The heritage of the Felician Sisters is the foundation for the 304-bed hospital that serves our community, which celebrated 50 years of service in 2009.
How did it all begin? Blessed Mary Angela, foundress of the Felician Sisters, was dedicated to a ministry of healing and service. Her care for the poor and homeless in Warsaw gave birth to the Felician congregation in 1855. Her influence was first felt in North America when five pioneer sisters came to the United States in 1874. In 1882 the Sisters transferred from Polonia to Detroit and established the first American province, known as the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Initially invited to teach children of the Polish immigrants in rural Wisconsin, the sisters responded eagerly to the needs of the community, based on Mary Angela's mission of "responding to the needs of the times."
In 1926, under the leadership of Mother Mary DeSales, the Felician Sisters purchased 125 acres of property, known then as the Smith Farm, located on Schoolcraft Road in Livonia Township. The remaining 195 acres were later purchased and became the home of the Felician Motherhouse and Chapel.
As the township population grew, so did the area's healthcare needs. In 1949, these needs led to a plea by area medical professionals for the sisters to consider building a hospital. The effort was abandoned because of a lack of available federal funds. In 1952, a committee approached Mother Mary Januaria, Felician provincial superior, pledging full support of area businessmen and residents for the sisters to fulfill one of the areas most urgent needs - a hospital.
Although there were many delays, the need for a hospital became more apparent as a result of a fire at the Livonia General Motors plant in August of 1953. The fire influenced city officials to support the Felician Sisters in their quest to build a hospital in the community.
The Blessing and Groundbreaking on April 7, 1958 paved the way for construction of St. Mary Hospital under the direction of Sister Mary Columbine and Sister Mary Calasantia.
St. Mary Hospital opened its doors to the community on December 9, 1959. The original 174-bed hospital has grown with the community into a 304-bed full service hospital after five major expansions and numerous renovation programs. From 1982 to 1998, Sister Mary Modesta provided direction to the hospital as President and CEO, followed by Sister Mary Renetta, serving as President and CEO from 1998 to 2000.
In 1998, the Felician Sisters entered discussions with the Sisters of Mercy, Regional Community of Detroit, for a formal agreement between St. Mary Hospital and Mercy Health Services. In 2000, The Sisters of Mercy consolidated with The Sisters of Holy Cross, forming Trinity Health, the third largest Catholic Health System in the U.S.
Trinity Health acquired the business operations of the newly named St. Mary Mercy Hospital in June, 2000, and the Felician Sisters retained ownership of the land and buildings. Trinity Health named David Spivey the new CEO of St. Mary Mercy Hospital.
In 2007, St. Mary Mercy Hospital opened the Our Lady of Hope Cancer Center, Helen Palmer Image Recovery Center, and Heart & Vascular Center.
On February 1, 2008, St. Mary Mercy Hospital merged with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System joining St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, St. Joseph Mercy Livingston and St. Joseph Mercy Saline. The newly created Regional System is a member of Trinity Health.