Local News Archive
Print Issue: July 2, 1964
Cancer Home Celebrates Silver Anniversary Here
The history of the founding of this Home is a history of vision - of being able to see with the help of Gods Eyes. Thus Archbishop Hallinan described the background of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Free Cancer Home, here in Atlanta, at last Saturdays ceremonies marking the 25th anniversary of the Homes formal opening.
The story of the Cancer Home goes back to 1896 when Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, daughter of the great American novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, opened, on New Yorks East Side, the first establishment in the U.S. to give relief from social anxiety, in an atmosphere of peace, their suffering alleviated by proper nursing care and adequate medication.
In 1900 Rose Lathrop, as Mother Mary Alphonsa, and a young associate, Alice Huber, of Louisville, as Sister Mary Rose, took their religious vows as Third Order Dominicans. This was the beginning of the Congregation of St. Rose of Lima. The Congregations work prospered and soon a new home was built in New York, followed by a Motherhouse at Hawthorne, N.Y.
Mother Mary Alphonsa died in 1926 and was succeeded, as Mother General, by Sister Mary Rose. Foundations were opened in Philadelphia and in Massachusetts and finally Mother Mary Rose was ready to turn to her own Southland. It was not until 1939, however, that the Southern foundation got under way, when a small group of sisters, led by Sister Mary Angela, left for Atlanta, at the invitation of Archbishop Gerald P. OHara.
Their destination was a large, red brick building at 760 Washington St., SW, a few blocks from the Capitol, which had originally been built as a Hebrew orphanage. With hard work the building would be suitable and the sisters began their task.
When the people of Georgia heard about what the sisters were doing they came to their assistance. The first gift to the Home was a check for $150 from a Protestant woman in Atlanta. The clergy of the archdiocese gave their services and rallied their parishioners to the cause. Following the example of one of the outstanding physicians in Atlanta, other doctors offered their skill. Lawyers and other professional men volunteered.
An auxiliary of Catholic women was formed and word began to spread through the area. A sewing group, making pads and dressings, soon included members of Atlanta churches of all denominations. Individuals contributed clothing and generously donated their time. Charitable foundations began to contribute liberally.