OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital celebrates 140 years of service in Delta County


  • 140th Anniversary Celebration

In February 1884, the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis answered the call to serve the health needs of the Upper Peninsula. 140 years later, the Mission continues as OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital prepares to celebrate its anniversary in Delta County.

Shortly after the founding of the Delta County Hospital in 1883, the staff realized they needed help to care for the health needs of its community. The mayor and attending physician reached out to the pastor at St. Joseph Church in Escanaba, Reverend Eugene Buttermann. Thanks to a connection Fr. Buttermann had with Sister Barbara Markford, a group of Sisters from Peoria, Illinois, agreed to come to the U.P. to nurse the sick.

Even though they had never ventured on a Mission as far north as Escanaba, the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis answered the call to meet the nursing needs of the Escanaba community. They traveled through cold and snow, arriving on February 12, 1884, to sign an agreement and begin caring for patients.

Now, 140 years later, the Sisters’ legacy of serving with the greatest care and love in Delta County and beyond is stronger than ever. Beginning February 12, 2024, the Mission Partners (employees) at OSF St. Francis will celebrate the 140th Anniversary and want to share this milestone with the community. The public is invited and encouraged to attend any of the following events taking place throughout the week, which include:

  • February 13 – 10 a.m. – Noon - Free blood sugar and cholesterol screening at YMCA as part of American Heart Month. No appointment, fasting or membership needed.
  • February 15 – 4:30 p.m. - Mass with Bishop Doerfler at St. Joseph & St. Patrick Catholic Church, with food and fellowship to follow from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall (located in the basement). All are welcome to attend Mass and/or the fellowship.
  • February 16 – 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Blood drive at YMCA, show your love for OSF St. Francis Hospital’s patients and donate blood, call 1-800-280-4102 to schedule or walk-in.

“The Mission and Vision of our Sisters to serve all persons, no matter their means, with the greatest care and love continues to be affirmed,” said Kelly Jefferson, current president of OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group. “We are grateful for our long and storied history in Escanaba and as we look to our future, we will continue this Mission while transforming the way we care for our patients.”

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OSF HealthCare is an integrated health system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, headquartered in Peoria, Illinois. OSF HealthCare has 16 hospitals – 10 acute care, five critical access, one transitional care - with 2,131 licensed beds throughout Illinois and Michigan. OSF employs nearly 24,000 Mission Partners across 150+ locations; has two colleges of nursing; operates OSF Home Care Services, an extensive network of home health and hospice services; owns Pointcore, Inc., comprised of health care-related businesses; OSF HealthCare Foundation, the philanthropic arm for the organization; and OSF Ventures, which provides investment capital for promising health care innovation startups. In 2020, OSF OnCall was established, a digital health operating unit, including a hospital-at-home. OSF OnCall delivers care and services when, where and how patients prefer to receive them. OSF HealthCare has been recognized by Fortune as one of the most innovative companies in the country. More at osfhealthcare.org/.



Joanna Wilbee-Amis
Public Relations & Communications Coordinator
(906) 233-4204