Our History

90+ Years of Medical Care in Chicago

Built in 1923, Loretto was first known as Austin Hospital, a proprietary institution owned by a group of physicians from the west side of Chicago. It was 15 years later, at the request of the late George Cardinal Mundelein, the Sisters of Saint Casimir purchased the property on December 10, 1938, the day of the Feast Day of our Lady of Loretto. After nearly one month of intense renovation and repairs, Loretto Hospital opened its doors to the public on January 16, 1939 under the administration of the Sisters of Saint Casimir.

Exterior image of Loretto Hospital

In 1969, the Sisters of Saint Casimir added a new $6 million wing to the hospital. The new wing consisted of an eight-story bed wing and a new diagnostic and treatment building. In addition, a new Family Health Center (currently known as Loretto Hospital’s Outpatient Center Clinic) was opened in the hospital to bring primary care physicians to the residents in the Austin community. In its first five months of operation, the center provided services to more than 1,800 patients. In recent years, the clinic has expanded its services to residents in Cicero, Lawndale and surrounding communities.

Finding Financial Footing

The Sisters of Saint Casimir continued to manage the hospital until they resigned in 1991, turning the hospital over to an appointed board of directors and a management company, today known as the Renaissance Management Company (RMC). It was under their leadership that Loretto Hospital Foundation (LHF) was established as the primary fundraising entity for the hospital. LHF’s primary goal is to raise funds to help promote the hospital’s mission of providing quality patient centered care and promoting wellness and education. Since its inception, the LHF has purchased clinical equipment, transportation vehicles, and has supported various health education and screening programs that are available to the Austin Community and surrounding communities.

The year 2009 would bring more hope for Loretto Hospital when local Austin community leaders – with a vested interest in the Loretto Hospital, stepped forward to help. In September 2009, Loretto unveiled the newly constructed Kimberly A. Lightford Emergency Department, named after State Senator Kimberly Lightford (4th District). The emergency department was funded by $8.2 million in capital improvement funds received from Lightford, and features 14 private exam rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology.

Rapidly Growing Services

Today, The Loretto Hospital is the largest non-governmental employer in the Austin community with more than 600 employees; and serves more than 33,000 patients annually. And for the first time in its history, Loretto Hospital opened a new retail pharmacy that is now available to its patients and the community. In conjunction with the new outpatient pharmacy, Loretto Hospital also renovated its inpatient pharmacy to include a state-of-the-art workspace and computer system to better serve patients while they are in the hospital’s care. Additional new offerings include: a Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (also known as the cardiac cath lab); state-of-the art diagnostic imaging suite; and new doctors and expanded medical services and programs.