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From its earliest beginnings, the Catholic Church has always been a cornerstone of the development of the modern society we all have come to know and are familiar with. From cultivating coffee, to inventing to the electric motor, and even pioneering pizza deliveries, the Church has given rise to much of Western civilization. But did you know that the Catholic Church also invented hospitals?

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” – Matthew 25:35-36

The modern hospital has its beginnings when Emperor Constantine made Catholicism legal in Rome, paving the way for the Faith in the Triumph of the Church. Shortly after the Edict of Milan, the First Council of Nicaea met in 325 A.D. The council ordered a hospital be constructed in every cathedral town to care for the sick, the poor, widows, and strangers. These early hospitals were staffed and funded by members of religious orders along with lay volunteers. In fact, the root name of hospital is derived from the Latin hospes, meaning traveler, because Faithful arriving on pilgrimages would often be ill.

The initial mandate by the First Council of Nacaea sparked a lasting legacy of the Church being the bedrock of healthcare throughout Europe. In the 6th century, the Benedictines had every monastery of the order establish an infirmary to provide care for their community. By the late 8th century, Emperor Charlemagne took the efforts one step further, ordering the repair of all hospitals in Europe that had fallen to disarray, and ordered that a hospital should be attached to all cathedrals and monasteries.

By the end of the Middle Ages, the Church had laid down a foundation of healthcare all across Europe, with hundreds of hospitals dotting the map. Specific religious orders also formed with the express charism of health care for sick and ill. By the advent of the Industrial Revolution, a majority of hospitals worldwide had their roots in the long-standing Catholic tradition of caring for the sick. Today, the Church has over 600 hospitals and over 400 long-term care facilities in the United States alone.

The Catholic Church remains the largest non-government provider of health services around the world, providing care to the young and old alike, and regardless of the religion.

However, some across the globe are not blessed with easy access to the life saving healthcare they need. You can make an impact and help provide healthcare to those who need it most through a charitable donation with MISSIO!

Launched by Pope Francis himself, MISSIO is a new and innovative Catholic crowd-funding platform that allows you to directly provide aid and assistance to the poorest areas around the world.

With MISSIO you can directly support the works of Catholic missionaries in the poorest and most desperate areas of the world. Some of the giving opportunities on MISSIO include helping to bring nurses to the poor of Papua New Guinea, bring an Intensive Care Unit to rural Kenya, build a mission hospital in Zambia, or send general support for the Pope’s missions around the world.

Choose one of these missions of Pope Francis knowing that 100% of your donation will go directly to that cause. Share the mission on social media so others can support the projects also.

MISSIO is powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas missions since 1822, providing for a global network of people who are making a difference for communities in need around the globe.

Start your new year off right by helping the missions of Pope Francis around the world with MISSIO!

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