Archbishop Robert J. Carlson is known at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital as a champion for children.
Tom Hilton, a current member and former president of the hospital’s board of governors, said that from the moment Archbishop Carlson came to St. Louis he focused on ways to help the children served by SSM Health Cardinal Glennon, the country’s only free-standing, nonprofit Catholic pediatric hospital. Archbishop Carlson served as chairman of the board.
“He reached out to our board really early on,” said Hilton, a member of St. Francis Xavier (“College” Church) Parish.
Five members of the board had lunch with Archbishop Carlson, and “you could tell right away he’s an extremely pastoral man, down-to-earth, a good listener and like many priests from St. Louis who’ve gone on to be bishops, he’s a parish priest first. That is very, very clear, in his heart, first and foremost.”
Archbishop Carlson mentioned at that lunch that he helped start a charity for children and that he understood the efforts of a Catholic institution and its need to raise funds, Hilton said. “We focused on what we have in common — children in poverty who need health care.”
The board members walked out of the meeting knowing that “St. Louis is blessed to have such a gentle, holy man as its leader,” Hilton recalled. “He meant the the world to us. He was always interested in and supportive of our mission to bring the healing presence of God to all children, including those in abject poverty.”
Hilton, a certified public accountant, forensic investigator and partner at Anders CPA and Advisors, called Archbishop Carlson a partner with the hospital and its board. “He worked collaboratively. That’s how he operates. We really appreciate him very, very much.”
The 195-bed teaching hospital is staffed by SLUCare physicians affiliated with the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. SSM Health Cardinal Glennon lives out the SSM Health Mission, “Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God.”