West Midwest Community History

The West Midwest Community was formed on July 1, 2008, when six former regional communities – Auburn and Burlingame, California; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; and Omaha, Nebraska – joined together to form the West Midwest Community. While the West Midwest Community central administrative center is in Omaha, the community has physical sites in each of the six cities where the former regional community was based.  The ministry of sisters and associates affiliated with the West Midwest Community extend beyond those cities, serving in 32 states and four countries.

A look back

The first foundation of the WMW was established in 1846 when Mother Mary Frances Warde and five companions, all under the age of 25, arrived in Chicago. Quickly following were establishments of Mercy foundations in San Francisco (the actual beginnings of Burlingame in 1854 and Auburn in 1857) and Grass Valley, Calif. (the first of Omaha's 13 founding foundations in 1863), as well as Cedar Rapids (in 1875). Detroit, which is made up of four foundations, traces its beginnings to Foundation, Iowa, in 1869, but could easily be argued as one of the oldest Mercy communities due to its origins in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1856.

To view a timeline of our history, please click here.