Their story is our story.
Hard times: 1942-1951
Already battered by the depression, St. Charles Hospital faced some of its toughest years in the 1940s. But when the situation looked the bleakest, the community rallied behind “their” hospital, cementing a relationship that continues to this day.
The Army built Camp Abbot at the present site of Sunriver. By 1944, 10,000 soldiers would train there. St. Charles Hospital cared for its sick and injured.
At war’s end, the hospital was running on faith. Patient numbers hit 2,500 by 1946, causing crowding. Yet, many hospital bills went unpaid. The Mother House sought to sell St. Charles to another religious order but found no takers.
When problems seemed insurmountable, business leaders raised the money for a new building and formed an advisory committee to oversee St. Charles’ operations.
The era introduced Central Oregon to Sister Catherine Hellmann, who would play a pivotal role years later. By 1951, Bend had a modern new hospital on solid financial footing.