At a breakfast commemorating the anniversary, Mayor Stanton noted that the hospital was “started out of love and compassion” by the Sisters of Mercy who originally came to Arizona as teachers but found great need for medical care. The mayor also noted as part of a City of Phoenix proclamation that St. Joseph’s contributed more than $50 million in benefits to the community last year.
“We have a tremendous history and future,” said Patty White, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s. “This is an important milestone, but there will be many more ahead for us.”
The Sisters of Mercy first opened a six-bedroom sanatorium at Polk and Fourth Streets in 1895. Two months later, the Sisters broke ground on an adjoining property for St. Joseph’s Hospital, on March 19, 1895. The two-story hospital had 24 rooms and in 1898 the first surgery was performed using carpenter sawhorses that served as pedestals for the operating table.
Today, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, now part of Dignity Health, is a nationally recognized, 586-bed hospital that includes the Barrow Neurological Institute, the Norton Thoracic Institute and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. Its modern day reputation as a premier hospital is a product of the tenacity and wisdom of the early founders.
Sr. Margaret McBride, the Vice President of Mission Integration at St. Joseph’s says, “We have experienced many ‘first in history’ that usually have come from recognition of need. The Sisters have never seen the obstacles, which has led us to being innovative.”