of the kingdom of Hungary, now modern-day Slovakia. St. Elizabeth was a charitable 13th century Franciscan known for establishing two hospitals and caring for the poor and sick until her death at the age of 24.
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Peg Sebastian said that with this new facility, the hospital’s goal was to create a healing environment that combines the latest tech-ogy and efficiencies to provide region leading, high-quality health care. This is a day to celebrate all the hard work and dedication that went into creating this beautiful facility, where we will continue our unrelenting pursuit of excellence and service before self as we carry the torch of our founding Hospital Sisters forward to our bright future.”
Sister Maureen O’Connor, Provincial Superior of Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, reflected on the first sisters who opened a primitive one-story facility in Belleville in 1875. The sisters there could only handle six patients at a time.
St. Elizabeth’s broke ground on the construction in June of 2015. The 144-bed inpatient hospital and medical office building sits on 120 acres and features state-of-the-art advancements in technology and upgraded patient amenities. The medical office building will provide a full range of outpatient services to meet the changing needs in health care. The interstate location provides quicker access to necessary health care for critical ambulance transport of patients from St. Clair, Clinton, Bond and surrounding counties and closer to Scott Air Force Base and the community hospitals that refer patients to St. Elizabeth’s, such as HSHS affiliate hospitals St. Joseph’s in Highland and St. Joseph’s in Breese, as well as other surrounding community hospitals.
Officials said they hoped it will also stem the migration of patients to St. Louis based hospitals and keep health care dollars in Illinois.
About 1,000 employees will work at the new hospital, while about 200 will remain in Belleville.
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital will offer 144 private patient rooms, an emergency department, state-of-the-art operating rooms, an advanced intensive care unit, and inpatient rehabilitation. Additional inpatient and outpatient services at the new facility include cancer care, modern birthing suites, telehealth consultations featuring accredited stroke care, award-winning heart care, and much more.