Three Presentation Sisters came to the Aberdeen area in the late 19th century to educate the children living here. At the turn of the century, our sisters began caring for victims of diphtheria and typhoid epidemics in their homes and in their schools. In 1901, our sisters opened our first health care facility, (Avera) St. Luke’s Hospital, in Aberdeen.

In heeding the Gospel call to care for the sick, our health care ministry continued to grow and we soon opened several other hospitals in the region. In 1978, we formed the Presentation Health System to combine the strengths of our individual institutions.

In September 2000, the Presentation Sisters and the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery announced that we would cosponsor a health care system called Avera Health. In this collaborative effort, we strive to model effective collaboration by integrating our respective health ministries in order to strengthen our ability to serve the people of the region.

What does health care sponsorship mean?

The Presentation Sisters often refer to the employees of the Avera Health system as “our heart and hands.” This is because the lay women and men are truly partners in ministry with the Presentation and Benedictine Sisters.

In September 2000, when the Presentation Sisters joined their Presentation Health System with the health system sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton, each group realized that together they could provide a better system for health care in the region. Thus, Avera Health was born.

As sponsors, the Sisters bring their mission and values to Avera, and nurture those values in Avera caregivers through orientation and education programs and through retaining the authority of governance through Presentation and Benedictine Sister System Members. The Sister-sponsored hospitals and nursing homes are separately incorporated not-for-profit legal entities. The Sisters do not receive any financial benefits from their sponsored institutions or from Avera, and they do not receive free care at Avera hospitals or nursing homes.

Many sisters are active in the Avera ministry as board members, mission directors, pastoral care workers and volunteers.

Avera Health Facilities

Sisters’ Health Care Timeline

1901 – (Avera) St. Luke’s Hospital
             Aberdeen, S.D.

1906 – St. Joseph Hospital
              Mitchell, S.D.

1910Holy Rosary Hospital
              Miles City, Mont.

1911 – (Avera) McKennan Hospital
            Sioux Falls, S.D.

1991 – Former St. Joseph Hospital, Mitchell, joined with Methodist Hospital to create (Avera) Queen of Peace Hospital

1997 – Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System took over sponsorship of Holy Rosary Hospital, Miles City

2000 – Presentation and Benedictine Sisters join health care ministries to form Avera Health System