They came to Utah in the first place to care for the working poor. The nuns came to nurse miners in Park City, who were suffering and dying of black lung disease.
And the Sisters of the Holy Cross are still in Utah, still caring.The hospital they established, Holy Cross, has grown to 293 beds now. It is still owned by the religious order, which also owns 12 other hospitals in the United States.
As when they first came, today's Sisters of the Holy Cross often find that the patients most in need of charity are the working poor.
Patients who have no insurance but who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid are nonetheless given compassionate health care at Holy Cross, explains Jean Bradshaw, executive director of the Holy Cross Foundation. Steps are taken to protect their dignity and keep the fact that they are charity patients confidential.
"These are people who would like to pay, if they could," Bradshaw says.
Holy Cross Hospital, through a gift from Mr. and Mrs. O.C. Tanner, is building a rose garden in memory of the 200 Sisters of the Holy Cross who have served there since 1875. At least 40 nuns will attend the dedication ceremony for the new rose garden, on June 19.
The garden will also serve to remind the public of the need for charity care - and the need for charitable contributions.
Sister Olivia Marie, formerly vice president for mission at the hospital, says, "The concept behind the garden is that it will be a place to honor endowments that will enable us to extend our care to people in need. In this period where both the government programs and insurance coverage are inadequate, its getting beyond the capability of the hospital to meet the needs of all the homeless and needy people."
Twenty years ago there was a beautiful rose garden on the grounds of Holy Cross Hospital.
It covered 3 1/2 acres directly behind the hospital, on 1100 East and South Temple. The spot was leased to Salt Lake City for a municipal garden in 1937. The Utah Rose Society and the Salt Lake Exchange Club donated bushes and helped city workers care for the property.
Each year there was a formal ceremony, when the rent for the garden space came due. The price the city paid to the sisters? One bouquet of roses, annually.
The garden grew. Eventually more than 8,000 bushes covered the lawns.
For 36 years Utahns enjoyed the garden.
The patients looked down on the roses from their windows. Their families sought solace there. The sisters often went to the garden after work to relax and pray.
For many local people, the garden that graced South Temple was synonymous with "Holy Cross."
But the garden was taken out in 1973 when the hospital was expanded. The wrought-iron fence was dismantled. The trellises and some of the rose bushes were moved to Sugarhouse Park. The Utah Rose Society still cares for the municipal garden there.
Many people missed the rose garden. No one missed it more than Sister Olivia Marie. "When the original rose garden was there, I was actually a nurse, and some of the nursing units looked out on the rose garden," she says. "It was a source of peace and beauty for me, and I think many patients' families saw it as a haven from worry about their loved ones."
Before she retired last year, Sister Olivia Marie and Jean Bradshaw approached O.C. Tanner to ask him to help restore the garden. The two women thought of Tanner because of Sister Anne Josephine, the hospital administrator from 1958 to 1973.
"Sister Ann Josephine was really a scientist," says Sister Olivia Marie. "She had her doctorate in bacteriology and did research at the University of Utah. When she became administrator, she was quite creative in finding ways to make services available to people in need.
"She became friends with O.C. Tannner. He helped with her charity projects. They seemed to meet on an intellectual level and shared a concern for people in the community."
Tanner loved the idea of restoring the garden. "We asked him to help. We had certainly not expected him to volunteer to do the whole thing," Sister Olivia Marie says. "That was a surprise for us."
She'll be coming from Indiana for the dedication. She says, "It seemed like a portion of Holy Cross had disappeared when the garden was gone."
DEDICATION OF THE ROSE GARDEN: Tuesday, June 19, 10:30 a.m. Public is welcome.
GARDEN PARTY: Tuesday, June 19, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. $25 per person. Call 531-8741 for reservations.
FEATURES: Includes arbors, walkways and benches designed to commemorate the traditional feeling of the original garden. A portion of the original fence is being used.
There will be 600 rose bushes; more than 60 different varieties.
David Racker is the landscape architect. Boyd Blackner designed the fountain.