On February 19, 1910, four courageous young women, all Sisters of the Mercy from Los Angeles, arrived in Bakersfield to take over the care of patients in what was formerly the St. Clair Hospital on H and 16th Streets.
History tells us that when the Sisters first arrived, they were graciously welcomed by the pastor of St. Francis Church and a number of parishioners. Although the four Sisters had been both hesitant and uncertain about their new assignment, those thoughts were quickly dispelled and they immediately formed a strong bond with the families who opened their arms to them. It was then this special relationship began.
The Sisters determined that the 25-bed hospital was inadequate for the needs of a growing community. A larger and more modern hospital was desperately needed and it wasn't long before a wealthy and generous man, William de Gana, a parishioner at St. Francis Church, came forward with a gift that would enable the Sisters to build an "up to date hospital worthy of the best interests of Bakersfield." The gift was used to secure property on Truxtun Avenue. The original hospital was then moved to the Truxtun site and the new hospital was constructed for $41,000.
Soon, the three-story concrete structure with accommodations for 50 patients was ready. Mercy Hospital continued to expand with the growing community and developed into the 194-bed facility that it is today.
In an effort to meet the community's increasing needs in southwest Bakersfield, Mercy Southwest Hospital opened in 1992 and quickly established a reputation for superior health care.
The "Spirit of Mercy" that that Sisters introduced 100 years ago still lives on in the hearts of Mercy employees as well as donors and community members with special ties to Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield.