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Our History

The concept for Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital arose during a time of great change, post-war in the late 1960s, when the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary of Wheaton, Illinois, led by Provincial Sister Virginia Mary Barta, recognized a need for physical medicine and rehabilitation in the Chicago area. The name "Marianjoy" came from the blending of the Marian tradition, referring to the Sisters being the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and the joy reflecting not only the philosophy of St. Francis, but also the joy felt throughout the religious community in offering this new service. Originally built from 1968 to 1970, what began as a facility to care for the aging Sisters quickly blossomed into a community health resource.

In 1971, several physicians from the local acute-care hospital met with the Sisters to discuss changing Marianjoy into a physical rehabilitation hospital. At the time, there were only two rehabilitation hospitals in Illinois, with a few small rehabilitation units in acute-care hospitals—but none in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Sister Mary Thomas Kolba took over as the Provincial in 1972 and led the task of getting the new rehabilitation hospital up and running. Sister Barbara DeWindt, an experienced hospital administrator, and Dr. Roger Pesch, the hospital's first medical director, were also integral in the foundation of the rehabilitation hospital Marianjoy is today. Bruce Schurman was appointed as the first president of the restructured hospital in 1976, at which time Marianjoy had achieved accreditation by both the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCC), a remarkable feat for the time.

Over the decades, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital advanced physical medicine and rehabilitation both for its own network and the field at large. Marianjoy opened locations at Oakbrook Terrace and within partnerships with other hospitals to offer the best access for patients' rehabilitative needs. Research; technology; medical residency and training; community outreach; and disability advocacy have been primary focuses for Marianjoy, in addition to the exceptional and compassionate patient care for which it is known.

In 2016, that patient care potential expanded when Marianjoy joined Northwestern Medicine, a healthcare system that provides world-class care at seven hospitals and more than 100 locations in communities throughout Chicago and the North and West suburbs. Marianjoy has joined a Northwestern Medicine system presence in the western suburbs that includes, among others, the nearby Central DuPage Hospital, Central DuPage Orthopaedics Program, and Delnor Hospital, all of which have been ranked as "Best Hospitals" and hospital programs by the U.S. News and World Report. For the past three and a half decades, Northwestern Medicine's foundation hospital system—Northwestern Memorial—has continued to meet the ever-changing healthcare needs of the Chicago area, expanding facilities, adding clinical programs and providing service to the community. Its association with Northwestern University dates back more than a century, and as the primary teaching affiliate for the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Medicine is recognized as a leading hospital system in advancing patient care, education and research. Building on a history of compassionate care and clinical excellence, Northwestern Medicine is forging a stronger partnership with its campus partners to become one of the nation's great academic medical centers.