History & Heritage

Meeting Community Needs Since 1827

The Mercy story begins at an unlikely time in an unlikely place with an unlikely woman. Thanks to Mercy Founder Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy, today more than 250,000 people in hospitals, schools and community programs worldwide carry on the mission of Mercy.

Mercy: Worthy of the Name

Learn more about Catherine and the Sisters of Mercy.

Building a Legacy of Care

Mercy in the United States traces its roots to New York in 1846. In 1856 the Sisters of Mercy came to St. Louis and founded the Religious Sisters of Mercy of the St. Louis Province. Fifteen years later, in 1871, they opened a 25-bed infirmary for women and children. Over the years, the Sisters of Mercy expanded their health ministry in the Regional Community’s seven-state area: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

While the hospitals and other health care facilities sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy were not formally linked, as early as the 1960s they shared management and consulting staff resources. In 1986, to position the individual hospitals for coming changes in health care, the Sisters of Mercy created the Sisters of Mercy Health System. Today, Mercy carries a simplified name and a focus on providing the best care in our hospitals, physician clinics, outpatient facilities, outreach ministries and other health and human services. We are sponsored by Mercy Health Ministry, which was established by the Catholic Church to oversee the healing ministry and Catholic identity of Mercy Health.

Sister Mary Roch Rocklage

Read about the contributions of Mercy’s first president and chief executive officer. Learn More

Our Communities

Rooted in the healing ministry of Jesus and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy tradition of caring, Mercy continues to touch the lives of 2.7 million patients annually. We serve communities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, with outreach ministries in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Today, we are building upon our legacy of listening and developing healthier communities. Through surveys and community roundtable meetings, we listen intently to the voice of those we serve.

Now, under the united name of Mercy, we are more prepared than ever to face the health care challenges of our day and deliver on the promise of more personal, coordinated and comprehensive care.

We urge you to explore where Mercy lives in your community and help us build a healthier future.