In July 2023, the patients and caregivers at St. Mary’s Medical Center transferred from the legacy building to the new center, a block further down the hill. Since then, the legacy hospital has been closed, emptied of anything that can be repurposed (with considerable supplies going to Africa for distribution to rural clinics), and readied for demolition this summer.

On May 20, 2024, current and former members of the leadership teams were invited to a commemorative service in the legacy St. Mary’s building, where they reminisced and honored the thousands of caregivers and leaders who cared for the sick there over 125 years. Fifteen Sisters were present to share this bitter-sweet moment. There was much laughter and memory-sharing among former coworkers who came for one last visit to their beloved hospital.

The lobby was cleared and made welcoming with flowers and colored spotlights. Bret Reuter, Mission Integration Director, welcomed all. Dr. David Herman, Essentia Health CEO, recalled the transfer of services from the legacy to the gleaming new medical center last summer and marveled at how smoothly it went, thanks to detailed planning and the work of many employees and volunteers. Sister Kathleen Hofer, former CEO, summarized St. Mary’s long history on this site from 1898 to 2023. Chaplains Rev. Stacey Jutila and Sister Sue Fortier shared their stories of their spiritual care for patients, families, and caregivers.

Sister Beverly Raway brought the official program to a close, remembering her years as nurse and then nursing instructor, and offering a prayer for all past and present who worked here. It was good to come together one more time and say a last farewell to a building that contains so many stories.

Left to right: Sisters at Legacy Commemoration; Bret Reuter welcomes the guests; CEO Dr. Dave Herman addresses participants.

Sister Kathleen Hofer, former CEO, shares the Medical Center’s long history; Chaplains Rev. Stacey Jutila and Sister Sue Fortier share their memories

Left and center: Former members of leadership listen to presenters and share their own memories.

Right, Sister Clare Marie Trettel, Sister Kathleen Hofer, Alan Hodnik, and Sister Beverly Raway