Sister Chrysostom Moynahan was a pioneer in bringing health care
services to Birmingham and to Alabama. She served as administrator of
Birmingham's early hospital, St. Vincent's, from 1900-1918. In that capacity,
she supervised nursing care; organized the medical staff and its residency
program; managed finances; recruited personnel; raised funds; handled the
hospital's relations with government, business, and the religious groups in the
city; and developed programs to provide the hospital's services to those who
could not pay.
She was the first registered nurse licensed in the State of Alabama,
receiving License #1 on March 10, 1916. Realizing the need for skilled
personnel to assist the group of nursing Sisters, she founded St. Vincent's
School of Nursing, the first nursing school in the State of Alabama, and she
served as director of the school during her tenure in Birmingham.
She organized the Ladies of Charity in Birmingham to extend the ministry
of the Daughters of Charity in providing aid and relief to the city's poor.
In 1918, she was called to lead a
band of nursing Sisters and lay nurses to Italy to serve the U.S. war effort
during the first World War. This group, the Loyola Unit, was the only group of
its kind to serve abroad in the War, and Sister Chrysostom was decorated by
both the Italian and United States governments for her bravery and service to
She returned to the United States in 1919 and served as administrator of
hospitals in St. Louis and St. Joe, Missouri. Her final assignment was to
Mobile, Alabama, where she served as administrator of Providence Hospital
through the financial woes of the Great Depression, but she maintained her
commitment that the hospital treat anyone needing care, regardless of ability
Her life was dramatized for radio in a program about the Loyola Unit's
service in World War I, and when her 50th year as a Daughter of Charity was
celebrated, she received congratulations from the Pope, the President of the
United States, and the Governor of Alabama, among others.
She was buried with military honors in a soldiers grave in Mobile's
Her spirit, her bravery, her dedication, and her accomplishments truly
constitute a legendary personage in Alabama's state history.