The congregation of the Franciscan Hospitaller sisters of the Immaculate conception (FHIC) was formed in Portugal in 1871 for the purpose of dedicating itself to the service of the needy, especially the poor for the love of God and to witness Christ in joy and simplicity. Blessed Mother Clara and Fr. Beirao are the co-founders of the congregation. Two great charismatic and Holy souls aflame with the charity of God and the ardent desire to relieve, comfort, uplift and assist everyone in need of any kind.Their motto was “Do good where there is good to be done”. These were the inspiring words that promoted the FHIC sisters to venture into an opening of St. Isabel’s Hospital at Mylapore, Chennai.
During the II World war, when Chennai was facing its brutal consequences with wounded soldiers, epidemics etc., The FHIC sisters were invited by the late Most Rev. Don Manuel do Medeiros Guereiro, then Bishop of Mylapore to begin a hospital in Chennai. Accordingly 3 courageous and dedicated sisters: Irene, Alzira, Gloria and Maria Da Lourdes Pio volunteered their services and landed in Chennai on 3rd January 1942. They stayed at Santhome for a couple of years and on 19th March 1947 the foundation stone for the convent was blessed by the Bishop of Mylapore and laid by Sr. Alzira, Superior.
The sisters at St. Isabel’s are fully involved in the health ministry, dedicated to a promotion, curative and preventive care in the field of health independently and also in association with the church, government and non-governmental organizations.
It was on 19th March, 1949 that St. Isabel’s Hospital came into existence, developing in the course of time into a large multi specialty hospital, in which lakhs of people are being treated with care, loving concern, compassion and understanding. The growth of the institution was slow and steady: starting primarily as a maternity service with utmost dedication and professional competence in association with some of the medical stalwarts of yester years – Dr. P.Madhavan , Dr. M. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. R.S. Rajagopalan and many others. While it is easy today to go high – tech and modern in medicine, it requires great courage and sacrifice to retain the traditional and time- tested human values in the field of health care delivery to the community.
The initial years were difficult when the sisters seeking to mitigate human misery made a lot of sacrifices to alleviate the wounds of the sick and suffering. Their loving, joyful self-giving, generosity and courage were the outcome of their hospitality together with their simplicity combined with competence and efficiency, earned for them the grateful appreciation, love and esteem of all who came in contact with them.
The expansion and consolidation of existing buildings and facilities took place in phased manner under the able leadership of our pioneers and their successors.
At present the hospital has a bed strength of 300 beds with all required facilities and the NABH Accreditation to its credit- The only mission hospital in Tamil Nadu to obtain this!!! It has a band of dedicated and devoted doctors, sisters, staffs and students to cater to the health care needs of all strata of society.