In June of 1947, seven brave women, Sisters of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, arrived in Southern Nevada to assume operations of a small hospital in Henderson. The facility was closing as part of the drawdown at the end of World War II. The Sisters would rename it Rose de Lima Hospital and they would forever change health care in southern Nevada.

To mark this tremendous milestone, Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican has launched a 75-day celebration to recount the hospital’s rich history and count down to the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the original seven Sisters on June 27.

“Health care has advanced by leaps and bounds in the decades since the Sisters took over this hospital,” said Thomas Burns, President and CEO of the Dignity Health Rose de Lima Campus. “but the foundation of everything we do still springs from the compassionate care that was the hallmark of the Sisters’ ministry so long ago. St. Rose Dominican has grown to encompass three acute care hospitals and more. As we approach the 75th anniversary of their arrival in our valley we want to remember and honor the seven Sisters who left such a lasting legacy for us to follow.”

For 75 days leading up to the June 27 anniversary, St. Rose hospitals will recount the history of the hospital in stories, photos, documents, and videos. Friends near and far are invited to follow along as stories and photos from the hospital’s earliest days will be conveyed in daily posts on Instagram and Facebook – Rose de Lima, Siena, and San Martin #StRose75 – and on our special 75th Anniversary web page: StRoseHospitals.org/75.

Among the many highlights:

-How Father Moran, Bishop Gorman, Mother Superior Mary Gerald Barry secured the keys to Basic Magnesium Hospital for $1.

-The road trip story of Seven Adrian Dominican Sisters in full habits traveling by train to the Nevada desert during a summer that still holds the record for 100-degree heat.

-How Sister Felicia put an end to hospital segregation in 1947.

-How a casino Spin Doctor and Sister Angelita turned an old family recipe into the hospital’s first major expansion.

-Why the cross atop the Siena Hospital bell tower is made of titanium.

“It is really an incredible tale,” said Sister Katie McGrail, O.P, an Adrian Dominican Sister who has worked in southern Nevada at the St. Rose Dominican hospitals for more than 12 years. “To think that seven women committed to a cause 75 years ago and what it has become today. It’s a wonderful thing to celebrate.”

Following the example of the original seven Sisters, members of the Adrian Dominican Congregation have been a constant presence in St. Rose Dominican hospitals through the years, serving in many different positions from Nurses and Administrators, to Records Managers, Pharmacy positions and even Maintenance.

In total, more than 84 Adrian Dominican Sisters have worked with St. Rose over the past 75 years. Together they have contributed a total of more than 500 years of service in our community.

St. Rose Dominican remains Nevada’s only non-profit hospital group, but the small Henderson hospital has grown to encompass Rose de Lima, Siena, and San Martin Hospitals as Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, employing almost 4,000 compassionate health care professionals.

Mr. Burns added, “I’ve found that most people who have lived here in the valley for any time at all have a connection to one of our hospitals. They may have been born here, welcomed one of their children here, or at some point we cared for a member of their family. It’s heartening to know that as our community has grown, St. Rose has grown, and we have become a part of so many families.”

The Rose de Lima Campus has remained in continuous operation since the Sisters’ 1947 arrival. Mr. Burns works from an office in the original building built in 1943. Today much of the Rose de Lima Campus has been modernized. It now features a 24-hour Emergency Department, a small in-patient hospital, a Community Wellness Center, and the Dignity Health Nevada Education Center where medical staff receive ongoing training and maintain certifications. Rose de Lima is also home to more than 100 Dignity Health Nevada administration and support professionals.

As part of its 75th Anniversary celebration, the St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation will hold its annual Gala, southern Nevada’s longest-running charitable gala, on Saturday, April 23, at Caesars Palace. Social Media chapters of the hospital’s history will post daily through June 27.

1947 in Perspective:

-Average Cost of new house $6,600.00
-Average wages per year $2,850.00
-Cost of a gallon of gas 15 cents
-Average Cost New Car $1,300.00
-Loaf of Bread 13 cents
-United States Postage Stamp 3 cents

Major Events in 1947

April 15 – Jackie Robinson starts at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers and becomes the first African American to play in Major League Baseball.

May 2 – The Christmas movie classic Miracle on 34th Street is first shown in theaters.

May 22 – The Cold War begins (In an effort to fight the spread of Communism, President Harry S. Truman signs an Act of Congress that implements the Truman Doctrine.)

June 25 – The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is published for the first time, two years after the writer’s death in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

July 8 – Roswell UFO incident: A supposedly downed extraterrestrial spacecraft is reportedly found near Roswell, New Mexico.

July 26 – The National Security Act of 1947 is signed, creating the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Council.

October 14 – U.S. Air Force test pilot Captain Chuck Yeager is first to break the sound barrier, flying the Bell X-1 rocket plane faster than the speed of sound.

November 2 – Howard Hughes pilots the Spruce Goose on its one and only flight. The flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules in Long Beach, CA, lasted only 8 minutes.

November 6 – The television program Meet the Press makes its debut on the NBC-TV network.

November 20 – U.K Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II), marries The Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in London.

November 29 – The United Nations votes in favor of the creation of an Independent Jewish State of Israel.

About Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican:

Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican is celebrating 75 years in southern Nevada, marking the anniversary of the arrival of the seven Adrian Dominican Sisters who founded Rose de Lima Hospital on June 27, 1947. As the community’s only not-for-profit, faith-based health system, St. Rose Dominican has been guided by the vision and core values of the Adrian Dominican Sisters in all its endeavors. As the Henderson and Las Vegas communities grow, the St. Rose Dominican health system and its nearly 4,000 employees will continue the Sisters’ mission of serving people in need. Dignity Health currently operates three acute care hospitals in southern Nevada and is a member of the multi-state Dignity Health network of nearly 10,000 physicians, 60,000 employees, 41 acute care hospitals, and 400-plus care centers, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, imaging centers, and primary care clinics. For more information, visit our website at http://www.strosehospitals.org.