Over a century ago
the Sisters of Providence laid the foundation for a healing ministry that now spans five states and provides a caring presence in the communities in which we serve. That healing ministry is Providence Health & Services. Today, inspired by the spirit of our founders, the people of Providence share a deep, personal calling to serve by providing those in need with high-quality, compassionate care. This is our Mission.
The order of the Sisters of Providence was founded in Montreal, Quebec, by Mother Emilie Gamelin. Moved by the love of Christ to serve the poor, hungry and sick of her community, Emilie's work—and her mission—was known by those around her as "providence" for the needy.
Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart and four Sisters of Providence come to the American west from Montreal. They open their first home at Fort Vancouver in the Washington Territory to orphans and the elderly, and establish the area's first permanent school.
St. Joseph Hospital is founded in Vancouver (now Southwest Washington Medical Center). The first permanent hospital in the Pacific Northwest, it will become the foundation for the healing ministries that we know today.
Establishing schools across the territory, the Sisters expand their mission throughout present-day Montana and northern Idaho.
The first hospital in the Montana Territory—St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula—is founded. Today, the hospital has the distinction of being the oldest Providence foundation in the west.
St. Vincent Hospital (now known as Providence St. Vincent Medical Center) is founded. It is the first permanent hospital in Oregon.
The foundation for Providence Hospital, Seattle, is laid when three sisters arrive to open the King County Poor Farm in Georgetown.
By 1900, nearly a dozen Providence hospitals and schools had been established throughout the west. The Sisters of Providence Constitutions are approved by the Vatican, opening the way for new ministries in service to people in need.
Sisters of Providence found the College of Great Falls (now the University of Great Falls) in Montana. In addition to teaching in their own historic academies, the sisters teach at Catholic parochial schools throughout the west.
Providence Hospital (now Providence Alaska Medical Center) is founded, expanding the Sisters' healing ministry to the Alaskan territory. It would be 20 years before Alaska would become a state.
St. Peter Claver Interracial Center is opened in Seattle to provide a gathering place and cultural programs for African- and Asian-American families.
St. Joseph Hospital (now Providence St. Joseph Medical Center) is founded in Burbank, California. This would be the last hospital founded by the Sisters of Providence in the western United States.
Portland's Our Lady of Providence Nursery (now Providence Child Center) is established to care for orphaned infants.
The Second Vatican Council calls for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and leads to sweeping changes in religious life. The Sisters of Providence adopt modified habits in keeping with Vatican II reforms.
The Sisters' historic educational ministries begin a new era as administration is transferred to new organizations. Among them, Sacred Heart Academy in Missoula, which merges with the Helena diocese's Loyola High School to become Loyola Sacred Heart.
The Good Health Plan of Oregon, the first HMO sponsored by the Sisters of Providence, lays the foundation for the current Providence Health Plans.
The Providence healing mission in the west begins a new era of expansion by sponsorship and acquisition of existing facilities. New missions in the Philippines and San Salvador are launched, helping to take the work of the Sisters of Providence around the world.
Providence Health System and Providence Services continue to expand with new low-income housing facilities, long-term care centers and primary care clinics.
Little Company of Mary Health Services and Providence Health System become co-sponsors of all Providence and Little Company facilities in Southern California.
Beatification of Mother Emilie Gamelin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence.
One hundred and fifty years after the arrival of the Sisters of Providence to the Pacific Northwest, Providence Health System and Providence Services merge to become Providence Health & Services.
Providence Health & Services mark the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the Sisters of Providence in Washington, and celebrates the founding of the oldest corporation in the west.