St. Mary  Advocates Inc.  

50 Years of Service to the  Community

Formerly known as the Auxiliary of  St. Mary Hospital  and Hoboken University Medical Center Center



St. Mary  Advocates Inc.  

50 Years of Service to the  Community

Formerly known as the Auxiliary of  St. Mary Hospital  and Hoboken University Medical Center Center


                     The History Of Our Organization


    Our organization was incorporated in 1966  as the Saint Mary  Hospital Woman’s Auxiliary. It was organized as a nonprofit whose mission was to raise funds and provide volunteers  for  Saint  Mary Hospital which had just embarked on a complete rebuilding of the hospital. Mrs. Elsa Willenborg, a long time benefactor of the hospital, was instrumental in organizing the Auxiliary.  Its charter president was Mrs. Louis DePascale. Sister Felicitas Lichtenauer of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, the hospital president, was our  first moderator and remained in that position  for more than 30 years.


    Membership teas were held and  women from a wide spectrum of the community became members, along with the wives of staff physicians. The organization soon became both a financial and social success. Within three years it achieved its first goal - raising $50,000 for the Dr. Kiely  Memorial Laboratory in the newly erected South Building. Its annual luncheon and fashion show  was a citywide social event and attended by hundreds of women. Over the next 45  years  the Auxiliary raised over 2.7 million dollars for the hospital.


  Initially, funds were raised from the proceeds of volunteers working at the hospital gift shop  and by fund raisers such as the annual luncheon.  In 1976  a Thrift Store was opened. Its first location was  at 409 Fourth Street. In 1978 it moved to  601 Bloomfield Street. During 1982 the Thrift Store moved to 536 garden Street where it is still operating. The thrift store not only raises funds- it also provides clothing, toys and other items at very inexpensive prices. The first four women volunteers associated with the Thrift Store illustrate how wide community support was. Lucille Casulli, born and bred in Hoboken and mother of four young children, founded the store. The first volunteer  manager, Nikki Councelman, a TV commercial actress, was a relative newcomer to Hoboken. She was followed by Shirley Ondrick, wife of a Stevens professor. Shirley was followed by Madelaine Spadavecchia, a highly respected biology teacher at Hoboken High School.


  Besides raising funds for the hospital , the Auxiliary aided  the community in a variety of ways. Examples include providing and installing Lifeline  Home Alert Systems for  Hudson County elderly , awarding financial scholarships to nursing students and  raising funds for breast cancer awareness.


   In 1976   the  bylaws were changed so that men could become members and our name was changed to  Saint Mary Auxiliary


  In 2007 a municipal authority purchased the hospital  and changed its name to  Hoboken University Medical Center..  We continued to support the hospital and changed our name to the Hoboken University Medical Center Auxiliary.


  In 2011 the hospital  was bought by a for  profit organization .  By law a for profit hospital can not  accept any gifts from a non profit organization. Since our corporate charter indicated that our funds had to be primarily  used for the hospital  we dissolved the HUMC Auxiliary Corporation and created a new nonprofit corporation - St. Mary Advocates, Inc. Our new charter is  to aid the community in areas related to health and education.