Historical Milestones

  • 1650 – The Sisters of St. Joseph are founded by Father Jean-Pierre Medaille, a Jesuit priest in LePuy, France. He has the vision to organize an order of religious women who, rather than remaining safely cloistered in a convent, would venture out into the community, seek out “the dear neighbor” and minister to their needs. In 1836, the first six missionaries travel to St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1912 – Mother Bernard Gosselin and a group of six Sisters travel from La Grange, Illinois to Eureka, California to establish a school. Mother Bernard and the Sisters arrive with 60 cents.
  • 1918 – The great influenza epidemic causes the Sisters to adapt their ministry efforts to care for the sick in their homes. They realize immediately that the small community desperately needs a hospital.
  • 1920 – The Sisters are asked to re-open an abandoned 28-bed hospital. Soon, St. Joseph Hospital opens and the Sisters begin their healthcare ministry in Eureka, California.
  • 1931 – After opening St. Joseph Hospital in Orange in 1929, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange purchase Fullerton General Hospital for $23,000.
  • September 1, 1953 – The Sisters close Fullerton General Hospital. The limitations of the hospital make it impossible for the Sisters to offer high quality care—and they refuse to settle for anything less.
  • 1953 – A group of physicians, led by Ramiro Fernandez, M.D., meet with Mother Felix to see about building a new hospital. It is Dr. Fernandez’s wife, Emily, who suggests the name St. Jude, the patron saint of desperate situations.
  • November 24, 1953 – The hilltop property that St. Jude would call home is blessed and dedicated. A businessman, Miles Sharkey, donated the land with the stipulation that it is used to build a hospital. Of the 17 acres acquired by the Sisters, the first 7.5 acres is deeded to them for $10.
  • May 11, 1957 – Over 2000 people stood proudly in the rain to see the opening of the new St. Jude Hospital. In the words of one reporter, “This is the day we have been waiting for. All of Orange County rejoices over the completion of the ultramodern St. Jude Hospital.” At the helm of the new hospital was Sister Jane Frances Power, CSJ, who served as St. Jude’s president for the first 30 years.
  • 1962 – St. Jude opens a new 125-bed wing, doubling the capacity of the hospital.
  • 1964 – A new Cardiac Care Unit places St. Jude among the first hospitals in the nation to offer this specialized service. A young surgeon, Paul Ovando, M.D., implants the county’s first cardiac pacemaker at St. Jude.
  • November 25, 1971 – St. Jude opens the county’s first inpatient rehabilitation unit, and becomes known as St. Jude Hospital and Rehabilitation Center.
  • 1987 – North Orange County’s first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit opens at St. Jude and is staffed by board certified neonatologists 24 hours a day.
  • 1988 – St. Jude creates Orange County’s first mobile health clinic to meet the medical needs of the uninsured.
  • 1990 – Reflecting the growth and comprehensive services offered at St. Jude, the hospital is renamed St. Jude Medical Center.
  • 1997 – St. Jude opens north Orange County’s first dedicated breast center, the St. Jude Breast Center, offering the newest technology in diagnosis and imaging.
  • 1998 – The Virginia K. Crosson Cancer Center is established with a gift from the Crosson Family and additional community support, creating one of Southern California’s finest cancer treatment programs.
  • 1999 – St. Jude launches Southern California’s first 12-lead EKG program. Working with paramedics, St. Jude successfully treats heart attack patients even before they get to the hospital—the results are remarkable.
  • 2003 – With a generous gift from the Knott Family, St. Jude opens the Knott Family Endoscopy Center, offering the latest diagnostic and treatment options for gastrointestinal diseases.
  • 2003 – St. Jude becomes the first hospital in Orange County to use drug-eluting stents, a revolutionary improvement in the treatment of narrowed and diseased coronary arteries.
  • 2005 – The St. Jude Medical Plaza opens its doors and calling the medical plaza home are the Virginia K. Crosson Cancer Center, Kathryn T. McCarty Breast Center, Fred A. Jordan Family Radiation Oncology Center, St. Jude Heritage Medical Group, and the Ann G. Fetters Diagnostic Imaging Center.
  • 2006 – The St. Jude Neighborhood Health Center, built in Fullerton, offers comprehensive medical care to low-income families. Services at the $2.6 million facility also include dental treatment, vision care, counseling, health education, and a fitness room.
  • 2007 – The 89,000 square foot facility, St. Jude Centers for Rehabilitation and Wellness in Brea opens and offers all of our outpatient rehabilitation programs—from stroke recovery to chronic pain management—in one location, along with three indoor therapy pools and fitness programs.
  • 2009 – The Southwest Patient Tower, a $125 million, five-story facility opens to meet the community’s growing medical needs. Services include: expanded Emergency Services, Critical Care Unit, Maternity Services and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as well as Cardiac and Vascular Catheterization Labs.
  • 2010 – The St. Jude Medical Plaza expansion opens, adding 89,000 square feet to the existing building. This facility offers expanded imaging and laboratory services, the new St. Jude Plaza Surgery Center featuring iSuites and two floors dedicated to the specialty care of St. Jude Heritage Medical Group physicians.
  • 2014– The Northwest Tower opens and offers the state’s most advanced surgical environment, including leading-edge neurosurgery, cardiac surgery and robotic surgery capabilities.

  • 2017 – St. Jude earns national honors and awards in areas from orthopedics and cancer treatment, to stroke care and robotic surgery, and is named one of Southern California’s top hospitals by U.S. News and World Report

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