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St. Bernard Hospital’s founding goes back to the turn of the 20th century when Englewood was a hub of commercial activity, second only to Chicago’s downtown Loop.  Today, the Hospital remains an iconic fixture integral to the vitality, health and development of the neighborhood.

Its roots began in the vibrant Catholic parish of St. Bernard’s Church, where leader Father Bernard Murray had his pulse on the growing needs within his community, particularly in healthcare. His search for a partner organization to help launch a hospital led him to an unlikely group north of the border -- the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph in Kingston, Ontario Canada.

So moved with his vision, seven Canadian Catholic sisters volunteered for this mission to aid Fr. Murray, arriving on November 21, 1903. “The morning after their arrival, says the hospital’s historical journal, the sisters began making linens, bedding and bandages: while others began the arduous task of soliciting from door to door for funds to build the hospital.”

This priest and these seven sisters bonded with the community and raised enough money to purchase the land at Harvard Avenue and 64th Street – the St. Bernard Hospital home for 115 years – and achieve their monumental goal. On June 26, 1904, the original main building was dedicated and named in honor of the patron saint of its founder: St. Bernard Hotel Dien (House of God).  The hospital’s first baby, a boy, was born December 25th and named Noel.

Decades of milestones followed, each time expanding, modernizing and shaping new services, all in response to the unique and changing needs enveloping the neighborhoods around St. Bernard.

  • Jun 26, 1904

    Incorporated on

  • February 1906

    The School of Nursing was founded and three years later graduated its first class of 16 lay and 5 sister nurses. In the 69 years of its existence, the School of Nursing graduated over 1500 registered nurses serving Chicagoland and beyond, eventually closing to make way for hospital expansion.

  • 1913

    St. Bernard affiliated with Loyola University Medical School. The medical students came twice a week for clinical experience or to serve as an intern.

  • 1961

    With its capacity burgeoning over the decades, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley helped break ground for a much needed addition. One year later, a south wing named Sacred Heart Pavilion was opened, providing the community’s first Intensive Care Unit, along with contemporary Operating Rooms, a Laboratory, Pharmacy, and more.

  • 1976

    A new patient care wing opened, increasing bed capacity and renovating old-style open wards into private and semi-private rooms.

  • 1986

    The new comprehensive level 2 Emergency Department opened

  • 1980's

    Fundamental changes in healthcare delivery and reimbursement resulted in the closure of hundreds of hospitals, especially those in underprivileged communities. Once one of four neighborhood providers, St. Bernard became the only hospital still open and acting on its original mission, while still innovating for the future.

  • 1994

    A new 40 bed in-patient behavioral health unit opened

  • 1995

    The Lourdene E. Bock Professional Pavilion was constructed, adding two new levels to better accommodate out-patient services and physician offices.

  • 1999

    St. Bernard was one of the first hospitals to implement electronic medical records.

  • 1999

    The hospital championed a critical economic growth initiative: The St. Bernard Housing Development Corporation. Located within view of the main hospital, Bernard Place is an affordable, 77-unit home community. In the Hospital’s view, improving Englewood’s economic well-being was as vital as providing high-quality medical care.

  • 2004

    As recognition of this tremendous endeavor, Bernard Place won a prestigious Chicago Neighborhood Development Award:  The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project.

  • 2007

    The Pediatric Mobile Health Unit was launched, taking basic care, immunizations and education to area children at schools, day care and community events

  • 2008

    St. Bernard’s sponsor organization, Catholic Health International, was incorporated

  • 2010

    A comprehensive Women’s Wellness Clinic opened

  • 2014

    A number of specialty clinics opened to provide even more types of care to the residents of the neighborhood, including service lines in behavioral health, cardiology, orthopedics, podiatry, and more.

  • 2016

    The Hospital completed a comprehensive renovation of the Obstetrics unit, creating private rooms for expectant moms.

  • 2016

    A gleaming new three-story, 70,000 square foot building, the Ambulatory Care Center, opened its doors to bring state-of-the-art medicine to Englewood. The Center houses multiple specialty clinics, an Immediate Care Clinic, a pharmacy, and conference rooms continuing St. Bernard’s legacy of responsiveness to the needs of the community.


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