Early Glimpses of The Sisters of Mercy in the North State
1854-1857: Irish Sisters of Mercy arrive in California.
After a long arduous journey across the Atlantic from Knsale, Ireland, and across rough inland terrain, the Irish Sisters of Mercy arrived in San Francisco in 1854, under the guardianship of Sister Mary Baptist Russell. Three years later, a request came from Bishop Alemany, asking if the Sisters would send a group to the Sacramento Valley, to help the many immigrants moving to the North State Region. The first convent of Mercy was established in Sacramento in 1857. In 1864, the Sisters of Mercy of Omaha made their way to California.
1871-1881: Sisters on the Move: final destination...Red Bluff, California.
In the dead of winter in 1871, seven Omaha Sisters of Mercy began a journey to Yreka, California. By the time the Sisters arrived in Yreka the gold rush boom had turned into a bust and not even the good Sisters could spring life back into Yreka. They were then transferred to Red bluff, where they opened the Academy of Our Lady of Mercy on March 3, 1882. During this period, the Sisters' hospital ministry behan with a generous donation from Elizabeth Kraft, widow of Herbert Kraft, one of the largest landowners in the area.
1906-1916: St. Elizabeth Community Hospital - a landmark of healthcare.
On October 30, 1906, Elizabeth Kraft deeded the Old Duncan Robertson Residence to Bishop Thomas Grace, with three stipulations: First, the property had to be used as a hospital; Second, the hospital had to be operated by the Sisters of Mercy; and, Third, the name of the hospital had to be St. Elizabeth. The building was renovated into one of the best hospitals north of Sacramento between 1906 and 1907, and operated until it was destroyed by fire on September 9, 1913. The determined Sisters worked tirelessly to raise the money needed to rebuild and Red bluff business people helped their efforts. In 1916 a new brick and cement hospital was erected at a cost of $25,000 on the same site (i.e., the northwest corner of Sycamore and Main Streets), and was dedicated on May 28, 1916.
Sr. Mary Columba
1978-1995: St. Elizabeth Community Hospital moves to its new location.
To keep up with the growth of Red Bluff, a larger hospital was constructed two miles south of the original downtwon hospital site in 1978. The hospital features all-private rooms in a 76-bed facility, and provides for the care of medical, surgical, obsterical, pediatric, emergency, and intensive care patients. This fully accredited hospital is staffed by 100 physicians and over 300 skilled professional health care personnel, support staff, and volunteers.
1995-present: St. Elizabeth
becomes part of Catholic Healthcare West, which became Dignity Health in 2012.
Sr. Patricia Mulderrig
In 1995, the Sisters of Mercy, Omaha Regional Community, transferred sponsorship of St. Elizabeth to the Sisters of Mercy, Auburn Regional Community, which led the way for a merger with Mercy Medical Center Redding and Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta, thus creating Mercy Healthcare North.
Mercy Healthcare North is a division of Dignity Health. The organization was founded in 1986 and is now sponsored by seven different congregations of Sisters, including the Sisters of Mercy of Auburn, who have now all merged with the Sisters of the Americas, and are now part of the West/Midwest Region.
To find out how you can help support the works of the Sisters by contacting Mercy Foundation North via e-mail at
or by calling 530.247.3424.