“Before and above all things, care must be taken of the sick, that they be served in very truth as Christ is served.”
― St. Benedict, The Rule of St. Benedict
The spirit of the Benedictines is carried on through Essentia's many Catholic-sponsored facilities. St. Benedict's words, spoken centuries ago, live on through the care provided by Essentia's Catholic-sponsored facilities under the guidance of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery.
In the late 1880s, Duluth, Minn., was a booming community at the edge of the wilderness. Shipping, mining and logging were operations expanding rapidly. In February 1888, Mother Scholastica Kerst and her blood sister, Sister Alexia Kerst, led a small group of Benedictine Sisters from St. Joseph, Minn., to Duluth to establish St. Mary's Hospital.
These innovative and resourceful Sisters began one of the first health maintenance organizations, ensuring revenue for their ministry by offering access to Benedictine hospitals for the price of an annual ticket. Sr. Amata Mackett, known as the Sister Lumberjack, traveled across northern Minnesota offering the tickets to lumberjacks and later miners. The funds not only supported the existing ministry, but grew and expanded health care services across the region.
In 1892, Mother Scholastica established a new Duluth Benedictine community that assumed sponsorship of St. Mary's Hospital. From there, the Benedictine Sisters launched a health care ministry that built hospitals across northern Minnesota and sponsored new facilities in other area communities.
Today, the founding Sisters' work lives on, thanks to the physicians and staff providing care in these Catholic facilities:
**St. Francis Regional Medical Center is jointly owned by the Essentia Health Critical Access Group, Allina Health and Park Nicollet Health Services. Its Catholic identity is sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of the St. Scholastica Monastery through Essentia Health.
Our Catholic Mission
Throughout Essentia Health we are called to make a healthy difference in people’s lives.
As a member of the Essentia Health family, our mission as a Catholic, Benedictine sponsored facility is to promote Christ’s ministry of holistic healing for all human life with special concern for the poor and powerless.
Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services
Download the Ethical and Medical Directives (PDF)
The Benedictine Health System is eager to share its prayers with you. The prayers can be used in a variety of settings, such as opening and closing a meeting or blessing a meal. You'll also find personal prayers of praise and gratitude as well as prayers for healing, reconciliation and intercession in life's challenges.