In 1905, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word established Houston’s first nursing school, the St. Joseph’s School of Nursing. The Sisters provided all of the instruction to a small group of initial students. Years later when the time came to move the program to a Bachelor of Science degree, the Sisters collaborated with Dominican College in Houston, which was run by the Houston Dominican Sisters. The program eventually moved to University of St. Thomas when Dominican College closed in 1975.
Sister Deenan Hubbard, a former student of the nursing school, recalls her time there. “I had started nursing school before I entered the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. After first vows, I started the St. Joseph’s School of Nursing program. I lived in the convent which was next door to the nursing building.”
The school was always a blend of Sisters and laywomen. “Prior to my time at the school, the lay students couldn’t be married,” Sister Deenan said. “They all lived in the dorm, and there was a curfew. For the laywomen, there were no dates.” During Sister Deenan’s years at the school, she was the only Sister in her class, and the lay women commuted to the school.
After graduating from nursing school, Sister Deenan pursued a nurse practitioner degree “so I could go to places that were underserved, no physicians.” In addition to many places across the U.S., she also took her training to Kenya.
Sister Deenan looks back on her nursing school days at St. Joseph’s fondly. “The experience and education I received stood by me.”