History of Jiangxi Hospital: Founded by French Catholic Missionary

A picture of the gate of the Nanchang St. Louis Hospital, the former of the Third Hospital of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province
A picture of the gate of the Nanchang St. Louis Hospital, the former of the Third Hospital of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province (photo: WeChat account: Searching for Missionary's Footsteps)
By John ZhangFebruary 1st, 2024

The Third Hospital of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, traces its roots back to the St. Louis Hospital run by France, boasting a history spanning 106 years.

On February 25, 1917, the Canossian Daughters of Charity of the Nanchang Diocese, commenced the construction of the hospital outside the JinXian Gate (an ancient jar-shaped wall) in Nanchang. French priest whose Chinese name was Mong Te-Leang was appointed as the supervisor. The hospital comprised outpatient and inpatient departments, an operating room, an X-ray room, and a central pharmacy, all equipped with 80 beds. 

On February 25, 1921, the hospital opened, featuring departments such as obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, pediatrics, pulmonary medicine, internal medicine, and relief. Locals frequently referred to the hospital as the "French Hospital" because the French managed it, with Mong Te-Leang serving as the first hospital director.

In 1923, Wang Houyi, a graduate of Shanghai Aurora University, came to assist a French doctor at the inception of the hospital. Consequently, two citizen clinics were established outside the hospital and near Zhangjiang Gate (an ancient jar-shaped wall), charging only five copper coins for each registration. A female missionary served as the outpatient department's supervisor, and a doctor was available for consultations. Seriously ill patients, with approval from the head of missionaries, could enter the free wards.

In 1927, a two-story inpatient building was added to the hospital, specifically for female patients. The hospital expanded to accommodate 150 beds, with a total staff of about 150, making it a comprehensive hospital in the city at that time.

In 1939, the Japanese invaders occupied Nanchang. Until 1945, over 640,000 residents were killed, and more than 130,000 houses were destroyed or burned. During this period, this hospital continued its operations, keeping its doors open to refugees in Nanchang with free food and shelter.

In 1946, the hospital established an advanced nursing school, training three batches of students. It admitted unmarried female youths who had completed junior high school or had an equivalent education, typically of the Catholic faith. While missionaries taught French and the Bible, physicians gave daily lectures.

In 1951, the hospital came under the management of the People's Government of Jiangxi Province and was renamed the Second People's Hospital of Nanchang. At that time, the Director of the Health Bureau of Jiangxi Province, Xu De, concurrently served as the hospital director and incorporated the nursing school into the provincial nursing school (now Jiujiang Health School). 

In 1952, the hospital transferred personnel from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to the newly-built Jiangxi Provincial Maternal and Child Health Hospital. In 1953, personnel from the department of tuberculosis were shifted to the provincial tuberculosis hospital (now Jiangxi Chest Hospital). In 1954, the hospital was renamed the Jiangxi Provincial People's Hospital. In 1958, the hospital was taken over by the Nanchang Municipal People’s Government and renamed the Third Hospital of Nanchang.

(The article is reposted with permission from the Wechat public account: "Searching for the Missionary's Footsteps".)

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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