Dominican Home Health Agency was founded in 1923, when four Dominican Sisters, all nurses, arrived in Denver to dedicate their lives to caring for the city’s sick and poor residents.
Mother Mary Walsh, who started the order Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor in New York, was looking for a remedy for several of her Sisters who were suffering from tuberculosis. The dry climate of Denver inspired Mother Mary to request permission from Bishop Tihen for a group of nuns to come to Denver, in part to provide healing for her sisters who were ill, as they convalesced in Denver, and in part to establish a location in the city to care for those in need.
The Sisters, affectionately known as the Sidewalk Samaritans, served the city’s sick poor from birth to death. From day one, they provided end-of-life care that honored the physical and spiritual needs of their neighbors.
The painful realities and lessons of Covid-19
In 2020, God began to show us a new way to focus how we love our neighbor by filling a significant need in our Catholic community. In caring for patients in 2020 – 2021, we were faced with the reality that authentic Catholic end-of-life care did not exist in Denver. God continued to shut doors in home health care and brought forward opportunities to move toward home hospice care.
Through COVID-19, we became painfully aware of how vulnerable we are to dying alone. Loved ones were prevented from receiving the sacraments due to pandemic restrictions. Many died alone, without their family and faith to accompany them on their final days in this life.