Okay, this is both a fun fact and an uplifting one! Did you know that the Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental provider of healthcare in the world? It's true! The Church has had a rich tradition of providing healthcare, particularly to the poorest of the poor, since its inception in the wake of the Ascension of Jesus.
Let's check the numbers on which that stat is based. The Catholic Church has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 nursing homes and special needs treatment centers, and 5,500 hospitals. Around 65% of these facilities are located in developing countries, carrying on the mission of Saints like Damien of Molokai and Theresa of Calcutta. It is estimated that the Church manages 26% of the world's healthcare facilities.
This is right in line with the overall mission of the Church. What did Jesus spend the majority of His time on earth doing? Healing people! Healthcare has been a vital part of the Church since its very founding. Many religious orders are devoted entirely to healthcare, and Catholics can be found all over the world healing the sick.
The importance of healthcare to the Catholic Church can be best summed up by a Benedictine rule: "The care of the sick is to be placed above and before every other duty, as if indeed Christ were being directly served by waiting on them." Let us never forget what Jesus Himself said on this subject: "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."