Their story is our story.
The Pioneers – 1905-1918
Though settlement of Oregon’s high desert had begun more than 50 years earlier, the region St. Charles now serves was raw when the first doctors and nurses came to Bend.
Work of the time – logging, ranching and canal building – was dangerous. Men and women suffered horrible injuries far from medical help. Sanitation and immunization were in their infancy.
A handful of physicians and Catholic sisters trained as nurses came to Bend, Oregon to provide care where the need was greatest. They had to be tough and resourceful.
The roots of St. Charles Health System start here. The era saw the area’s first hospital in 1908 – a house whose kitchen served as an operating room. And it saw the arrival in Bend of five young nuns from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Tipton, Indiana.
“They have all the fervor or youth and seem not to be afraid of the pioneer conditions,” said Father Luke Sheehan, about the first Sisters of St. Joseph in Bend.