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St. Mary’s history of compassion and care for the people of Northeast Georgia dates back to 1906 — over 100 years. We have been in continuous operation since 1938 under the sponsorship of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and since 2013, Catholic Health Ministries. Our values and mission flow from their devotion and service to God and humanity.

“We arrived in Athens at the Seaboard Railroad Station on the Silver Comet at 6 a.m., May 13, 1938. The local Pastor, Father Harold Barr, and a committee from the parish of St. Joseph’s welcomed us to our Convent, which was located on Harris Street, ‘The first dirt road on the left.’ Father Barr offered to give us a lift in his car. Mother Columba declined, saying that we might as well begin our journey right then and there on foot in the mud to our new home. This spirit was typical of Mother Columba’s philosophy of facing the cross of the moment and with Christ’s help going forward.”

— Sister Sara, M.S.C., one of the four Sisters who came to Athens in 1938 to reopen and operate St. Mary’s Hospital. From her memoirs, “I remember…”



Drs. Henry Marshall Fullilove and J. Peebles Proctor open St. Mary’s Hospital in a residence on North Milledge Avenue. The hospital is closed in 1937 following their deaths.


At the request of leaders of civic and medical groups in Athens, the Diocese of Georgia buys the hospital and property. Members of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reopen and operate St. Mary’s.


St. Mary’s is accredited by the newly-formed Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals (later renamed the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations). St. Mary’s has been continuously accredited ever since.


St. Mary’s Hospital moves from Milledge Avenue to a larger, more modern building on Baxter Street. New services include an intensive care unit. Edward J. Fechtel Jr., is named as St. Mary’s first lay administrator.


St. Mary’s Home Health Care Services begins, the second hospital-based home health care service in Georgia. Hospice services are added in 1991.


St. Mary’s acquires Highland Hills Village, a retirement community near Bogart, enhancing its continuum of care for people of all ages.


The University of Georgia Athletic Association designates St. Mary’s as its official health care provider.


St. Mary’s celebrates its change in sponsorship from the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and its full membership in Catholic Health East. Thomas E. Fitz, Jr., becomes St. Mary’s second lay President and CEO.


St. Mary’s opens a $40 million renovation and expansion project to establish Athens’ first acute rehabilitation unit, create the region’s first family-friendly Family Birth Center, and expand and improve Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, women’s services, radiology, endoscopy, and the emergency department.


In cooperation with Athens area physicians, St. Mary’s launches Athens’ first hospitalist program.


The Center for Rehabilitative Medicine, a 20-bed unit devoted to the care of patients recovering from neurological disorders and major orthopedic procedures.


St. Mary’s is certified as North Georgia’s first Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.


Jan. 1 – St. Mary’s acquires Saint Joseph at East Georgia in Greensboro from Saint Joseph Health System of Atlanta and changed its name to St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital.


June 12 – St. Mary’s announced its commitment to developing a Graduate Medical Education program – medical residencies – in partnership with the Georgia Health Sciences University/University of Georgia Partnership Medical School.


Aug. 16 – St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital breaks ground for a new replacement hospital on Ga. 44 between West Lake Road and Carey Station Road. Grading begins the week of Oct. 15.


May 1- Trinity Health and Catholic Health East Mark First Day as a Consolidated System.


June 14- The personal care and memory care units at St. Mary’s Highland Hills Village passed rigorous state inspections for assisted living communities, making Highland Hills the first personal care facility in the Athens-Oconee area to successfully upgrade to licensure as an assisted living community.


Nov. 25- St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital opened its modern new facility at 5401 Lake Oconee Parkway.


Jan. 28- The Internal Medicine Residency Program, a joint effort of the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System, received accreditation.


Nov 19- Our parent company changed their name to Trinity Health.


St. Mary’s Acquires Ty Cobb and renames it to St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital.