St. Mary’s School of Nursing opens in Wausau

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

September 1, 1923 – 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Sisters of the Divine Savior proposed a plan to expand the facility they renamed St. Mary’s. Medical equipment was outdated and the hospital could no longer accommodate the volume of patients seeking care.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


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