In the autumn of 1918, the greatest health crisis in the city’s history struck Portland. Known at the time as the Spanish Influenza, the pandemic of 1918-1919 claimed millions of lives worldwide. The ensuing health emergency quickly overwhelmed the city’s limited hospital capacity. Right Reverend Bishop Louis Sebastian Walsh asked the Sisters of Mercy for volunteers to visit the homes of the sick. The entire order of 60 women volunteered.
The demand for a hospital was so great that Bishop Walsh decided to establish a new one. Following in the footsteps of Mother McAuley, Miss Marion Weeks, the daughter of a distinguished surgeon in town, donated a portion of her property on the intersection of Congress and State Street (681 Congress) for the venture.
On December 12, 1918, the anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Mercy, the new Queen’s Hospital (named in honor of Mary, Mother of God) opened its doors, initially equipped to care for 25 patients.
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