Why Franciscan Alliance Is Dropping Saints’ Names From Its Hospitals

Why Franciscan Alliance Is Dropping Saints’ Names From Its Hospitals

[A first step towards alienation (spiritual and material – i.e., of property) from the Church?]

by Maxwell Douglas • ChurchMilitant • September 7, 2016

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – A large Catholic healthcare network announced Monday it will be dropping the names of saints from its hospitals. Church Militant spoke with the president to ask why the change was made.

The Franciscan Alliance of Hospitals, founded by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, operates hospitals in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. Church Militant spoke with President of Franciscan Alliance Kevin Leahy, who assured Catholics, “We are not trying to distance ourselves from Catholic ministry; we are trying to strengthen it with the name change.”

Leahy commented that the name change was also an administrative decision to get rid of confusion.

He noted that the network’s recent lawsuit against the Obama administration is evidence of Franciscan Alliance’s continued adherence to Catholic teaching. The healthcare organization filed a lawsuit against the federal government August 23 over a legal revision requiring hospitals to “provide so-called sex reassignment surgeries and treatments, even on children.”

Leahy told Church Militant, “The reason for the lawsuit is the Obama administration and the HHS [Dept. of Health and Human Services] were directly interfering with faith and attempting to change values we live by.”

Franciscan Alliance will keep the names of saints in their chapels and will also continue to have perpetual adoration at their main location. Its official response follows.

Healthcare is changing and so are we. Our new name — Franciscan Health — honors our patron, St. Francis, who inspired our healthcare ministry and our foundress, Blessed Maria Theresia Bonzel, to start the order of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration more than a century ago. … This evolution of our Franciscan Health name honors and emphasizes the spirit of St. Francis and underscores the combined strength, unity and tradition of our Franciscan Alliance system. The Tau cross is a Franciscan symbol that continues to be used in both our internal and external communications. The Tau joined together with Franciscan Health further projects our strong identity and historic Franciscan tradition.

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