In 1893, three Little Company of Mary Sisters, Mother Patrick, Sister Veronica, and Sister Philomena, traveled to Chicago at the request of Chicago civic leader Charles Mair. It was a thank you for the treatment his unwell wife received from the Little Company of Mary Sisters in Rome. He constructed them a convent at 4130 S Indiana Ave. Mr. Mair even made their chapel’s stained glass windows.
The Sisters finally sold the convent to buy a bigger home. The Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church is presently located in the former convent chapel. A new set of stained glass windows for the Hospital. Seven of the windows are in our Heritage Corridor, which dates from 1930. The remaining windows will adorn the Regional Cancer Center.
Early Sisters visited sick people’s homes on Chicago’s south side, giving nursing care, spiritual support, and other services. The Sisters soon discovered that they couldn’t care for everyone. They were limited by lack of equipment, location, and travel. A hospital was needed…but where? Their faith in divine providence and sense of danger were put to the test when they bought land in Evergreen Park, IL. And they couldn’t afford anything else in the depths of the Depression.
On January 19, 1930, a four-story, 150-bed hospital opened on the remote land. When the hospital opened, it was staffed by 12 physicians and 12 Little Company of Mary Sisters. Little Company of Mary has welcomed almost 200,000 infants since its inception in 1930, giving it the moniker “Baby Hospital.” In 1950, Drs. Richard Lawler, James West, and Raymond Murphy performed the world’s first human organ transplant. For the next four and a half years, the patient had a good quality of life. “Knife to the Heart,” a four-hour documentary on the history of transplant surgery, aired on the British Broadcasting System in 1996.