Catholic involvement in hospitals


Sir, – It was an excellent, enlightening article by Patsy McGarry on the medical activities of Catholic religious orders (Opinion, August 8th).

But one is somewhat mystified to read that orders such as the Religious Sisters of Charity, founded d in 1815 “to give to the poor what the rich could buy with money” are now serving their Christian mission to the poor by looking after the wealthy in St Vincent’s Private Hospital – a hospital to which the poor have no access.

All public hospital activity under the Religious Sisters of Charity’s control, to which the poor have access, is funded by the State.

The same could be said of the Bon Secours nuns, whose mission is “to care for the sick and dying in their own homes”.

It seems that the Bon Secours nuns’ way of carrying out their mission to the poor in Ireland is by running five private hospitals, to which those without private health insurance – certainly including the poor – have no access. Still, things could be worse.

The Sisters of Charity ran five institutions covered by the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme. The Bon Secours nuns ran the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam.

Let us be grateful that these religious orders, and others like them, are now devoting their medical resources to the wealthy, rather than vulnerable women and children, and be thankful for small mercies. – Yours, etc,


Portmarnock, Co Dublin.