|Via Christi Celebration
During the first week of October every year, Via Christi holds a Via Christi Celebration, honoring the creation of the health ministry.
Via Christi Health
On Oct. 1, 1995, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita brought together their healing ministries -- each with its own rich history -- to form Via Christi Health.
Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother
In 1889, Mother M. Frances Streitel, foundress of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, dispatched members of her newly formed congregation to America to solicit funds and establish ministries. The Sisters learned of St. Francis Hospital, a struggling facility in Wichita, Kansas. The Sisters took charge of St. Francis Hospital in 1890, and, within a decade, had turned the hospital toward prosperity.
The same year, the Sisters established a health care ministry in Wisconsin and just over a quarter century later established a health care ministry in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The congregation has continued its growth in health care and education, establishing in the United States and in several foreign countries.
When the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita first arrived in Kansas in 1883, education was top priority. Twenty years later, they moved into health care, opening a hospital in Pittsburg, Kansas, to care primarily for immigrant miners and their impoverished families. In 1925, the congregation assumed responsibility for Wichita Hospital (now Via Christi Hospital on Harry). Throughout the 20th century, the Sisters expanded their health care ministry, sponsoring both hospitals and senior communities.
In 2007, the sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita joined with six other Sisters of St. Joseph communities to form the Congregation of St. Joseph.
On April 1, 2013, Via Christi Health became a full member of Ascension Health, the largest Catholic and largest nonprofit health system in the nation.