One priest’s determination sets the stage for a Catholic hospital in Central Oregon. Father Luke Sheehan came to Bend in 1910, one of two Capuchin friars sent by their order to assess the opportunities for establishing missions in the less settled Eastern Oregon. He saw the need for a medical facility that could handle major medical emergencies given the railroad construction risks and hazardous work at the area sawmills, ranches and forests. In 1912, Father Luke appealed to the superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Tipton, Indiana, Mother Gertrude, whom he met on a ship bound for Ireland in 1908. She promised to send nuns to Bend, but died of cancer in 1916. In 1917, Sheehan traveled to Tipton to meet with the new Mother Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Mother Xavier. She agreed to honor Mother Gertrude’s promise and five Catholic sisters arrived in Bend on Dec. 28, 1917.
February 13, 1917