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Our History

​​​It was during a smallpox epidemic in 1872 that Mother Mary Odilia Berger and four companion sisters arrived in St. Louis. Their mission was clear — to serve God by tending to the poor and sick. The day after they arrived from their native Germany, the sisters began nursing to St. Louis's smallpox victims.

Forty years later, eight sisters followed Mother Odilia's mission when they arrived in Wisconsin at the request of several Madison physicians and local clergy to establish a "Sister's Hospital." Through the vision and hard work of the sisters, four physicians and four nurses, SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital - Madison opened its doors Sept. 22, 1912.

Opening almost a century later, in Jan. 2012, SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital - Janesville remains faithful to the original mission of the founding Franciscan Sisters of Mary - to provide compassionate and expert health care to every patient who enters its doors.