LIMA — A century of providing “comfort” to those who need it — that was the legacy mentioned by Diocese of Toledo Bishop Daniel Thomas during his homily at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center’s 100th anniversary mass held Tuesday, its official anniversary date of Dec. 11, in the hospital chapel.
The mass has been far from the only event hosted by Mercy Health this past year to celebrate its century of providing health care. A dinner honoring the Sisters of Mercy kicked off celebrations this February. A community party and foundation gala arrived in June, and artists were asked to participate in representing the 100-year anniversary throughout the year.
But Tuesday afternoon’s anniversary mass was a way to honor the hospital’s religious legacy on the day of its opening 100 years after the fact.
Originally founded by the Sisters of Mercy religious order in 1918 to help combat the influenza epidemic, the hospital has since become one of the county’s largest employers and continues to grow and evolve.
At its inception, the hospital could claim 101 beds. Today, it employs 3,000.
“We do not look like we did 100 years ago,” Sister Dorothy Thum said. She currently serves on the hospital’s board of trustees. “We’re not the same, but we built our legacy on the shoulders of those that came before.”
“I love the spirit of St. Rita’s. It’s alive. It’s vibrant and engaging,” she said.
While the Sisters of Mercy aren’t involved in the day-to-day activities of the hospital anymore, the nuns were the original administrators and nurses. It wasn’t until 1988 that the administration was switched over from Sister Rita Mary Wasserman to a non-sister — James Reber.
But that doesn’t mean the hospital shies away from its religious affiliation.
Due to its mission as health care provider, Thomas praised the steps the hospital has taken over the years and the Lima community in supporting its work. During his homily, he also gave kudos to all employees of the hospital who spread its mission of comfort to the those that need it.
“It’s a great joy to be in Lima this afternoon,” Thomas said. “I’m so grateful for the mission of the Mercy Sisters.”
Following the mass, the hospital hosted a reception to continue the celebration for community leaders and staff members.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.