By Josh Low
Being spurred on by the love of Christ to provide the gifts of hospitality, healing and hope was at the centre of Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB’s message at St John of God Subiaco Hospital’s 120 year anniversary celebration earlier this month.
In his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe said the words ‘Caritas Christi urget nos’ (the love of Christ urges us on) which appeared on a banner brought forward at the beginning of Mass were of great significance.
“These words hold the key to ensuring that today’s reality, and tomorrow’s reality, are as rich and as life-giving as the last one hundred and twenty years have been.
“Caritas Christi – the love of Christ – can have two meanings. It can mean the love of Christ for us – and it can mean that love which we have for Christ.
“Here at St John of God, it must mean both,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“The more we love Christ, because we know Him and wish to live united with Him and with each other because of Him, the more we will be able to let Him live in and through us and reach out, through us, with His healing hands.
“In the end, it is Christ’s love for us which sustains and strengthens and emboldens and animates us,” he said.
Archbishop Costelloe continued by saying that imitating Christ’s love in giving our lives for those he loves is behind the work at the hospital, and emphasised the importance of being a hospitable place of healing and hope.
“Just as Jesus gave his life for us, so now he calls us to give our lives for him and for those he loves – and this is exactly what has been happening here at St John of God Subiaco for the last 120 years.
“This is surely what true hospitality really means. On the part of the one who is offering hospitality, it is more than the gift of food and drink.”
“Hospitality is really a gift of self for the sake of the other. True hospitality is generous, open-hearted, warm and welcoming.
“And because Jesus was all this, and we are as His disciples trying to be all this, our hospitality is healing, and redeeming and restoring, just as Jesus’ ministry and whole life was healing, redeeming and restoring.
“For one hundred and twenty years, St John of God Subiaco has been a place where hope has been sustained, rediscovered, or even experienced for the first time.
“Hospitality, healing and hope: may these be the precious gifts we offer to every single person who enters this hospital,” he concluded.
CEO of St John of God Subiaco, Professor Shirley Bowen, said the 120 year anniversary was about celebrating the enduring contribution the hospital has made in caring for generations of Western Australians and recognising the many caregivers who have carried on the Sisters’ legacy.
“The hospital has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over the last 120 years.
“Commemorating our 120 year anniversary is a time to reflect on our heritage, on the many people who have a connection with the hospital, and on our contribution to medical research. It is also a time to feel inspired about our future,” she said.
The hospital also commissioned its new Clinical Command Centre on 18 April.