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In the Beginning...

nano nagle

Nano Nagle

  • Born in County Cork, Ireland
  • 1776 – Founded the Religious Order of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Mission: to educate the poor and care for the sick and aged
  • Lovingly called the 'Lady of the Lantern' for the faith she rekindled in Ireland

Venerable Nano Nagle

Pope Francis declared Nano Nagle Venerable on Oct. 31, 2013.

This title recognizes that Nano Nagle lived a life of heroic virtue, bringing her one step closer to sainthood. The declaration means not that she was sinless but that she worked endlessly to improve herself spiritually and to be a better person.

The Catholic Church based its decision on a collection of documents and testimonies. Recognition as a saint involves four steps – the last declarations are Blessed and Saint.

    It was through divine intervention that God led the Presentation Sisters to Dakota Territory and later end up managing three hospitals in South Dakota, including Avera McKennan and one hospital in Montana.

    • In 1880, the Sisters arrived in Dakota Territory from Dublin, Ireland, to teach the children of the Lakota Indians and the French settlers in Dakota Territory.
    • In 1882, after a harsh winter, the Presentation Sisters found a temporary home in Yankton, S.D.
    • In 1886, Presentation Sisters Convent established in Aberdeen.
    • By 1890, the Sisters had formed the Presentation Academy in Aberdeen, S.D.
    • But in 1900, diphtheria struck the Academy and the Sisters converted part of the convent into a temporary hospital.
    • That is how St. Luke’s Hospital was formed and became a pioneer of this health care mission, which would become Presentation Health System.
    • In 1906, St. Joseph’s Hospital formed in Mitchell, S.D.
    • In 1910, Bishop Thomas O’Gorman persuaded Mother Joseph Butler, Superior of the Presentation Sisters, to operate their fourth hospital - McKennan Hospital.
    • In 1978, with four successful hospitals running and administered by the Sisters, the Presentation Health System (PHS) was formed.
    • In 2000, the Presentation Sisters joined with the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton, S.D., in sponsorship of Catholic hospitals throughout the region under the name of Avera.

    Presentation Sisters

    Throughout the years, the Sisters have played an integral part in Avera McKennan’s history. Below are just a few of the women who made a difference in the quality of health care found at McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.

      Mother Joseph Butler


      • mother joseph butlerOpened St. Luke’s Hospital, the pioneer of the Presentation Health System
      • Invited by Bishop Thomas O’Gorman to manage McKennan Hospital

      Sister Ligouri Lloyd

      (1886 –1987)

      • sister ligouri lloydJoined Presentation Sisters in 1910
      • Graduated from Presentation School of Nursing at St. Luke’s Hospital in 1913
      • Served as Director of Nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Mitchell, S.D.
      • Went to McKennan Hospital in 1924 as administrator and was in charge of the medical-surgical units and assistant administrator
      • Served at McKennan Hospital for 47 years
      • Lived to be 101 years old

      Sister David Dorn


      • sister david dornJoined Presentation Sisters in 1932
      • Worked as a housekeeper at McKennan Hospital prior to joining the Congregation
      • Supervised the laundry and linen services for nearly 40 years at McKennan Hospital

      Mother Raphael McCarthy


      • mother raphael mccarthyBecame Superintendent (1913-1921)
      • Secured a loan for McKennan Hospital, taking full control of hospital
      • Established a uniform bookkeeping system to improve the Presentation’s financial position

      Sister Colman Coakley


      • sister colman coakleyJoined Presentation Sisters in 1949
      • Began career in the business office in 1952
      • Served on McKennan Hospital Board
      • Served on the board of the Presentation Health System
      • Director of Pastoral Care
      • Retired in 1996


      Watch these videos to learn more about the following Presentation Sisters.

      Sister Mary Jaeger

      Sister Mary Thomas

      Sister Lucille Welbig

      Sister Lynn Marie Welbig

      mckennan history video image

      Closing of the Centennial Year

      Read Bishop Paul J. Swain's homily with special recognition given to Avera McKennan for 100 years of health care.

      Read more