Gone but not Forgotten
— Sint Rose Arcade —
On November 9, 1908, Father B. Gijlswijk of the Roman Catholic Church opened the Sint Rose Hospital on Backstreet. It consisted of 2 tiny wooden houses and it comprised a room for patients, an operating room and space for the doctor. All patients of the islands Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba, without discrimination of religion, were admitted to the hospital.
The name of the hospital was taken from Sint Rose of Lima, recognized by the Vatican as the first saint of the New World to be canonized. Rose was born in Lima in 1568. Her short life of thirty-one years, passed entirely in that city, was wholly given over to voluntary penance and prayer, the former of a nature so extreme as to appear inhuman.
Until 1929, not much changed in the health care on Sint Maarten. It still had one doctor and the hospital was even closed a few times because there were no patients. From 1930 it became busier and the teacher-nuns had to close the schools earlier for summer vacation than planned in order to assist at the hospital. Due to the population growth the number of admittance became ever higher because there was a shortage of space at the hospital on Backstreet. Because it did not meet the demands anymore, on January 16, 1935, the new Sint Rose Hospital was opened on 35 Frontstreet (now Sint Rose Arcade). The number of beds increased to 50 and the hospital was divided in a men and a ladies section. Additional improvements were an X-ray room, an office as well as a storage place. With the rise of tourism, the population growth continued more intensively. This resulted in a growth of the demand for services of the hospital.
Opened as Sweet Repose on May 30th, 1946, by Mrs. H. Conner, the senior citizen's home was run by Mrs Albertine Cockley, who together with a cook cared for the first four residents of the home. During the first years it was difficult to get enough aged persons. It also happened that a resident returned home because he or she was home-sick or would rather remain again in his own environment. Sweet Repose was expanded upon in April 1963 and again two years later when on April 1st, 1965 it was renamed the St. Martin's Home. That same year the White and Yellow Cross Foundation which had been managing the Sint Rose Hospital from the time of its humble beginnings in Backstreet, became an independent entity and also took on the responsibilities of the St. Martin's Home, under the presidency of the Sr. Edelberta de Barbanson.
Before finally closing its doors as a practicing hospital, and turning over that responsability to the Sint Maarten Medical Center on March 17th, 1991 with the transfer of Sint Rose patients, the hospital could boast providing services for eight general practitioners in various districts and for establishing a district nursing program for the entire island. From 1991 on, the Sint Rose Hospital was left to concentrate on its second function as a home for aged. The current president of the board of the White and Yellow Cross Foundation is Mr. Frans Mulder.
On December 7, 2002 the Sint Rose Hospital and the St. Martin's Home were demolished to make way for a new Shopping Arcade and Mall. The new facility, will continue to bear the name of Sint Rose not only because of the historical link, but also due to the fact that revenues from property rentals will continue to provide the elderly of Sint Maarten with loving care and attention - albeit at another more appropriate location. Developers of the Sint Rose Arcade included a special "Remembrance Plaza" to memorize the sons and daughters of the soil who were born at the Sint Rose Hospital. It features specially cut granite stones with the birth dates and names of persons born in the former hospital.