The congregation’s mission and founding spirit are still very much alive today…
The Congregation of Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was founded in Ciempozuelos-Madrid (Spain) on 31 May 1881, by St. Benedict Menni, Priest of the Order of St. John of God, María Josefa Recio and María Angustias Giménez, who were chosen by God to provide a solution for the lack of healthcare for, and social exclusion of, the mentally ill of that period. Their work would combine two fundamental aspects: charity and science.
In those days, the traditional neglect of the sick and the lack of an adequate public healthcare system was even more noticeable in the case of the mentally ill, and of children with bone malformations, scrofula, tuberculosis and other illnesses, who were marginalised and left to their fate.
Beginnings are always difficult. The sheer magnitude of the task and the lack of economic and healthcare means and resources could only be compensated by the generous dedication of the sisters and the personal and material contributions of co-workers, benefactors and volunteers.
Public health care has improved considerably, in terms of both structure and personnel and material resources, particularly in developed countries, yet it is still unable to eliminate the original problem that existed at the time when the Congregation was founded: human beings that suffer as a result of illness and the limitations of society itself to provide them with the personal care and attention that they need.
It is for this reason that the mission and founding spirit of the Congregation not only remain strong, but are essential in order to assist in the serious problem of caring for the most marginalised.