Mission to serve since 1931
For 90 years, Dignity Health - St. Bernardine Medical Center has fulfilled the mission of its founders, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, to advocate for those who are poor and vulnerable, while offering healing—both inside our hospital and our community. The hospital’s name honors Bernardo Albizzeschi, a priest born in Siena, Italy, in 1380 and canonized by the Roman Catholic Church as “Saint Bernardine.”
In the 1920’s, San Bernardino experienced a rapid population growth of 18,700 residents in 1920 that grew to nearly 40,000 by 1930. Concerned about the lack of hospital facilities for this booming population, a local surgeon, Dr. Philip Savage Sr. (1880-1955) shared his dream of building a faith-based hospital with Father Patrick Dunn, pastor of St. Bernardine Catholic Church, and Mother Mary Placidus Mulcahy, superior general of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston, Texas.
Guided by the Founding Sisters of Charity, they established a formal trust agreement with members of the non-medical community. The group’s fundraising efforts raised enough to purchase a vacant field near the corner of Waterman and Highland avenue, which was a dirt road flanked by farms and fields.
California Governor James J. Rolph laid the cornerstone of the new St. Bernardine Medical Center and convent and the hospital officially opened its doors on October 10, 1931. The hospital’s first patient, Mrs. Louise Landry, honored her daughter’s birthplace by naming her Bernardine Landry, who was delivered by Dr. Eugene H. Hull and baptized in the convent chapel by Father Dunn.
St. Bernardine then
Dr. Savage served as the first chief of staff of the 125-bed hospital, which included five surgery rooms, an operating theater for observation and teaching, six solariums, clinical laboratories, special treatment and x-ray rooms, and modern kitchens.
Since then, the hospital has grown to serve the specific needs of our community. In 1956, a community fundraising campaign raised nearly $500,000 for an additional 120 beds. In 1960, the $3 million South Wing opened and inaugurated the now-renowned Inland Empire Heart and Vascular Institute. In 1970, the hospital erected a $14 million nursing tower, and in 1990, a six-story patient tower was built to house the Matich Conference Center, a new cafeteria, and outpatient services. Expansion continued in 2002 with a $6.1 million Critical Care Unit, an expanded Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, and OB services.
Today, St. Bernardine Medical Center is a 342-bed nonprofit acute care hospital that offers the latest technology, advanced services, and a place of healing for the body, mind, and spirit.
Supported by the CommonSpirit Health family, Dignity Health – St. Bernardine Medical Center, continues realizing the dream of Dr. Savage, the Founding Sisters of Charity, and our committed community leaders of providing high-quality care that is delivered with humankindess to our most vulnerable populations across the Inland Empire.