It all began in 1891, when the Sisters of Mercy responded to a plea for help in the Ozarks. Three Sisters traveled from St. Louis to Springfield, turning an eight-room house into the town’s first hospital.
Over the next 124 years, their healing ministry touched lives in several communities spanning southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. Mercy Springfield Communities now includes six hospitals, three specialty hospitals, nearly 700 doctors, thousands of co-workers and clinic locations – including Pulaski and Phelps Counties, among many others.
“While our methods may be more modern, our mission has stayed the same: to bring to life the healing ministry of Jesus,” said Gerald Dowdy, executive director of operations at Mercy Clinic Rolla. “We are honored to continue bringing excellent care to communities that may not otherwise receive it.”
To celebrate the start of Mercy’s 125th year of service in the Ozarks, Mercy hosted special ceremonies across the region. In Rolla and St. Robert, co-workers gathered to raise 125th anniversary flags and share reflections.
“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, click here.