The Sisters of St. Joseph of Tipton, Ind., founded St. Charles 92 years ago. In the 1970s, the hospital became a community nonprofit organization with the sisters remaining as sponsors.
In 1992, when the sisters decided they could no longer sponsor St. Charles because of the smaller number of sisters, an “association of the Christian faithful” took up the duty of making sure the hospital’s Catholic identity was preserved. At the same time, control of policy and operations went to a board of directors.
Bishop Vasa said the association’s structure did not give it sufficient authority to control the tenets of Catholic identity as expressed in the U.S. bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.” In 2007, the bishop asked St. Charles officials for an audit of compliance with the directives. He identified problems and began talks, which hit an impasse.
The fault for this terrible loss in a state where the witness to the gospel is already tenuous and in plain decline lies squarely with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Tipton, Indiana who appear to have purposefully designed the transfer of this hospital to a lay board in order to eliminate the oversight which is the proper role of the local bishop. In effect, the hospital ceased to exist under Catholic auspices when the Sisters gave it to the lay board. This is simply the official recognition that this board has not carried forward the Catholic mission so unwisely entrusted to it by the Sisters. Shame on them all.