History of Santa Teresita


Santa Teresita began in 1930 when Father Leroy S. Callahan, as the representative of Bishop John Cantwell, asked the Carmelite Sisters to open a tuberculosis sanatorium for the care of young women. The Sisters established the sanatorium on a three-acre plot in Duarte, California, when orange groves still covered the land and the population totaled about 300. With five beds and a $22,500 loan, the Sisters converted an old farmhouse, some small cottages, and a barn into Santa Teresita Sanatorium. The patroness of this foundation was Saint Therese, the French Carmelite nun canonized in 1925 who died of tuberculosis. Her name in Spanish is Santa Teresita – known as “The Little Flower.”1930Santa Teresita First Sign

By 1955, when a cure for TB was found, Santa Teresita Sanatorium became Santa Teresita Hospital, a fully accredited acute care hospital. In 1959, the St. Joseph Chapel was dedicated by Cardinal James McIntyre. In 1964, our Manor Skilled Nursing Facility was built with a 133-bed capacity. Other expansion projects followed.

In 1967, Hayden Child Care Center was established to accommodate working parents. Madonna Hall was built in the mid-1960’s. This two-level structure, approximately 9,000 square feet, provided space for meetings, conferences, special functions, and community fundraisers and events. In 1981, a 5-story professional office building was built to provide space for physicians to facilitate their service at Santa Teresita. An expanded surgery wing was built in 1986 with an additional outpatient component in 1987.

As the year 2000 approached, a multiphase building project was established which remodeled the east wing of the hospital for skilled nursing and added a new entrance at the south end called the Sacred Heart Lobby.

In 2004, with the current shortcomings of reimbursement for acute care, it was decided that Santa Teresita go back to our core competencies of a continuum of long and short-term care with strong support of comprehensive rehabilitation services, pastoral care, and intergenerational activities.

Since that time, our programs and living accommodations for seniors developed into what Santa Teresita is today. In 2010, following the new master plan of our Neighborhood of Care, the Madonna Hall, Saint Joseph Chapel, and the Medical Office Building were restored. Along with our 2018 grand opening of the Good Shepherd Cottage, and 2020 opening of the Cristo Rey Cottage, followed with plans to build several more cottages for seniors in our 12-acre Neighborhood of Care.

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