150th Anniversary Quilt
1839 - 1989
In 1988, members of Saint Joseph's Hospital and the local community came together to plan and create a dramatic piece of art. This piece of art - a display quilt - tells the story of the nation's first industrial hospital and the second oldest hospital in Massachusetts. Chartered in 1839 to provide medical care to mill workers, the hospital was originally sponsored by eleven textile companies and was known as the Lowell Corporation Hospital.
In 1930, during the Great Depression, the hospital was deeded to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and management was transferred to the Grey Nuns of the Cross. Now a full service community hospital, Saint Joseph's continues its founders' mission of compassion and quality health care.
In the center of the quilt is the Hospital's 150th Anniversary logo, designed by Mary Lou Lowrie, which highlights the Founders' House. Initially the home of Lowell's first architect and visionary, Kirk Boott, this building served as hospital and residence from 1839 to 1964.
Surrounding the logo are red bricks, the building blocks of Lowell and the Industrial Revolution. The various patterns of fabric reflect the designs of the cotton calico, woven and printed in Lowell's textile mills.
The four adjacent triangles are dedicated to the people who carry out the hospital's mission of compassion and care. They portray the special roles of physicians, nurses, nuns, and volunteers.
The corners of the quilt honor four individuals: Dr. Gilman Kimball, pioneering surgeon and physician whose vision and compassion led the Lowell Corporation Hospital. As the Corporation Hospital's first medical superintendent, he served the community for 27 years.
Sister Alphonse Rodriguez, Grey Nuns of the Cross of Ottawa, credited with the revitalization and expansion of the hospital, assumed the challenge of managing and staffing the deteriorating institution as Saint Joseph's first administrator
Homer W. Bourgeois, leading Lowell Banker and concerned philanthropist, directed the expansion of Saint Joseph's facilities and services while President of the Hospital's Board of Directors from 1965 to 1977.
The squares at the top of the quilt are logos or, designs of the order of the Grey Nuns of the Cross of Ottawa; cardiology and other diagnostic services; and the support auxiliary "Family of Saint Joseph's Hospital."
The squares along the right side of the quilt illustrate the hospital's roles: books = education of the community in medical and health care; tree = intertwining clinical and support services; Saint Joseph's logo = Catholic community hospital; rainbow and children = commitment to all cultures and ethnic communities.
The squares along the bottom of the quilt present the Family Birth Unit logo = family centered maternity servces; nurses = Lowell's first School of Nursing 1887-1969; kidney dialysis patient = leadership in providing dialysis services throughout the Merrimack Valley.
The squares along the left side of the quilt show Saint Joseph and the Christ Child = the hospital's patron saint; ambulance = the emergency department and outpatient clinics; Staff of Aesculapius = symbol of medicine and healing; Bachand Hall = Lowell landmark and current residence of the Grey Nuns.
Patterns in the borders of the quilt symbolize the canals and waterwheels of Lowell, important steps in providing power to the mills for the production of textiles.