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Website video depicts Dominican history at St. Rose, St. Catherine
chu mlee dominican heritage video
Edward Smink of Centura Health presents a DVD that depicts the history of the Dominican Sisters in Kansas to Sister Teresita Huse of Great Bend. The public may view the video online. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

           It began as a way to introduce new associates at two medical facilities with the storied history of how the Dominican Sisters started health-care services in Great Bend and Garden City.

          The 18-minute video has turned into more than that.

          The video depicts how the Dominican Sisters started what is now St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center in Great Bend in 1903, and purchased the Rewerts-Miner Clinic in Garden City and renamed it St. Catherine Hospital 1931.

          It can be viewed at both facilities’ websites. They are and

          “After we saw the finished product, we wanted to offer it to the public too,” said Mark Mingenback, St. Rose director of business strategy and marketing. “It offers a concise history of the significance of the Dominican Sisters in our communities. They have cared for the sick and the poor, and are the backbone of central and southwestern Kansas.”

          Sister Teresita Huse of Great Bend, who appears in the video, said the Sisters answered a calling to provide health care to the community.

          “The Dominicans stepped forward to provide essential health services,” she said. “Those who came before us allowed the communities to grow and prosper because residents felt secure with the safety net of quality, local health care.”

          Sr. Teresita noted that while many long-time residents may know a few historical basics, they might be surprised to learn about the Dominicans’ significant reach.

          For example, many local social-service agencies that were started with the Sisters’ leadership continue today. In central Kansas these include the Family Crisis Center, Sunflower Diversified Services, Habitat for Humanity, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice, Barton Community College nursing program, the Center for Holistic Health, Heartland Center for Spirituality and Heartland Farm.

          In the Garden City area, the list includes Catholic Social Services, Garden City Community College nursing program, Community Services Council, Catholic Office for Immigration and Refugees, Dominican Sisters Ministry of Presence, Emmaus House, St. Catherine Home Health and Community Health Coalition. In addition, the Sisters were among the first teachers at St. Mary Catholic School and St. Dominic Catholic School.

          “Our Sisters discovered needs and later formed partnerships with local leaders to fill those needs,” Sr. Teresita said. “We fill a need and then operations are turned over to lay people. It is a perfect fit.”

          The community also may not be aware that the Sisters were originally invited to come to Great Bend by a priest at St. Joseph’s Parish in Ellinwood.

          “His sister was a Dominican in New York,” Sr. Teresita explained. “This shows that personal relationships and partnerships were as important at the turn of the 20thCentury as they are today.”

          When Edward Smink, executive director of mission and ministry for Centura Health, learned about this rich history, he wanted to share it with colleagues.

          “During a meeting to explore how to create a learning tool for associate orientation, the idea of a video arose,” Smink recalled. “Our associates are media-savvy and we thought a video would be a good method of communication.

          “We encourage everyone to go to our websites and enjoy this great true story of the Dominican Sisters,” he added. “It really captures their 112-year presence in Kansas and takes less than 20 minutes to watch.”

          Smink noted that Sr. Teresita was instrumental in compiling helpful information for the project. “Sr. Teresita is a great historian and archivist,” Smink said. “Her contributions were invaluable.

          “The video not only covers the past but also illustrates how the Sisters are adapting to changing needs,” he continued. “Their motto is ‘to go where the need is.’ That sums it up as we meet the health-care needs of the communities we serve.”

Mission and ministry funds at the two Centura facilities, and a St. Rose Foundation grant financed the project.

          St. Rose and St. Catherine are part of Centura Health, which connects individuals and families across western Kansas and Colorado with more than 6,000 physicians, 15 hospitals, seven senior-living communities, physician practices and clinics, and home-care and hospice services.