"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Friendship has the skill and
observation of the best physician,
the diligence and vigilance of the
best nurse and the tenderness
and patience of the best mother.”

Mother Margaret George

 

Home Sweet Home: The History of Mother Margaret Hall

By S. Georgia Kitt

The groundbreaking for Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility on the Mount St. Joseph campus took place in 1947. Pictured (back, from left) S. Anne Hermine Gerver, S. Mary Romana Dodd, S. Elise Halloran, S. Maria Corona Molloy, Fr. William Welsh and Mother Mary Zoe Farrell (front).

It was Mother Mary Zoe Farrell’s desire to provide a facility for the Sisters as they came ‘home’ to the Mount from their missions, a place that would “contribute to the happiness and comfort of those who had borne the burden of the Community for many years.” The groundbreaking for Mother Margaret Hall took place in 1947 and the cornerstone was laid, honoring Mother Margaret Farrell George, the first superior of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. 

The building included 140 private rooms, the Holy Spirit Chapel, library, pharmacy, Community Room, etc. It was dedicated in 1949, more than 70 years ago. The facilities have been updated several times along the way, always desiring to maintain the best of services for the Sister residents. Ongoing service contracts with the Motherhouse and Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, made the variety of needed services possible. 

Early MMH Sister administrators were: Sisters Adelaide Gwimmer, Maria Fidelis Ritter, Cyril Mahrt, Ancilla Domenici, Ann Dunn, Agnes Celestia Schaumleffel and Jeanne Roach. Throughout, these women and their staff members have been committed to delivering wholistic health care.

Early in the 1950s each of the Sister residents had a specific mission to pray for; it was the individual mission’s task to keep the Sister informed of activities and prayer needs. Ailing Sisters residing in St. Mary’s and St. Vincent Halls were moved to MMH in these early years with Sister nurses caring for all. The first lay nurse was hired for night duty in 1960; she was soon followed by capable nurses and nurse-aides to provide quality care to the residents. Student nurses from the college did clinical practice and observation at MMH and dietetic interns from Good Samaritan Hospital completed three-week rotations in the rooms and kitchen. Nursing stations were added on first and second floors and a phone booth was added on each floor for the Sister residents’ use. S. Maria Dolorata Felix was named the Director of Nursing Services in 1969.

Agnes Miriam Link (left), pictured with S. Mary Alfretta Robert, served as the Activities Director in Mother Margaret Hall from 1970 until 1982.

The 1970s brought added physical therapy services, a fitness program, and an invitation to Motherhouse Sisters to participate as well. A Sister visitor program was begun on each floor where a volunteer would provide assistance, comfort, letter-writing, walks and she also served as a hostess for the Sister’s family when visiting. A public address system was added for paging, providing music and spiritual conferences. The Sisters could have visitors at any time throughout the day. Familiar groups came from St. William (Boy Scouts tree trimming) and St. Theresa (Christmas caroling) parishes. In these years a number of priest volunteers began coming for daily Mass in the chapel; familiar names included Fathers Gail Poynter, Jim Bramlage, Ken Czillinger, Mark Gratsch, Paul Poeppleman and Robert Strassell, assisting the part-time chaplain Fr. Raphael Sourd. The first relatives of Sisters arrived to MMH in 1972 as residents; the first being the mother of S. Elizabeth Cashman, Mrs. Elizabeth Cashman. S. Helen Berson became the dedicated pharmacist for MMH in 1973. Archbishop Joseph Bernardin was a frequent and welcome visitor and celebrant of Mass in the MMH Chapel.

In the early 1980s, the SC leadership team of S. Helen Flaherty, with the availability of beds, offered the opportunity for health care of relatives of Sisters in MMH. This included mothers of Sisters Paula Mary Russell, Betty Finn, Mary Ann and Judith Gutzwiller and Judith Metz; grandmothers of Sisters Barbara Davis and Kathleen Daly; and the sister of S. Ruth Bockenstette. Occupancy at this time included 90 Sister residents and 23 lay residents. Sally Reeves became the first lay administrator and Carol Wittkamp was named the first lay director of nursing. 

It has been a frequent reminder for MMH staff over these years to recall that the services provided in MMH are “a labor of love for the people of God. Bless all who dwell in this house with peace, happiness, well-being and charity, as a taste of the hundred-fold promised by our God.”

Contact Us