History - Our Catholic Heritage
It all began in 1888.
1888 is an important year in the history of health care in Arkansas. It is the year two hospitals – St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock and St. Joseph’s Infirmary in Hot Springs – began caring for patients with two groups of Sisters at the helm and at the bedside.
These women, beginning with Mother General Cleophas, leader of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, KY., congregation, and five members of the religious community – Sisters Mary James, Cornelia, Mechtildes, Mary Sebastian and Hortense – opened the 10-bed Charity Hospital on East Second Street in Little Rock near the current location of the Clinton Presidential Library. The women came to Little Rock on the promise and provision of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Hager, a wealthy couple who had made a promise to God that if Little Rock was spared the yellow fever epidemic that was ravaging Memphis, they would, in gratitude, provide the funds to build a hospital. Miraculously, the yellow fever outbreak did not affect Little Rock, and the Hagers kept their vow. Learn more about CHI St. Vincent Infirmary's history.
Just four months later, on Sept. 24, 1888, Mother Mary Aloysius Fitzpatrick and Sister Mary Clare Quinlan, Sisters of Mercy at St. Mary’s Convent in Little Rock, came to Hot Springs with orders to administer and operate a hospital and call it St. Joseph’s Infirmary. They were given $1 for the operating expenses of the 30-bed hospital located at what had been the Adams Hotel on Cedar Terrace, in Hot Springs. Father Patrick McGowan, another charitable Arkansan, donated the building and property, valued at $10,000, to the Sisters of Mercy. St. Joseph’s Infirmary featured a modern operating room and bathrooms with hot water from the springs that flowed from protected pipes to preserve its natural heat and healing virtues. Learn more about CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs' history.
Uniting in 2014. The pioneering spirit of these Sisters became the foundation for two premier health care systems that outlived a national trend of hospital closings, remaining true to their Catholic health ministries and united April 1, 2014, with the transfer of Mercy Hot Springs to CHI St. Vincent. Today, Mercy Hot Springs is CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs.
In 1925, the Benedictine Sisters at St. Scholastica Monastery in Ft. Smith established St. Anthony’s Hospital in Morrilton as a fourteen-bed facility that served the healthcare needs in Conway County. In 1994. St. Anthony’s became a part of CHI St. Vincent and the hospital’s name was changed to CHI St. Vincent Morrilton. Learn more about CHI St. Vincent Morrilton's history.
CHI St. Vincent North was established out of a need to serve our patients who were having to travel across the river into Little Rock for care. It opened in Sherwood in October 1999. In 2017, we announced plans to relocate the CHI St. Vincent Neurosciences Institute from the Infirmary in Little Rock to our North campus in Sherwood. Learn more about CHI St. Vincent North's history.
CHI St. Vincent now includes hospitals in Little Rock, Sherwood, Morrilton, and Hot Springs; a continually developing 37-acre ambulatory campus in west Little Rock; a network of 80 primary and specialty care locations; 300+ affiliated physicians; the state’s largest group of cardiologists; and 4,500 coworkers who are passionate about their calling to the healthcare ministry. CHI St. Vincent is committed to preserving existing physician relationships in the community, building new ones in Hot Springs and Southwest Arkansas, and creating a strong statewide and regional physician network. Learn more on our About Us page.