A newly refinished armoire at St. Luke’s Hospital in Jerome bears a placard that reads “Sister Barbara’s Closet.” Inside are clothing and miscellaneous items for patients in need.

The closet was inspired by Sister Barbara Jean Glodowski who served in Jerome as director of mission and spiritual care until she retired in 2017. 

Curtis Maier, the major gifts officer for St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation wrote, “Sister Barbara was the last sister who served in Jerome and was a tireless advocate for taking care of those in need. Sister Barbara’s Closet has been created as a way to honor her service. The armoire will always be fully stocked to support our patients and fulfill our mission and core values.”

Sister Barbara, who now lives at St. Gertrude’s motherhouse in Cottonwood, was delighted to hear the news. “I have a closet named after me,” she laughed. “When I was at St. Luke’s I worked to reach out to the underprivileged.” 

Sister Barbara Jean in her office at the Monastery of St. Gertrude

Her projects included keeping clothes on hand for patients who did not have fresh clothes to wear home. At the holidays she and St. Luke’s employees would adopt and assist “Christmas Families” who were in need. After the holidays they would replenish food pantries with up to 3,500 pounds of food. Another project included gathering backpacks and school supplies for kids.

“It was important to me to advocate for the employees as much as I did the patients,” explains Sister Barbara. “A happy staff equals happy patients.”

The St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation, with enthusiastic support of the St. Luke’s Jerome employees, has also renamed its Social Services Fund the Benedictine Sisters Patient Care Fund that will help patients in their greatest needs. 

“The Benedictine Sisters Patient Care Fund honors the longstanding legacy and contribution of the sisters in advancing healthcare,” said Maier. “The mission of the former St. Benedicts Family Medical Center was to care for the sick and needy thereby serving Christ. I can’t think of a better way to continue the sister’s legacy than with the renaming of this fund.”

The sisters’ near century of ministry of healthcare in the Magic Valley began in 1923 when, at the request of the bishop, they bought an old hotel in Wendell, Idaho, and established St. Valentine’s Hospital. When that facility was closed in 1952, the sisters founded St. Benedicts Hospital in nearby Jerome that then became St. Luke’s in 2011. The healthcare system serves the Magic Valley, has over 14,000 employees, and is a repeat recipient of the Truvan Award for healthcare excellence.