It all started one summer day in 1869 when Mary Walsh, a poor Irish immigrant girl, came to the United States and settled in the east side of New York City. She secured employment as a laundress with a wealthy family for whom she had worked.
On her way to work one August day a child’s cry of distress caught her attention. She saw the child — about seven years old — sobbing. Gently, she tried to comfort the frightened little girl. She told Mary Walsh her mother was upstairs ill and she did not know what to do.She went upstairs with her to find the child’s mother lying gravely ill, a dead infant by her side. Her prayer was, "Dear Lord, aid me. Tell me how to help." During the next few days Mother Mary Walsh sacrificed her much-needed job and devoted all of her time to helping this "helpless" family. From then on, having seen the desperate plight of the poor with her own eyes and felt it with her own heart, she dedicated herself to a lifetime of charity and mercy.
This incident was to influence her whole life. Though not conscious of it at that time, she was laying the foundation of her real vocation as a benefactress and friend of Christ’s sick poor, no matter what age, race, creed or color. This is how her community, The Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor, began. Mother Mary Walsh made plans for the work to be carried out in other parts of the United States and Denver, Colorado was chosen as one of the sites for the Mission. Mother Mary Walsh died in 1922 but it was decided that plans should go on as she had wished before her death. Four Dominican Sisters arrived later that year on the invitation of Bishop Tihen to begin their work in Denver. Through the joint efforts of Father Charles McDonnell, S.J., pastor of Sacred Heart Church and Loyola Chapel, The Knights of Columbus, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a house was found at 2501 Gaylord Street and we still reside at the same residence to this day.
And now, almost one hundred years later, the Dominican Sisters Home Health Agency continues to do what the Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor started out doing — devoting themselves completely to helping the sick and poor of Denver.