Bishop William Murphy to Celebrate Closing Mass
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, September 30, 2005 - The close of a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Congregation of the Infant Jesus, also known as the Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor, will be marked with a Mass celebrated at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 29 at St. Agnes Cathedral here. The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, will be the principal celebrant.
The founding of the congregation dates back to the arrival in New York of Mother Marie Antoinette and two companions on October 21, 1905. The three made their way to Brooklyn where they stayed with the Little Sisters of the Poor. Their plans to travel west to minister to French children were changed when Bishop Charles E. McDonnell asked them to stay in the Diocese of Brooklyn to nurse the sick poor in their own homes. In 1907, Bishop McDonnell received approval from Pope Pius X to establish the sisters as an American Community, distinct from their origins in the French Congregation. Their “home nursing” ministry eventually evolved into a New York State certified health agency known as the Nursing Sisters Home Visiting Service.
Bishop McDonnell also identified the need for a Catholic hospital in Nassau County. In 1913, Sister Marie Emma who was one of the three nuns from France, assumed charge of a 13 bed former sanitarium in Hempstead called “Old Mercy.” Replaced by “New Mercy” in 1941, the facility is currently known as Mercy Medical Center.
These health and hospital services established by the sisters are now part of Catholic Health Services of Long Island.
Members of the congregation are still engaged in various aspects of health care throughout Brooklyn and Long Island. They are also active in prison ministry, work at the Interfaith Nutrition Network, and teach at the college level. The sisters advocate “for people who cannot speak for themselves.” They continue to follow their motto, “To minister in Christ” and remain “Faithful to Our Mission”, the theme for their jubilee year.
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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.3 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 20,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 20,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,137 students in Catholic kindergarten, 23,825 in primary or elementary school, 12,628 in secondary school and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 76 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home-care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information, visit www.drvc.org
Sean P. Dolan,
Diocese of Rockville Centre
516-678-5800, ext. 625