Saint Joseph Hospital Celebrates 150 Years of Providing Healthcare

In 1873, Mother Xavier Ross of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth sent four Sisters west from Kansas to start a hospital. They had $9 and the challenge to “look forward for what good there is yet to be.”

Arriving in Denver, they solicited miners and cowboys for funds to help start the hospital. They opened in a cottage at the intersection of 14th Avenue and Arapahoe Street and began the organization that later became Saint Joseph Hospital. 

This year, Saint Joseph Hospital, now part of Intermountain Health, celebrates 150 years of providing healthcare in Colorado. Saint Joe’s is Denver’s second oldest hospital and was Colorado’s first private teaching hospital. Today it remains the most prominent teaching hospital in the city. Saint Joe’s provides a tradition of healthcare with more than 2,600 caregivers, nearly 1,600 physicians and advance practice providers, and more than 150 volunteers.

Sister Renee Washut, a hospital volunteer since 2006, said the 150th anniversary milestone is a sign of what the Sisters have been able to do in Denver. “The fact that we can celebrate it is a good way to carry forth the history of our ministry here.” 

She added that Saint Joe’s is a special place for staff members and patients. “It seems to me that people are doing the work and living the opportunity to care for others who are so vulnerable.”

As the organization begins its 150th anniversary celebrations, we will honor our legacy, celebrate the present and solidify our commitment to further advancing care for Colorado. 

Events planned to celebrate the 150th anniversary include: 

  • The 150th Anniversary Gala, a signature event in Denver, is Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. The event will commemorate Saint Joseph Hospital’s 150th anniversary and honor the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. 
  • The public is invited to an Anniversary Mass at 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 24, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. People are asked to RSVP for the mass and reception by Saturday, Sept. 16. 
  • We will celebrate our caregivers with Mega Cookie Monday and Blessing of the Hands 9 a.m.-noon Monday, Sept. 25. The Sisters created this tradition years ago to deliver freshly baked cookies to our caregivers in a different unit each week. 

A video shared online tells more about the history of Saint Joe’s.



Saint Joseph Hospital, now part of Intermountain Health, was first opened in 1873 by Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.