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O.C.'s 10 MOST TRUSTED BRANDS
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ST. JOSEPH HOSPITAL

By Jerry HicksPublished: April 01, 2010

Founded: 1929
Headquarters: Orange
sjo.org

What hospital do you hear most mentioned in Orange County? Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, right? But residents who participated in Orange County’s 10 Most Trustworthy Brands survey say there’s one they trust even more: St. Joseph Hospital of Orange.
 
It’s been run by a sect of Catholic nuns – the Sisters of St. Joseph – since it first opened its door in 1929.
 
The sisters made their way to Orange County in the early 1920s from Eureka, after the Vatican gave nuns more authority on how to conduct their affairs. The region was full of anti-Catholic fervor, with many local leaders belonging to the Ku Klux Klan. The nuns spread out in full regalia to let people know there was a new player in town.
 
They didn’t come in broke, either. Mother Mary Bernard had secured a $600,000 bank loan for the move. The sisters immediately bought the old Burnham estate on Batavia Street in Orange, named for its former owner, John Burnham, who had been a president for Bank of Orange.
 
They opened St. Joseph Hospital in the fall of 1929, just two months before the stock market crash on Wall Street. But the Sisters of St. Joseph came out quite well in the long run. They were shrewd enough to buy local property at cheap Depression-era prices. They used a sizeable chunk of the profits to pay for an expansion of the hospital in Orange.
 
Their policy then: The hospital was open to everyone, not just those of the Catholic faith. That holds true today.
 
In the survey, the hospital consistently beat the national average in every category. The highest ranking was for consistency, and then concern. The highest mark for individual statements: concern about the well being of customers, with a rating of 4.69 out of 5.