EVANSVILLE COURIER PRESS — For its 140th anniversary observance today, St. Mary’s Medical Center is going back to its charitable roots.
A bread and soup lunch will be served beginning at 11 a.m. in the cafeteria of the hospital’s main campus on Washington Avenue, with donations accepted for the St. Mary’s Care for the Poor fund.
The fund assists uninsured and underinsured patients at St. Mary’s. It also helps hospital employees facing emergency situations.
“This is something we’ve done before for Lent,” said Laura Forbes, a St. Mary’s spokeswoman. “We were thinking about what to do for our 140th, and this idea came to mind as part of our history.”
Additionally, St. Mary’s will serve popcorn for the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center for Advanced Medicine, also on the main campus.
The health care ministry now known as St. Mary’s was started in 1872 by the Daughters of Charity in what previously was the Marine Hospital between Tenth and Wabash avenues.
At the time, the closest public health care facility was in Louisville, according to historical accounts provided by St. Mary’s.
A new St. Mary’s hospital was built in 1894 on First Avenue. The hospital kept growing and moved to its current Washington Avenue location in 1956.
St. Mary’s expanded its residency programs and clinic work throughout the 1970s. More changes came in 1999, when Daughters of Charity joined with the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System to create what is now called Ascension Health, the largest nonprofit Catholic health system in the United States.
St. Mary’s that year acquired the local Welborn Baptist Hospital and opened its Cancer Center. A helicopter service was absorbed into St. Mary’s with the Welborn acquisition.