Our History

The Ascension Providence was born and built on compassion. Founded in 1905 by the Daughters of Charity as a ministry to the suffering, compassion has remained our driving mission over decades of growth and development.

Ascension Providence is a comprehensive healthcare network that year after year provides the best physicians and staff with leading edge equipment and facilities. It’s this commitment to the best care that drives our vision and results in Ascension Providence consistently being recognized and certified for excellence in healthcare.

The Ascension Providence is part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

Providence: Compassion and Excellence Since the Beginning

  • 1905 – Waco’s first hospital
  • 1906 – Waco’s first School of Nursing
  • 1950 – Waco’s first Heart Clinic
  • 1973 – Waco’s first open heart surgery
  • 1982 – Waco’s first coronary angioplasty
  • 1993 – Waco’s first cardiac stent procedure performed
  • 1997 – Waco’s first Wound Care Center
  • 1999 – Waco’s first Chest Pain ER
  • 2004 – Waco’s first Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Center
  • 2005 – Named Top 100 Heart Hospital
  • 2008 – Waco’s first Joint Commission certified Primary Stroke Center
  • 2011 – Waco’s first accredited Chest Pain Center
  • 2013 – Ranked 4th in Texas for Critical Care
  • 2013 – Ranked 1st in Texas for Cardiac Surgery and among the top 5 percent in the nation

First Administrator and Her Companions

Sister Mary Gabriel Murtagh, Administrator, 1904-1910

Sister Mary Otis, Companion
Sister Louise O’Brien, Companion

Past Administrators

Sister Mary Angela O’Brien, 1910-1912

Sister Regina Maloney, 1912-1927

Sister Ursula Fenton, 1927-1941

Sister Margaret Callahan, 1947-1953

Sister John Gabriel McPhee, 1953-1958

Sister De Paul Williams, 1958-1961

Sister Austin Cusimano, 1961-1975

Sister Seraphine Ferrero, 1975-1984

Mr. Kent A. Keahey, FACHE, 1984-2013

Current President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Brett Esrock, FACHE  2013-