Rev. Michael Peterson, Hospital Founder, Dies

New York Times
April 12, 1987

Washington – The Rev. Michael R. Peterson, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington who was the founder of St. Luke Institute, a psychiatric hospital for priests and brothers and sisters of the Roman Catholic church, died Thursday of complications resulting from the AIDS virus. He was 44 years old.

Archbishop James A. Hickey of Washington said in a news conference today that Father Peterson decided last February to publicly discuss his illness, after months of indecision, because he thought it would help other victims of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

In a letter sent to every Catholic bishop in the country last month, Father Peterson wrote, ''I hope that in my own struggle with this disease, in finally acknowledging that I have this lethal syndrome, there might come some measure of compassion, understanding and healing for me and for others with it - especially those who face this disease alone and in fear.''

Father Peterson, who was born in Seattle in 1943, received a medical degree and certificate in psychiatry from the University of California. He worked for five years at the National Institutes of Health and in 1978 was ordained as a Catholic priest.

He then founded St. Luke's Institute, a small psychiatric hospital in Washington that treats priests and religious men and women, primarily for drug and alcohol dependencies.

He is survived by his parents, Preston and Patricia Wooley Peterson; a sister, Karen; and a brother, John.


















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