On Sept. 28, Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski wielded an important shovel.
The stout spade had broken ground on the site of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis and the site of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, among others. That day, Archbishop Rozanski handed it to a Cardinal Glennon patient, who dug it into a raised bed of dirt at the corner of South Grand and Chouteau in midtown St. Louis — the location of a new SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.
The new hospital, expected to be completed in 2027, is planned to be a 14-story, 200+ bed facility, located less than half a mile north on Grand Boulevard from the current hospital. It will include larger rooms to accommodate families and have space for the complex equipment used in modern pediatric care.
“We thank God for the wonderful privilege of serving His children in healing ministry,” Archbishop Rozanski said before offering a blessing Sept. 28. “Bless this construction project of the new Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital with safety for all the workers, with grateful anticipation for all who will work in the healing ministry in this new building, and as a refuge of healing ministry for those little ones who come here.”
Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital opened in 1956 under the leadership of Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter, who named the hospital for his predecessor, Cardinal John J. Glennon. It was the nation’s first freestanding, not-for-profit Catholic children’s hospital.
Dr. Hossain Marandi, president of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, quoted from the dedication Mass of the original hospital at the Sept. 28 announcement.
“These words were spoken at the dedication Mass for the original Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital by none other than our founding physician, Dr. Peter Danis: ‘The services of this hospital will be available to all children, regardless of race, creed or religion,’” Marandi said. “Imagine how strong that statement was back then, and imagine how strong that statement still stands true today.”
The Franciscan Sisters of Mercy who founded SSM Health planted the seeds for the health ministry that continues today, said Laura Kaiser, president and CEO of SSM Health.
“SSM Health was founded in 1872 by five German religious sisters. They arrived on the shores of the Mississippi River in St. Louis during a devastating smallpox epidemic. The sisters had just $5 and a sacred calling: to care for all those who were sick and hurting,” Kaiser said. “They dreamt of a better tomorrow, where every man, woman and child would experience God’s compassionate healing love.”
Since Cardinal Glennon opened in 1956, pediatric care has become increasingly more complex and also more family-centered, she said. The new hospital’s space will help accommodate “families, grandparents, parents, siblings, who are so important to the healing journey,” she said.
Jimmy Williams, who received a heart transplant at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and has served as the patient co-chair for the Homers for Health program, shared his story at the Sept. 28 event alongside his mother, Shana.
“For my mom and I, this new hospital represents not only a fresh start, but also a symbol of gratitude and excitement,” Jimmy said. “It is a place where dreams will come true, where healing will be found and where families will be embraced with open arms.”
In 2020, SSM Health opened a brand-new SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital on Grand Boulevard between the current and future SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital locations. In 2022, SSM Health acquired the SLUCare Physician Group. The Saint Louis University School of Medicine sits just across the road.