Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Gallery : The Public Faces of Religion
The Public Faces of Religion
Defining Territories
Providing Services
The Business of Religion
Religion and Society
Public Gatherings
Church and State
Providing Services

Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Hospital

Nuns from the Sisters of Mercy first came to Chicago at Bishop William Quarter's invitation in 1846, and they quickly became important providers of social services in the growing city. The Sisters established a school and an orphanage, and they cared for victims of cholera epidemics. The doctors who founded the city's first hospital turned over its administration to the Sisters, who successfully kept Mercy Hospital running through several perilous relocations. Life of Mary Monholland, 1894.

See also: Epidemics; Hospitals; Orphanages; Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

Chicago Social Service Directory, 1933

Many institutions providing a wide variety of social services had a denominational and often ethnic identity. They provided schooling for young children, care for the elderly, and respectable housing for young adults new to the city. Government increasingly provided social services in the 1930s as the burdens of the Great Depression exhausted the resources of small private agencies, religious and secular. Chicago Social Service Directory, 1933.

See also: Housing for the Elderly; Religious Settlements; United Charities; Young Men's Christian Association; Young Women's Christian Association