St. Mary’s School of Nursing opens in Wausau

Front entrance of St. Mary’s Hospital and School of Nursing

Fifteen years after taking ownership of Riverside Hospital in Wausau, Wis., Sisters of the Divine Savior proposed a plan to expand the facility they renamed St. Mary’s. Medical equipment was outdated and the hospital could no longer accommodate the volume of patients seeking care. The new addition completed in September 1921, increased St. Mary’s Hospital capacity to 150 beds.

Along with the hospital expansion, the sisters proposed plans for a nursing school. St. Mary’s School of Nursing opened in 1923 under the direction of Gisella Haas, a lay woman. Ten Salvatorian Sisters became St. Mary’s first nursing alumnae, Class of 1925.

Running the hospital and nursing school became especially challenging due to a second hospital and nursing school that opened in 1922. Apprehension about receiving care from German Catholic Sisters prompted wealthy Protestant families of Wausau to build Memorial Hospital. Although courteous toward one another, the two hospitals and their respective nursing schools struggled under the division of community funding and duplication of services within the same geographic area.

North wing of St. Mary’s Hospital and School of Nursing

Notable  St. Mary’s Alumnae

Sister Rachel Wallace, SDS, Class of 1957

Sr. Rachel’s letter appeared in St. Mary’s newsletter, The Lamplighter.

Connie Slewitzke, Class of 1952

Our 125 Year Celebration

As we look back on our 125th anniversary of coming to the USA, we invite you to reminisce with us. We've launched all 5 time lines with historical milestones and stories that bring to life the experiences of our sisters who came before us.

Era 1: 1895-1920
Responding to Immigrant Needs

The missionary response of hearty immigrant women religious characterizes the first 25 years of Salvatorian Sisters’ presence in the United States ...

Era 2: 1920-1950
Expanding in an “American” Church

By 1920, life for a Salvatorian Sister in the USA was radically different than it had been 25 years earlier. World War I ....

Era 3: 1950-1970
Embracing Renewal

Bob Dylan’s 1964 classic, The Times They Are A Changing, captures the high energy of this era.  Change was afoot both outside and inside the Salvatorian convent walls...

Era 4: 1970-2000
Building Collaboration

Events of the mid-1960s renewed the collaborative energy that had always characterized Salvatorian life. Cloistered living ...

Era 5: 2000-2020
Searching for New Footing in a Changing World

When the new millennium arrived on January 1, 2000, Salvatorian Sisters were already five years into our second century on USA soil.  Our ...