The story of the Sisters of Mercy dates back nearly two centuries to 1831 when Mother Catherine McAuley started to care for Dublin’s sick, homeless and uneducated. That ministry was welcomed in Ohio in 1858 when the members of the Sisters of Mercy came to Cincinnati and began to work throughout the state.

One hundred years after the sisters founded Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, the Sisters of Mercy were honored by the Mercy Health Foundation of Greater Lima for their caring history at its annual Mercy Club Reception held Sept. 26. The annual celebration honors those who provide support to Mercy Health – St. Rita’s and bestows the Mercy Club Award which honors an individual who has significantly impacted the community. In its 40th year, the Mercy Club Award was given to the Sisters of Mercy.

“It takes all of us together to make a difference. I took a lot of courage back then to care for the poor, the sick and the uneducated,” said Sr. Dorothy Thum, a Sister of Mercy, vice president of Mission and Values Integration for Mercy Health – Toledo and a member of the Mercy Health – Lima Board of Trustees. 

“There have been 171 Sisters of Mercy who have served in Northwest Ohio and who know are praying for us from heaven,” continued Sr. Rita Mary Wasserman, who was the last nun to serve as St. Rita’s president and CEO. “All 171 are thankful to those of you who have followed in their steps and who have continued their healing ministry. Thank you for your love and your support.”

About 260 people attended the Mercy Club event where the sisters were recognized. As part of the celebration, the foundation noted the 100th anniversary of St. Rita’s Medical Center. 

Throughout 2018, Mercy Health has celebrated the medical center’s century of care with several events. 

“For a century, St. Rita’s growth, ability to stay attuned to communities’ needs, and address the signs of the times has required contemplation and action,” said Jacqueline Daley-Perrin, president of Mercy Health Foundation of Greater Lima. “While grand in size and scope, St. Rita’s is but one small testament to the power of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy and the many lay people that have worked alongside them to deliver God’s healing.”

Bob Baxter, president & CEO, Mercy Health – Toledo and Lima regions noted that throughout the year, St. Rita’s has honored the legacy of both the hospital and the Sisters of Mercy.

“This legacy lives on in each and every St. Rita’s team member, who understands the gifts that the community has entrusted to them – their health and wellbeing,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of this ministry. I am proud to stand beside all of you as we continue to bring innovative and compassionate care to the greater Lima community. And I am proud to be here tonight with a truly amazing group of women.”