History & Sponsorship

Ascension Health formed Ascension in 2012 to further its Mission of serving all persons especially those living in poverty and who are struggling the most, and to deliver compassionate, personalized care and lead healthcare transformation in the United States. Restructured as Ascension, we are positioned to meet the evolving needs of the people and communities we serve in the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Today, we continue an 800-year legacy and promise set forth by our original sponsor organizations to provide faith-based healthcare to those in need.


  • 1999: Daughters of Charity National Health System and Sisters of St. Joseph Health System form Ascension Health
  • 2002: Carondelet Health System joins Ascension Health
  • 2004: Ascension Health recognized as largest Catholic healthcare system in the United States
  • 2012: Ascension Health and subsidiaries form Ascension
  • 2012: Alexian Brothers Health System joins Ascension
  • 2013: Health ministries of the former Marian Health System - Ministry Health Care, Wisconsin; St. John Health System, Oklahoma; and Via Christi Health, Kansas - join Ascension
  • 2014: Ascension Senior Living, one of the largest nonprofit senior living providers in the U.S., is formed
  • 2014: Ascension At Home - a joint venture with Evolution Health, a division of Envision Healthcare – is established to provide non-acute care services including home and hospice care and infusion therapy
  • 2015: Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Michigan joins Ascension
  • 2016: The Southeast Wisconsin operations and related corporate services of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare join Ascension.
  • 2018: Presence Health joins Ascension
  • Today: Ascension, one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., operates more than 2,600 sites of care in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Ascension is a leading voice for Catholic healthcare and advocate among Catholic healthcare organizations.


The original sponsoring organizations of the healthcare ministries that have come together as Ascension established a foundation that continues shaping our work today. They are:

  • Four provinces of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (now combined into the St. Louise Province)
  • Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth (now part of Congregation of St. Joseph)
  • Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
  • Congregation of Alexian Brothers
  • Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother

In 2010, our sponsors recognized Ascension Health as a ministry of the Catholic Church transcending individual sponsoring organizations and determined a non-congregational sponsorship model would strengthen our ministry.

In 2011 the Vatican approved creation of a non-congregational public juridic person (PJP) to serve as the sole Sponsor of Ascension Health, which transitioned to become the Sponsor of Ascension, the new parent organization created in 2012.

We refer to it as a “Ministerial Public Juridic Person” (MPJP) to distinguish it from those PJPs whose members all belong to a particular society of apostolic life, religious order or congregation. The MPJP – known as Ascension Sponsor – assures Ascension as a ministry will be sustained and strengthened over time, with both religious and lay persons serving as members.

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