Mercy was founded in gratitude.
When a young Irish woman named Catherine McAuley received an unexpected inheritance, she gave thanks to God and her benefactor. Catherine used those funds to open the first house of Mercy, serving impoverished women and children in Dublin. Catherine founded the Sisters of Mercy, a new kind of religious community – one that lived outside cloistered walls. The sisters were known as the “walking Sisters” because of their willingness to go out and serve the community.
In early 1875, the Sisters of Mercy came to the South Texas town of Indianola New Orleans. Only a few months later, a severe tropical storm destroyed the town, and the Sisters were forced to relocate to Refugio, Texas.
In 1894, the motherhouse of the Sisters of Mercy of South Texas was moved from Refugio to Laredo, under the leadership of Mother Mary Clare O’Connell. Along with another Sister and a postulant, she established Laredo’s first hospital, a 12-bed facility, which Mercy managed until 2003. The Sisters also taught at many schools and established two nursing schools.
Today, the Sisters of Mercy run Mercy Ministries of Laredo. This community outreach ministry includes a primary care clinic, domestic violence shelter and education center. Community outreach workers – known in Spanish as “promotoras” – bring follow-up care to the community’s poorest citizens who live along the US-Mexico border and have little or no access to transportation.
Mercy Ministries of Laredo provides primary healthcare services to the neediest residents of Webb County who are looking for a doctor. Mercy’s doctors focus on prevention and control of chronic illness through education and patient compliance. Patients are coached to become advocates of their own health. Mercy is not a free clinic. Patients make co-pays for their services based on the outcome of their financial screening. Ninety nine percent of our patients are uninsured and fall below federal poverty guidelines. We believe in providing mercy to all.
Advocacy – for the needs of the medically underserved
Adult Dental Care – for our existing client base, basic services including cleanings, fillings and simple dental extractions
Cancer Program – cancer screenings, physician visits, and medications to underserved cancer patients in collaboration with a local oncologist
Diabetes Center – routine medical exams, medication counseling and diabetes education classes, eye and foot exams, glucose testing/supplies, nutrition/physical education
General Medicine – chronic illnesses, acute episodes
Health Education – disease-specific preventive health guidelines that allow people to become proactively involved in their own care
Medication Assistance – low-cost or free medications to those qualified; focus on those with chronic illnesses. Assist patients in applying for free medication.
Mobile Clinic –mobile medical services for inner city, rural and colonia sites
Outreach and Education – Outreach and case management program utilizing promotor(a) system (certified community health workers) to relay information about individual health, preventive measures, and disease management
Social Services – social workers and case managers assist patients with referrals and/or follow-up
Women’s Health Services – breast/cervical cancer screenings, dysplasia, GYN referrals
Mercy patients and their families often want to say “thanks” in some special way for the exceptional care they received. Our Grateful Families program is one way to express gratitude while helping share the gift of healing with others. Learn more.
Mercy Named Top Five Health Care System in the U.S. by Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems three years in a row. Read more.