Legacy

 

The spirit of mercy is tangible in countless ways we care for those experiencing homelessness, poverty, mental illness or linguistic isolation.   It is the same spirit that impelled Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, to respond with compassion to the needs of the poor in Dublin in the 1830’s.   Her “walking nuns” went out to the poor in the homes and throughout the city.

Faith and community are at the heart of this mission that is lived out today on the streets and in clinics across Atlanta.

 

 

1831

Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy was moved to compassionate response by the urgent needs of the poor throughout Dublin, Ireland.  Breaking with cloistered tradition, her “walking nuns” went to the poor in their homes and on the streets.

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1843

The Sisters spread compassionate service to places they never dreamed of, “taking healthcare where it’s needed most,” ultimately leading them to open their first U.S. hospital in Pittsburgh.

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1865

Moved by their compassionate care of soldiers during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln commissions artist Florence Meyers to paint a Sister of Mercy nurse on the battlefield.

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1880

The Daily Constitution reports the opening of Atlanta’s first hospital: “The new institution…is controlled by the Sisters of Mercy whose beautiful ministrations to the afflicted are known to all.”

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1980's

Saint Joseph’s Hospital relocates to the Perimeter. Teams of nurses, doctors, Sisters and volunteers take to downtown streets with bandages and medications to care for Atlanta’s growing homeless population.   They begin by washing feet.

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1985

Generosity and providential guidance transform tackle boxes into a medical dispensary and coaches into clinics.

Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services incorporates, marking the “Second Founding Moment.” The Sisters of Mercy, joined by donors, friends and co-workers, commit to bring healthcare to those who are most vulnerable.

 

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1986

Once again, Mercy Care Services takes to the streets. A huge, beautiful Mercy Mobile medical coach is a visible source of care by “taking healthcare where it’s needed most.”

Mercy Care is designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), specifically focusing on the homeless population.

 

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2001

Mercy Care grows quickly. Donors fund the openings of a downtown office/clinic location on Decatur Street, and a large clinic to serve an uninsured, largely Hispanic population on Buford Highway.

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2005

The Mercy Moves Through Me Award is established to mark the 20th Anniversary of Mercy Care. The first honorees are U. S. Representative John Lewis and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

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2010

Through generous donors, the Decatur Street site expands its clinic and creates space for a fleet of outreach vehicles and mobile medical coaches. At The Gateway, Mercy Care opens a new Recuperative Care Program for homeless patients discharged from Grady.  All sites focus on quality standards, including CARF accreditation (2006), electronic health records implementation and “meaningful use” recognition.

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2012

Saint Joseph’s Health System entrusts hospital management to Emory Healthcare, forming a Joint Operating Company.

Mercy Care builds out its infrastructure and recognizes a “Third Founding Moment,” renewing with vigor and singular focus the mission to bring healthcare with excellence and compassion to persons who are poor and marginalized.

 

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2014

Five Mercy Care clinics earn Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition. A nighttime Street Medicine Program is underway, and Mercy Care dedicates increased resources to meet patients’ behavioral health needs.

Partnerships with Grady, Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory medical students, Gateway and City of Refuge, and other Community Health Centers improve our shared response to the needs of the community.

 

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Sustaining our sacred heritage and trust, we are inspired by heroes like Catherine McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy, staff and volunteers, patients, WINGS members, and McAuley Award and Mercy Moves through Me recipients.

We remember with affection the saints who’ve preceded us, including Beverly Anderson, Stephen Johnson, Peter Kehoe, Robert Mason, Arthur McClung, Meko Watkins.

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We promise to continue to serve with compassion and excellence those who are poor, marginalized and unable to access healthcare. We will bring our hearts to work.

 

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