In 1834, when Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church transformed its brand new church into a medical facility for victims of Detroit’s cholera epidemic, it began a long tradition of tending to the medical needs of southwest Detroit’s sick and poor. Consecration of Detroit’s first English-speaking church was delayed so that the building could be used as a hospital for victims of the deadly disease. Thus, Most Holy Trinity became the first hospital in the Northwest Territory.
One hundred years later, in 1950, Pastor Father Clement Kern had a mission, meeting the needs of the Corktown neighborhood residents who were the poorest of the poor. Because many were new immigrants in need of basic medical care, he established a free clinic, naming it in honor of Mother Frances Cabrini who had recently been canonized as patron saint of immigrants.
Today, a statue of St. Frances Cabrini stands in the waiting room of the Most Holy Trinity’s Cabrini Clinic. Volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals provide primary health care to the uninsured poor families who come to the clinic for help. Students from local universities and resident physicians receive clinical and service learning experiences.
Cabrini Clinic believes that Health Care is a Human Right. We look to the day when there will be no need for free clinics, when that right is recognized by our nation, so that a basic level of health coverage is available to all residents. Until that day, Cabrini Clinic will continue to advocate and serve.