Mercy Springfield Kicks Off 125th Anniversary

November 5, 2015

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The first St. John's Hospital in Springfield, est. 1891

(now known as Mercy Hospital Springfield)

It all began in 1891 with the request of a local doctor and three Sisters of Mercy who responded, coming to a frontier settlement to set up Springfield’s first hospital.

Mercy in the Springfield area has now grown to include six hospitals in the surrounding region, three specialty hospitals, nearly 700 doctors, thousands of co-workers and clinic locations across southwest Missouri and part of northwest Arkansas.

The mission remains the same: to bring to life the healing ministry of Jesus.

“As I look back at our history, I thank God for what has been and say ‘yes’ to what will be,” said Sister Richard Mary Burke, co-worker relations coordinator for Mercy Springfield Communities. “We have always been, and will continue to be, focused on collaborating and partnering with our community for the sake of the common good.” In fact, the anniversary theme is “Rooted in Community, Driven by Faith.”

Today, Mercy Springfield marked the date 124 years ago when the Sisters of Mercy welcomed their first patient. Bishop Emeritus John Leibrecht shared a reflection, and five local Sisters of Mercy led the group in a responsive reading of “Faith Built this House.” Some of Mercy’s longest-serving co-workers and a representative from Mercy’s team of volunteers raised anniversary flags outside the hospital’s main entrance. Similar ceremonies are happening across Mercy Springfield Communities.

“As I look back over the many years of Mercy service to this community, I see a common thread,” said Dr. Alan Scarrow, president of Mercy Springfield Communities. “We have always responded to the community’s needs. In 1899, the Sisters of Mercy volunteered to live with and care for patients at Springfield’s smallpox pest camp where no one else wanted to go. These days, we’re working with Missouri State University on the MSU Care Clinic, which serves low-income, uninsured adults. No matter what era or what Mercy facility you’re in, you’ll find our co-workers giving their best so that Mercy and the communities we serve can become all that they can be.”

As part of the anniversary celebration, co-workers across Mercy Springfield Communities are pledging to collectively volunteer 125,000 hours. “We’ve been so blessed by the work we do,” explained Molly Holtmann, director of Mercy Volunteer Services. “We felt this was a way to return those blessing 1,000 fold and further improve the lives of those we serve.”

Mercy co-workers will be able to pledge volunteer hours for groups of their choosing and work on their own, with their departments or both. Each quarter, the actual hours will be tallied and outstanding departments and individuals will be recognized.

For pictures of Mercy’s 125th Anniversary events from across the Springfield Communities and historical photos, please visit bit.ly/Mercy125Pics.