With love and charity, what is today known as Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines was founded in 1893 by the Sisters of Mercy, whose spirit continues to guide us in providing healing, health and hope to all we are privileged to serve.
The following timeline details many of Mercy’s most notable milestones over the course of the past 125 years.
Mercy’s story begins in Dublin, Ireland, when Mother Catherine McAuley established the Sisters of Mercy on Dec. 12, 1831 – an order devoted to providing compassionate care for poor and suffering humanity. Driven by the missionary spirit, the Sisters went on to form new convents throughout Ireland and the world.
To provide access to much-needed hospital services and loving care in Des Moines, Mother Mary Baptist Martin and Father Michael Flavin surveyed the residence of prominent Iowa politician Hoyt Sherman. Known today as Hoyt Sherman Place, the temporary location for Mercy Hospital was opened on Dec. 8, 1893, with two private rooms and a ward for five patients.
The first of many dedications was held on April 23, 1895, during the opening of the permanent Mercy Hospital. Located at Fourth and Ascension Streets, the facility was heralded as “a great institution of charity to stay with the city for all time.”
The Venerable Mother Catherine McAuley, founder of Sisters of Mercy.
An early hospital room located in today’s Hoyt Sherman Place. Sister Mary Anthony Reilly (pictured) was the first professionally licensed nurse in Iowa from a religious order.