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Helping Mercy Hospital Best Provide Care to Those Most in Need

On July 21, 1916, Dollar Bank's Board of Trustees approved a loan of $450,000 to the Sisters of Mercy to help finance an expansion of Mercy Hospital. This enormous sum (equivalent to about $10 million today) was three-quarters of the project's $600,000 budget. The eight-story annex at Stevenson and Vickroy, later known as the south wing, added 100 private rooms, wards for 240 patients, a kitchen and dining rooms.

The first hospital in Western Pennsylvania, Mercy Hospital opened its doors on January 1, 1847, with a staff of four sisters and three doctors. During the hospital's first 100 years, the dedicated staff of Mercy cared for more than 1,000,000 patients and delivered 20,000 babies. The hospital's campus has grown up around the site of its first permanent building on Stevenson Street. Today it remains Pittsburgh's only Catholic hospital, providing care to those in need, with a special commitment to the poor and uninsured.

Mercy Hospital newspaper clipping

About the Sisters of Mercy

Founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1831 by Catherine McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy is a religious order of Catholic women committed to caring for and uplifting the poor, the sick, the orphaned and the uneducated. McAuley used her own inheritance to build a "House of Mercy" in Dublin, which she dedicated to Mary the Mother of Mercy, and from which she and other sisters carried out corporal and spiritual works of mercy serving the poor of the city.

The Sisters of Mercy established their first foundation in the United States in 1843, in the city of Pittsburgh, where the Most Rev. Michael O'Connor (1810-1872) had recently been appointed bishop of a new Catholic Diocese.

Mother Frances Xavier Warde (1810-1874) and the six sisters who accompanied her from Carlow, Ireland, to the then-frontier community of Pittsburgh, quickly made an impact on the growing city. In their first three years, they opened three schools and an orphanage.

In 1847, the sisters founded Mercy Hospital. Their courage and compassion was put to the test in the very first year, when a typhus epidemic struck the city. Four of the original seven sisters, serving as nurses in the hospital, died of the disease. Undaunted, the sisters nursed the stricken during a deadly cholera outbreak in 1854 in spite of the risk to their own lives. Sisters of Mercy were the only nurses at Mercy Hospital until 1895.

In 1929, the sisters founded Mount Mercy College, now Carlow University. Today, more than 11,000 Sisters of Mercy serve the poor and needy worldwide.

Dollar Bank loan to Sisters of Mercy, 1916

 

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