HISTORY OF ST. MARY’S HEALTH SYSTEM
When the people of Evansville, Indiana, sought the help of the Daughters of Charity to open a hospital in 1872, they could not have imagined the growth and complexity of healthcare in this new millennium. St. Mary's has always valued its history and the mission of care they set forth from that moment forward. The timeline below may help to illustrate the history of St. Mary’s and our Catholic healthcare ministry, which is rooted in our mission, vision and values.
1617 – St. Vincent de Paul gathers a small group of parish volunteers together to serve the sick and the poor in Chatillon, France by establishing the Confraternities of Charity.
1624 – St. Vincent de Paul meets St. Louise de Marillac, a lay noblewoman, and becomes her spiritual advisor.
1633 – St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac form a creative partnership and found the Daughters of Charity.
1641 – 1660 – Daughters of Charity are established in hospitals and houses of charity throughout France.
1809 – Archbishop John Caroll recruits St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to establish the Sisters of Charity in America. back to top
1850 – The Sisters of Charity achieve a long-standing dream and are accepted into the Daughters of Charity, still based in Paris, France
1871 – Bernard Schapker, an Evansville businessman, corresponds with Sister Euphemia, D.C. of the St. Joseph Provincial House in Emmitsburg, Maryland requesting the Daughters of Charity come to Evansville.
1872 – Sister Marie Voelker, D.C. and 3 other Daughters of Charity arrive to begin a healthcare ministry in a once closed Marine hospital on the banks of the Ohio River.
1885 – Evansville undergoes rapid growth and industrial transformation. The neighborhood around St. Mary’s Hospital on the banks of the Ohio has become a manufacturing district. Sister Agnes Farrell, D.C., administrator, buys 7 lots on the corner of First Avenue and Columbia.
1893 – The Daughters of Charity open a new St. Mary’s Hospital on First Avenue in July, heralded as one of the finest hospitals in the West.
1894 – Doctors A.M. Owen and Edwin Walker open the Evansville Sanitarium, later to be expanded and named the Welborn-Walker Hospital. back to top
1906 – The St. Mary’s School of Nursing opens and eventually closes in 1967.
1943 – The First Baptist Church purchases the Welborn-Walker Hospital and renames it Welborn Baptist Hospital.
1956 – The current hospital opens on March 9 under the direction of Sister Justina Morgan, D.C. In an unprecedented display of fellowship, 800 volunteers and 5,000 vehicles move St. Mary’s to the eastside location on Washington Avenue during Operation Good Neighbor.
1957 – St. Mary’s becomes the first hospital in the country to provide family-centered maternity care, an innovation introduced by Dr. Edgar Engel, Sr., Dr. C. Curtis Young and Sister Mary Stella Simpson, D.C.
1969 – The Regina Pacis Home is deeded to St. Mary’s by the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. It serves as a long-term care facility. The Regina facility closes in November 2003 as St. Mary’s exits long-term care. back to top
1970 – Formal Physician Residency program begins. Welborn breaks ground on a new seven-story building, which will house a high-risk nursery, pediatric intensive care unit and new trauma and emergency units.
1977 – St. Mary’s Hospital becomes St. Mary’s Medical Center to reflect more accurately what St. Mary’s has become.
1982 – Welborn’s LifeFlight, the tri-state’s first emergency air ambulance service, takes flight and logs 403 patients in the its first 16 months.
1986 – Seton Health Corporation is formed and serves as the corporate member of both for-profit and not-for-profit entities that conduct health-related activities for St. Mary’s Health System. Seton has joint venture relationships with Surgicare, Memorial Hospital/Seton Health Service Corp. and Dialysis Affiliates. Seton is also the parent corporation of several wholly-owned subsidiary corporations including, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Hospital, St. Mary’s at Home, St. Mary’s Breast Center and St. Mary’s Building Corp. back to top
1989 – Thirty local agencies and the three Evansville hospitals form Partners in Caring to improve the health and quality of life for the community.
1995 – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Hospital, a 25-bed long-term acute care facility, is formed at St. Mary’s Warrick in Boonville. The hospital is eventually relocated to the second floor of St. Mary’s Medical Center in December of 2000.
1998 – Mission Health is established to streamline operations for members of the Daughters’ local health ministry: St. Mary’s, St. Mary’s Warrick and Harrisburg Medical Center.
1999 – St. Mary’s purchases Welborn Baptist Hospital. Two new Welborn community foundations are formed with $80 million in start-up funds. In November, the four provinces of the Daughters of Charity and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth merge to form Ascension Health, the largest not-for-profit Catholic health ministry in the nation. In December, St. Mary’s Cancer Center opens, delivering state-of-the-art cancer care to the tri-state.
2000 – St. Mary’s establishes “Dental Care for Kids ” through funding from St. Mary’s Foundation. This mobile dental clinic brings dental care to Medicaid and low-income children and adolescents in area schools. back to top
2001 – St. Mary’s creates a separate, but attached Hospital for Women & Children where a typical mother can stay in the same room for her labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care.
2002 – St. Mary’s appoints its first laywoman president, Kathleen M. Korbelak.
2003 – Mission Health changes its name to St. Mary’s Health System. St. Mary’s Weight Management Center opens for the treatment of severe obesity. St. Mary’s becomes affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center. In 2011 the affiliation became Joslin Diabetes Center, Education Affiliate at St. Mary's.
2005 - St. Mary's Board of Directors appoints Timothy Flesch as President/CEO of St. Mary's Health System and St. Mary's Medical Center.
2006 - In November, construction was completed on the Center for Advanced Medicine. The development of the outpatient facilities, including the Heart Institute, moves us to the forefront of quality and service delivery to our community and region.
2007 - St. Mary's is chosen as the site of Evansville's Ronald McDonald House. St. Mary's also opens its Surgical/Trauma ICU, becoming one of the first 20 hospitals nationwide to install the Latitude arm system for monitoring patients.
2009 - St. Mary's sells the Walker Building, part of the former Welborn Hospital complex. In December, St. Mary's took receipt of the 3T MRI imaging unit making it the only hospital in Southern Indiana offering 3T MRI imaging.
2011 - St. Mary's designated as Magnet® designated facility by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Magnet® designation is the gold standard for nursing care.
Our Catholic healthcare ministry will continue the healing mission of Christ by caring for the whole person, body, mind and spirit.
July 1, 2012 - St. Mary's Health System and St. Vincent's Health System (Indianapolis) create a new health partnership by merging the two health systems.
September 2012 - a major Emergency Department and inpatient bed expansion project was completed. The renovation/expansion included additional space for patients needing care in the Emergency Department and 20 additional private rooms in the hospital.
2013 - St. Mary's Board of Directors names Keith Jewell as President of St. Mary's Health.
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