Museum exhibit features founders of St. Mary’s hospital

The Museum of the West on Saturday will open an exhibit about the history of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kan., in western Colorado.

The exhibit details the experiences of the nuns who founded St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Sisters Mary Balbina and Mary Louisa Madden, from nursing to teaching school at Holy Family Catholic School, which opened in 1916.

The original hospital, which opened May 22, 1896, at Colorado Avenue and 11th Street, had 10 beds.

Along with information about the sisters, the exhibit includes a display of early medical tools, including
medicine bags that hooked to saddle horns, an amputation kit and a brain-surgery kit, said Dave Bailey, curator of history for the museum.

Closed-head injuries were common and physicians often had to operate to relieve pressure on the brain, Bailey said.

The medicine bag of Dr. Heman R. Bull Sr., who asked the sisters to establish the hospital in the Grand Valley, is included in the exhibit.

Author Marie Brinkman will sign copies of her book, “Emerging Frontiers: Renewal in the Life of Women Religious — Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 1955 to 2005,” at the museum.

The exhibit marks the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

Admission to the museum is free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.


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