Caring with Compassion in Western Montana
Providence is one of Montana’s largest health care providers. Our not-for-profit network includes hospitals, physicians, clinics, care centers, hospice and home health programs, and diverse community services across western Montana. With Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson and more than 40 clinics, we’re working together to provide quality care to those in need.
Providence has a long history of caring for residents in Montana since the Sisters of Providence arrived in the state in 1864. Providence has been part of the community for generations. And we’ll be here for generations to come.
Quality Health Care for All
We believe health care is a basic human right. We’re here to serve the evolving needs of the communities we serve and make excellent health care available to all.
Our focus on providing our communities with the full continuum of care makes Providence a model in Montana and beyond. We work collaboratively across traditional boundaries to develop patient-centered practices that help make lifelong quality care accessible and affordable.
In 1864, four young Catholic nuns began a long journey that not only took them from Montreal to the Pacific Coast, but also forever changed health care in the northwestern United States.
Those nuns – all younger than 30 – traveled by boat to Panama, crossed by land to the Pacific Ocean and then continued by boat to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River. There, they boarded a steamer and traveled upriver to Walla Walla. Then they rode on horseback 500 miles along the newly completed Mullan Road – first across the treeless Columbia Plateau and then through the dense forests of Coeur d’Alene country, where they crossed Coeur d’Alene Lake on a flatboat.
The final leg of their journey had the young nuns crossing the Bitterroot Mountains at what is now Lookout Pass and descending to the Clark Fork River. They arrived at the St. Ignatius Mission south of Flathead Lake just before winter set in, in October 1864, and became the first Sisters to reach the new Montana Territory.
The sisters knew little about their destination. But, their mission was clear: to serve the community’s unmet needs, particularly among the poor.