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Avera McKennan HistoryBishop Martin Marty & Sister Nano Nagle

Avera McKennan's roots date back to the mid-1700s in Ireland, when Nano Nagle founded the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She became known as the "Lady of the Lantern" due to her journeys to homes of those in need by using a lantern to light her way.

In the 1880s, Bishop Martin Marty invited a group of Presentation Sisters to serve in Dakota Territory. Health care and education were among their ministries.

In 1906, Helen Gale McKennan willed much of her worldly estate for the betterment of Sioux Falls, including $25,000 to found a new hospital. At the invitation of Bishop Thomas O'Gorman, the Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen agreed to open and operate the new hospital.

An advanced facility for its day, McKennan Hospital was dedicated on December 17, 1911.

Into the Present and Future

Throughout the years, community health needs influenced how Avera McKennan expressed its mission. For example, the first addition to the hospital was built in 1919 to keep up with demands of population growth, as well as a worldwide influenza epidemic.

Old McKennan Hospital

In 2000, the Presentation Sisters joined with the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton to form Avera Health, comprised of hospitals, clinics and a range of health services throughout a five-state region.

As in the past and into the future, Avera McKennan continues to emphasize technological sophistication and medical expertise along with compassionate care to support delivery of quality, holistic health services.

Moving Health Forward

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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