Catholic Hospitals, Homes for the aged and other works of the Church in New Brunswick were founded by religious institutes in order to continue the healing mission of the Church. These facilities were established in an era when religious institutes had many active members and at a time when the institutes exercised great influence over the health-care facilities they founded.
Traditional forms of sponsorship of Catholic health-care facilities were challenged and threatened by various factors.
In New Brunswick, provincial government legislation in 1992 changed dramatically the Church’s involvement in the health care system.
Faced with the diminishing number of sisters actively involved in this apostolate, it became increasingly difficult for religious institutes to discharge their sponsorship obligations. It was determined that if Catholic health-care facilities were to continue and succeed in the future, a new form of sponsorship was required.
For a period of time, the four religious institutes involved in health care in New Brunswick examined how to transfer sponsorship of their health-care facilities. This was necessary in order to preserve the Catholic presence in the health care system and enhance Catholic identity, mission and values associated with health care into the next century and beyond.
Under a new model, the role of sponsorship was transferred to a new agency called Catholic Health Partners Inc., operating as Catholic Health International, a partnership formed between:
- Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph
- Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception
- Les Religieuses Filles de Jésus
- Les Religieuses de Notre-Dame-Du-Sacré-Coeur
- Catholic Health Association of New Brunswick
Specifically, Catholic Health International is a Public Juridic Person of Pontifical Right, incorporated under both civil and canon law. Each congregation / partner is represented on the Board of Catholic Health International, and Sisters are involved at the individual Corporation level wherever possible.
Sponsorship of additional facilities owned by the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of Montreal, Canada were transferred in February 2006. Because these facilities are located in both Canada and United States, the whole spectre of Catholic Health Partners Inc. became international.