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St. Patrick Hospital opened in 1873 under the sponsorship of the Sisters of Providence. The present hospital facility, located above the Clark Fork River, opened in 1984. The hospital has 253 licensed beds and in 2011 admitted more than 7,900 patients and provided more than 37,902 days of patient care. Approximately 95 percent of our patients come from our 17-county service area.
On October 17, 1864, four French speaking Catholic nuns arrived at the St. Ignatius Mission south of Flathead Lake. The Sisters organized "begging tours" to the scattered mining camps and communities of Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The Sisters were successful enough to expand their original mission at St. Ignatius to include Sacred Heart Academy and St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. In April of 1873, Mother Caron, Superior General of the Sisters of Providence, along with Sister Mary Edward and Sister Mary Victor came to Missoula to start both a hospital and a school with $500 saved from the begging tours.
The beginnings were humble. A small frame building offered Missoula a clean, professional healthcare and the warm concern of the Catholic nuns who ran it. In years to come, additions and remodels of the original building were undertaken. By 1889 a new three-story hospital increased patient intake from 40 to 90 patients.
In 1923 more space was needed for Missoula's fast growing community. The former method of begging from farmers and ranchers was no longer useful to raise $45,000 needed to build an addition to the 1889 building. Thankfully, pledges and donations made up the sum, and the five-story, 100-foot by 40-foot Annex was built. St. Patrick Hospital was now a facility of 150 beds.
In 1906, St. Patrick Hospital combined its vocations of teaching and healthcare by founding a School of Nursing. By 1946 the School of Nursing had its own building and the school flourished. However, in the 1970's the formal training of nurses shifted to university settings. The School of Nursing closed on June 3, 1978, graduating 1,243 registered nurses.
A large challenge lay ahead for the Sisters of Providence. In order to move forward, greater space and greater funding was needed. The new facility the Sisters had in mind would require $500,000 -- a far cry from the initial $500 establishing the hospital in 1873. The new facility, known as the Broadway Building, opened March 17, 1952 to considerable fanfare and public praise. Expansion and specialization in services marked the next years as St. Patrick Hospital acquired sophisticated technology and a reputation as a leading regional cardiac and cancer center.
Again by 1980, shortage of space and the constant development of modern technology required a building expansion. Efforts began again to raise $37.4 million to finance a 285,000 square-foot facility. This facility constructed in 1984, remains the hospital's main establishment.
In November 1999, after imploding the old hospital facility titled the Broadway Building, construction began for a new outpatient services building next to our present hospital facility. The Broadway Building opened in March 2002, with two underground floors of parking and six stories of physician offices and outpatient services. Physicians include but are not limited to those from the Western Montana Clinic, the Montana Neuroscience Institute, the Montana Cancer Center and the International Heart Institute. We offer a variety of outpatient therapy services including physical, occupational, speech, diabetic, and cardiac rehabilitation.
In April 1873, the Sisters of Providence came to the Missoula valley to compassionately serve those in need, especially the poor and vulnerable. They opened St. Patrick Hospital, a not-for-profit mission, which quickly grew from a one-room structure to its current state-of-the-art medical center. St. Pat's continues to be sponsored by Providence Ministries, with a commitment to reveal God's healing presence to those who come to us for care.