Mission, values and history

Our mission and values

Our Mission – our core reason for being – has created and fostered a culture of innovation, compassion, and respect at St. Mary’s for more than 90 years.

We remain committed to our Mission – to continue the healing ministry of Christ, consistent with our Catholic traditions and values.

Our values:

We believe in the sacredness of life and the dignity of all people.

We are committed to:

  • Heal, comfort, teach and promote health for the whole person – body, mind and spirit;
  • Encouraging independence and self-responsibility;
  • Serving those in need especially the poor and vulnerable;
  • Being a responsible corporate citizen and neighbour;
  • Use our resources wisely;
  • Excellence, innovation and compassion in all we do;
  • Promoting an organizational spirit by encouraging participation, responsibility, continued learning and mutual respect

In 2011, St. Mary’s introduced a Patient Declaration of Values to ensure that we work collaboratively with patients and families to deliver the best experience possible. This declaration was developed with input from our patients and community, and in collaboration with our hospital and community care partners in Waterloo Wellington.

 Patient Declaration of Values:

As a patient of the hospital or client of the CCAC, I believe I have a right to the best care the organization can deliver.

As a patient or client, I value:

  • That I am provided with high-quality care and services that focus on my whole being – mind, body and spirit.
  • That my family and I are treated with respect, compassion and understanding of our unique needs.
  • That I am an active partner in my health care and as such am given reliable and current information so I can make informed decisions.
  • That I can express my appreciation or concerns about my health care experience knowing that my health care providers are actively listening.

Our history

Recently, St. Mary’s General Hospital celebrated its 90th anniversary. The video below reflects on the past 90 years, where we are today, and how we will continue to serve our community into the future.

Although our origins stretch back to 1916, St. Mary’s General Hospital opened its doors on October 21, 1924. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton , St. Mary’s Mission is rooted in the values demonstrated by the Sisters – to serve those in need with compassion, dignity, and respect.

Watch Part 1:

Watch Part 2:

Under the direction of the first St. Mary’s Superintendent, Sister M. Bonaventure Halloran, the first patients were welcomed and cared for by 12 volunteer Sisters, 14 student nurses and about 12 local physicians. Among St. Mary’s first doctors were Dr. H.M. Lackner (who performed the first surgery at St. Mary’s), Dr. C.R. McCarville, Dr. L.J. Crowley, Dr. Hartley Henderson, Dr. H.H. Huehnergard, and Dr. H.J. McNally. The most common conditions treated were fractures, appendicitis and tonsillitis.

During its first year, the staff cared for 380 patients, delivered 69 babies, performed 429 operations and treated 64 emergency cases. By 1929, salaries and wages totaled $11,268.16, and the daily cost per patient was $2.19. The Hospital now boasts a staff of about 1,200 full and part-time employees, and an annual budget of approximately $130 million.

St. Mary’s School of Nursing was founded in 1924, and its first class graduated in 1927. A new nurses’ residence and school building was opened in 1931 behind the Hospital. Throughout the history of the St. Mary’s School of Nursing, the training program was constantly revised to provide a balance between classroom education and bedside nursing, and to incorporate new discoveries in medicine and techniques in nursing.

St. Mary’s many successes could not have been accomplished without the support of many volunteers. William J. Motz was the first Chairman of the Advisory Board, which was established in 1927. Today, his grandchildren, former owners of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, continue to carry out the same dedicated service which he began.

St. Mary’s underwent a major expansion and transformation between 1959 and 1962, with substantial community and government support. The addition of a 10-storey tower increased St. Mary’s ability to care for a rapidly growing and expanding community. During that time, the hospital’s name was changed from St. Mary’s Hospital to “St. Mary’s General Hospital” to reflect its ecumenical mission to serve everyone, regardless of religious affiliation.

In 1989, after a rationalization process with the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital (now Grand River Hospital), St. Mary’s changed its role from being an “all purpose” hospital to a specialist in adult medicine and surgery.

St. Mary’s General Hospital is governed by a Board of Trustees of local citizens who have autonomy to operate the hospital in a manner that best serves the health care needs of the local population, while respecting the values and teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, as they relate to the sanctity of life and other ethical issues.

In 1999, St. Mary’s General Hospital was named as the site for the new Regional Cardiac Care Centre. Since that time, St. Mary’s Cardiac Program has developed a reputation of excellence, providing diagnostic, interventional and surgical programs.

St. Mary’s grew again in 2008, with the opening of 100,000 square feet of new clinical and support service space, including state-of-the-art operating suites and enhanced outpatient care areas.

In 2013, St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre celebrated its 10th anniversary, and in 2014, St. Mary’s also celebrated 10 years of Thoracic and Respiratory Excellence.

For 90 years, the Sisters of St. Joseph have maintained their tradition of ministering to the sick – an honor which dates back over two and a half centuries. The staff, physicians, and volunteers at St. Mary’s strive to carry forward the legacy of the Sisters by providing the finest possible health care. Their caring skills and insistence on excellence are a testament to the leadership and vision of the Sisters, and it is a privilege to continue their legacy by living the Mission and Values they held in such high regard.