Sister Irene Kraus, a former teacher who went on to run a series of hospitals and spent six years as the founding chief executive of the $3 billion Daughters of Charity National Health System, died Aug. 20 of cancer. She was 74.
After earning a nursing degree from the Catholic University in Washington in 1952, she quickly became an operating room supervisor. Three years later, she became administrator at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y., the first of several hospitals she ran for the order.
When the five autonomous U.S. provinces of the Daughters of Charity decided to consolidate their hospital systems in 1986, Sister Kraus was chosen to run the operation, which included 36 hospitals and 19 other facilities in 17 states with a combined annual budget of more than $3 billion.
She later ran a hospital in Pensacola, Fla., and was vice chairwoman of the merged Baptist St. Vincent's Hospital system there.