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Bold faith, foresight and flexibility characterize the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. These characteristics were evident in Le Puy, France, in 1650, when the sisters first came together to address some badly overlooked needs in that city. These same virtues were operative when the Sisters came to Eureka in 1912, with a shoestring budget and a strong sense of purpose.

Their history records the remarkable adventures of women who began pioneering ministries in the early physical frontiers of California, women who continue to pioneer ministries in the social frontiers of modern society. They have an ability to look ahead, a willingness to adapt to changing needs, and a faith that operates when human powers fail.

Whatever work they might be about, the Sisters keep one thing in mind: their mission is to heal brokenness - the alienation we sometimes feel from God: and the divisions, hurts, and barriers that we create with each other.

This mission of reconciliation is the unique way the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange have of helping to bring about the kingdom of God right here and now.

The vision is personalized by each sister's presence in her work and is made concrete through several theological beliefs and their corresponding values:

  • Persons are created by a loving God and are therefore inherently good and worthy of respect
  • Like God, persons are relational and therefore need the support of others in the community
  • Jesus gave new meaning to suffering and death, a meaning that transforms our own experience of those same realities
  • We have been redeemed but are still sinful and limited, and therefore need forgiveness from one another
  • Jesus was a healer of persons who attended to spirit as well as body; therefore we minister to the needs of the whole person
  • Scripture records God's special compassion for the poor, weak and vulnerable, therefore we are called to this same compassion.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange are a community of Catholic women who share a common foundation and mission with 51 other St. Joseph congregations in 36 countries around the world. Each of these congregations expresses the same mission "to bring all people to union with God and with one another, serving their spiritual and corporal needs in all the works of mercy within the power of the congregation."

In 1836, the American foundation began when eight sisters were sent to Carondolet, near St. Louis, Missouri. During the many years the Sisters of St. Joseph have served in America, they have moved to various parts of the country, established new, independent communities, and have brought the Gospel to the people and cultures they have served.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange were founded in 1912. They carry with them more than 360 years of tradition of charity and humility, faith, foresight, and flexibility in attending to the diverse needs of the people they serve. The Sisters of St. Joseph were founded in Le Puy, France, in 1650. Today, the congregation carries out its mission through education, social work, pastoral ministry, and health services.

The fundamental principles that underlie the call to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange have not changed since 1650: They establish right relationships that recognize the sacredness of persons; the development of communities of wholeness and health; taking responsibility for social justice; and working together with others for the common good."

St. Joseph Health - Sonoma County

On New Year's Day 1950, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital opened its doors. Sixty years later, Santa Rosa's premier hospital has expanded into a full-service, not-for-profit system of inpatient, outpatient, and community outreach services for the residents of Sonoma County and California's North Coast communities.

As ministry of the Sister of St. Joseph of Orange, we are committed to the holistic care of persons - body, mind and spirit. The mission of the St. Joseph Health, of which we are a part, is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus in the tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange by continually improving the health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve. Like the early Sisters who came out of their cloistered convent to care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged in the street of Le Puy, France, our mission compels us to reach out beyond the walls of our hospitals to care for persons where there is a need.

Our expanding continuum of care today includes: urgent and emergent care, trauma services, inpatient and outpatient surgery, critical care, cardiology, oncology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, family-centered maternity care, newborn intensive care, transitional care, palliative care, home care, hospice, rehabilitation, work care, acute psychiatric services, mobile and dental clinics, health and wellness education, neighborhood organization, advocacy, and youth mentoring.

Physicians throughout our extensive service area refer patients to SJHS-SC facilities for open heart surgery, neurosurgery, clinical cancer research, psychiatric care, rehabilitation, and much more. Sophisticated diagnostic procedures available from SJHS-SC facilities include angiocardiography, cardiac catheterization, coronary angioplasty, cardiac electrophysiology, CT scanning, magnetic resonance imaging, color-flow Doppler echocardiography, laser lithotripsy, transesophogeal ultrasound, video endoscopy, and more.

With two leading hospitals and numerous campuses, we account for one-half of Sonoma County's available hospital beds. More than 2,000 dedicated employees serve the community through our integrated network of inpatient, outpatient, and outreach modalities.

The history of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange in Sonoma County has been one of community support. In return, the community has benefited from a wide array of medical "firsts." Our history, commitment, and vision is to continue to provide our community with the best in health care consistent with our values of Dignity, Service, Excellence, and Justice.

Historical Milestones:

Print detailed timeline of Strategic Moments (pdf)

  • 1944 Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce appoints a blue-ribbon committee to study the medical needs of the City's 18,000 residents.
  • 1945 Present 8.3-acre site obtained and subsequently donated to Sisters by Fred Rosenberg.
  • 1946 City officials cite a modern hospital as City's #1 priority.
  • 1947 Chamber of Commerce invites the Sisters to establish a hospital. Community fund raising begins.
  • 1948 Construction begins for a hospital to be named "Memorial" for WWII victims. The fund raising campaign nets $355,000 from 3,600 donors. Sisters borrow $1,750,000.
  • 1949 Cornerstone for the hospital is laid.
  • 1950 SRMH opens with 90 beds, 12 patients, 93 employees, 70 medical staff, and 10 Sisters. Sister Rita Rudolph is first Administrator.
  • 1953 Sister M. Ligori appointed as Hospital Administrator.
  • 1953 Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals accredits SRMH.
  • 1953 6-bed ICU and a 9-bed PACU added.
  • 1955 The SRMH Auxiliary (the "Rose Ladies") established.
  • 1957 Community campaign begins for construction of new wing to increase capacity from 90 to 150 beds. Community donates $343,000 toward $1.1 million cost. Henry Trione heads fund appeal.
  • 1959 Sister John Joseph (later called Frances Dunn) appointed as Hospital Administrator.
  • 1961 Lucile and Paul B. Kelley Cardiopulmonary Institute constructed on hospital grounds; later donated to SRMH.
  • 1962 East Wing constructed, adding 60 beds, PT, ICU, Recovery, and 6th OR.
  • 1964 Sister Alma Bachand appointed as Administrator.
  • 1965 10 beds added to Pediatric Unit, raising capacity to 22 beds.
  • 1966 Hospital has grown to 168 beds, 15 bassinets, 340 employees, 12 Sisters, 180 doctors and 100 Rose Ladies.
  • 1967 4-bed Coronary Care Unit opens; the first in Sonoma County.
  • 1968 Third floor added to the East Wing bringing total capacity to 219 beds.
  • 1969 Sister Mary Esther appointed as Administrator.
  • 1969 Major earthquake in Santa Rosa; SRMH sustains $500,000, but remains in operation.
  • 1970 Intensive Care Newborn Nursery (ICNN) opens.
  • 1971 Nuclear Medicine department opens.
  • 1972 First Total Hip operation performed north of San Francisco (at SRMH).
  • 1973 New "Emergency Room" opened.
  • 1974 First Corneal Transplant performed at SRMH.
  • 1974 Board of trustees expanded to include lay persons.
  • 1975 Arthur V. Crandall appointed as first lay Administrator.
  • 1975 Equipment campaign kicked off with goal of $1.3 million.
  • 1977 Sonoma County's first Paramedic Base Station established at SRMH.
  • 1978 Parenting & Childhood Education (PACE) Committee established.
  • 1978 Ultrasound added.
  • 1979 Ground breaking for three-phase major expansion to replace 121 beds, ED, and all ancillary and support services. Employee Committee raises $175,000 for new cafeteria.
  • 1980 SRMH acquires 60-bed Santa Rosa General Hospital; St. Rose Alcoholism Recovery Center opens at General Hospital.
  • 1980 City of Santa Rosa issues $29,680,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds for Phase I of building program (replacement of Central Plant).
  • 1981 First Open Heart Surgery in the County performed at SRMH.
  • 1981 First hospital long-range plan developed.
  • 1982 Computerized Tomography (CT) introduced.
  • 1983 Phase II of building program completed (121 bed and service replacement).
  • 1983 Rohnert Park Healthcare Center opens.
  • 1984 Angiocardiography services introduced.
  • 1985 Phase III of building program (Emergency Department) completed.
  • 1986 George Heidkamp appointed as hospital President.
  • 1986 Kidney Transplant and Organ Procurement services added.
  • 1986 First aeromedical transport to SRMH; helicopter lands on Montgomery Avenue.
  • 1986 Redwood Empire Medical Group (REMGI) formed with support of SRMH.
  • 1987 Dedicated Cardiac Catheterization Lab added.
  • 1988 Mammography Unit added.
  • 1988 Jake Henry appointed as President and CEO.
  • 1988 Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy added.
  • 1989 Cancer Program approved by the American College of Surgeons.
  • 1989 First Laser Angioplasty performed at SRMH.
  • 1990 Mobile Health Clinic and Dental Clinic begin service.
  • 1990 Neurosurgical Stereotactic Biopsy initiated at SRMH.
  • 1990 Jim Houser appointed as President and CEO.
  • 1991 Electrophysiology Lab established.
  • 1993 Home Care Partners formed as a joint venture with Warrack Hospital.
  • 1993 Memorial Hospital Foundation of Santa Rosa, a separate corporation is disestablished; SRMH Foundation, an entity of the Board of Trustees, is formed for fund development.
  • 1994 SRMH designated as a "Community Clinical Oncology Program" (CCOP) by the National Cancer Institute, one of only 50 such sites in the nation.
  • 1994 Construction of a 50,000 square foot Medical Center Plaza completed.
  • 1994 Construction of employee parking garage completed.
  • 1994 Community Benefit program begins.
  • 1994 "Growing Together" pre-natal education begins.
  • 1995 Elsie Allen High School-Based Health Clinic opens.
  • 1995 Radiation Therapy Pavilion in the Cancer Center opens with major gifts of $1 million.
  • 1996 Robert Fish appointed as President & CEO.
  • 1996 Southwest Community Center opens; later to be gifted to the community.
  • 1996 "House Calls" program of home visits to frail elderly begins.
  • 1996 Subacute Unit opens at SRMH.
  • 1996 SRMH leases the General Hospital property to Catholic Charities for $1/year to operate the Family Support Center homeless shelter.
  • 1997 SJHS begins long-term contract to manage Petaluma Valley Hospital.
  • 1997 SJHS affiliates with Primary Care Associates and Hillcrest Medical Group.
  • 1997 Memorial Hospice begins in Santa Rosa.
  • 1997 St. Joseph Home Infusion begins.
  • 1997 Radiology services open at the Oakmont Medical Suites.
  • 1998 St. Joseph Health Foundation, a medical service organization (MSO), is established.
  • 1998 St. Joseph Home Care Network established serving Sonoma, Napa, and Humboldt.
  • 1998 SRMH acquires North Coast Health Centers.
  • 1999 David Ameen appointed as President & CEO.
  • 1999 Level II Intensive Care Newborn Nursery established in partnership with UCSF.
  • 1999 SRMH designated as Trauma Center for Sonoma County.
  • 1999 Circle of Sisters, a mentoring program for young girls, begins.
  • 2000 Palliative Care Unit opens at the Sotoyome campus.
  • 2001 Pain Clinic established.
  • 2002 SRMH contracts with Horizon Mental Health Management to manage Psych Services.
  • 2003 SRMH Ambulatory Surgery Center opens.
  • 2004 New Cardiac Cath Lab dedicated.
  • 2004 St. Joseph Urgent Care Center opens at Fulton Campus.
  • 2004 SRMH Emergency Department Registration and Waiting Room expansion completed.
  • 2005 George Pérez appointed President and CEO.
  • 2006 Evert and Norma Person Heart Institute.
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