"In an age of increasing impersonalization and at a time when many basic values and traditions appear to be diminishing, it is unusual to find an institution that was created, now exists, and is sustained by personal sacrifice. From its very beginning, Santa Marta Hospital has been such an institution."

- From the Dinner Program Book, Dec 5,1968

The year 1998 marked the 30th anniversary of the 1968 gala at the Century Plaza Hotel which raised $3.5-million to build the current Santa Marta Hospital. Spearheaded by James Francis Cardinal McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles, and Sir Daniel Donohue, it remains one of the most memorable and elegant fund-raising events in Los Angeles history. More than 1,300 dinner guests contributed $250 to $ 1,000 a plate while 50 other prominent donors unable to attend-including Bob Hope, Danny Thomas, Samuel Goldwyn, Conrad Hilton, and others-made contributions. Actress Irene Dunne and David J. Mahoney, president of Norton-Simon, were the dinner co-chairs. President-elect Richard Nixon was the honored guest. Los Angeles County Supervisor Ernest E. Debs spoke, as well as Lieutenant Governor Robert H. Finch. Vic Damone was the guest vocalist. Also in attendance were Cardinals from all over the United States, numerous celebrities, and virtually every prominent philanthropist, Catholic and non-Catholic, in Los Angeles: Fritz B. Burns, Hernando Courtright, Alfred Bloomingdale, Patrick Frawley, and Henry Salvatori were among those on the three-tiered dais. The evening raised $ 1-million which included a half million dollar contribution from Sir Daniel Donohue. At the dinner, Sir Daniel announced that the Dan Murphy Foundation, of which he was president, was pleased to pledge an additional $2.5-million in honor of his recently deceased wife, Countess Bernardine Murphy Donohue.

The Sisters' prayers for a hospital had been answered! Relief had come not a moment too soon. Cracks in the plaster, sagging floors and fire code violations abounded in the little clinic-yet, community members flocked to its doors where outstanding physicians volunteered their time, the Sisters spoke Spanish, and good nursing care ruled the day. The Daughters of St. Joseph were not only working as nurses, but also cooking the patients' food, doing the laundry, and keeping the clinic immaculately clean. Against all odds, patient volume was remarkably high. More than 700 babies a year were delivered at the 10-bed maternity hospital. Santa Marta also provided prenatal care, as well as pediatric, eye, and dental clinics and outpatient visit stopped 700 a month. Santa Marta's history had never been an easy one. In 1933, financial problems had shut it down. However, its loss was felt so keenly by the neighborhood that Catholic laymen organized to reopen it six months later. At that time, Mrs. L.C. Scheller took over management of the hospital and clinic. Later, Mrs. Fritz B. Burns assumed the presi dency. Miss Anita von Schnabl supervised operations and was credited with helping to keep the clinic's doors open during the difficult years of the `30s and `40s. Julio and Grace Negrete, longtime supporters of the hospital, recall coming to Santa Marta as children during the Depression to receive milk, fruit, soup and bread. In those years, the hospital not only provided low-cost medical care but fed 200 people daily.

In 1948, the Sisters of Mercy (Soeurs de Misericorde) arrived and by the mid-1950s had identified the need for a modern hospital to replace the rapidly-deteriorating clinic. An initial attempt at fund-raising was made before those Sisters returned to Montreal. In 1961, the Daughters of St. Joseph officially assumed sponsorship of Santa Marta. Exactly 12 months after the gala, on Dec. 5,1969, ground breaking was held and in 1972, a 110-bed, fully-equipped hospital, was opened to the public.

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