I used to read "The Tennessean",Nashville's only daily newspaper. I read it on-line until they barricaded it behind a paywall. Now if I want to know how many shootings this city has had overnight I go to the TV station websites. But the story about the Daughters of Charity, who once ran Nashville's only Catholic Hospital, was one I missed.
I called a friend, who had worked at that hospital a few years longer than I had(I was there for 27 years)to ask her if she had heard that the Daughters were pulling out of Nashville. She had not heard, and when I wondered why we had never heard any mention of this, she pulled out Occam's Razor.
"I don't think anyone cares", she said.
When I started working at the nuns' hospital I was 31, and it was 1981. I worked in their ICU, and on Sunday mornings we had to set up a towel and a cup on the over bed table of any Catholic patient who was alert enough to want Communion. The nuns were ever present. One was head nurse on one of the floors. The head administrator was a Sister. They lived in a little house outside the hospital. It had a privacy fence with climbing roses.
But soon that house was gone, turned into that most sacred of structures, the Parking Garage.
And one by one the nuns disappeared. The Head sister was replaced by a series of corporate secular gunslinger CEOs, hired to do ruthless things. There was still a nun Mission Director, kept I suppose for cosmetic reasons. There will not be one now, nor will there be Daughters of Charity in eight other US cities, including Austin, Texas and Waterbury, Connecticut.
The order says it is pulling out to redistribute the Sisters to more needy areas. I, who grew up not far from Waterbury, do not believe this for a moment. When hospitals talk about Charity now their smile is fake, their face turns red, and disgusted spittle flies everywhere.
Not that the Sister were averse to making money- There always seemed to be plenty, and their for profit competitors hated them for it, since the nuns' profits were tax free. It was an eighties Nashville joke to refer to the Daughters of Charity as the "Daughters of the Dollar."
None the less, this is a sad story, and I am sorry to hear of their leaving.
And where did I hear this news?
On the Internet, of course, while doing some research. The story was dated last October.