It was during a smallpox epidemic in 1872 that Mother Mary Odilia Berger and four companion sisters arrived in St. Louis. Their mission was clear — to serve God by tending to the poor and sick. The day after they arrived from their native Germany, the sisters began nursing to St. Louis' smallpox victims.
Founding sisters of the St. Louis-Missouri based Sisters of St. Mary: (clockwise, starting in lower left) Sr. M. Elizabeth Becker, Sr. M. Francis Reuter, Mother Odilia Berger, Sr. M. Magdalen Fuerst, Sr. M. Odilia Schneider. (Photos courtesy of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. All rights reserved.)
Forty years later, eight more sisters followed Mother Odilia's mission when they arrived in Wisconsin at the request of several Madison physicians and local clergy to establish a "Sisters' Hospital" for the city of Madison. Through the vision and hard work of the sisters, four physicians and four lay nurses, St. Mary's Hospital opened its doors and its 70 beds on September 22, 1912.
To this day, St. Mary's Hospital remains faithful to the original mission of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary — to provide compassionate and expert health care to every patient who enters its doors.
Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God.
St. Mary's Hospital is committed to the philosophy of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary and SSM Health. St. Mary's Hospital recognizes the sacredness of life and promotes the dignity and freedom of each person. Our philosophy is further defined by the following principles.
As representatives of St. Mary's Hospital, we strive to:
- Show respect and compassion to all persons who come in contact with the hospital and treat them in a just manner.
- Provide competent, caring, and personalized service to patients and their family members.
- Provide services that recognize and utilize the latest knowledge and technology.
- Meet the changing needs of those we serve.
- Acknowledge an individual's total health to include body, mind and spirit, and provide an environment that strives for well-being in each of these dimensions.
- Foster internal and external community understanding and support.
- Be active in development of public policy which defines the health care rights of all segments of the population.
- Balance economic considerations with our commitment to provide services to those in need, regardless of their ability to pay.
- Carry out our responsibility to SSM Health as an integral part of that system.
- Provide for employees' well-being, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.