In 1928, San Bernardino was a rapidly expanding community, with little access to quality medical facilities. It was then that Dr. Philip Savage, a well-respected and highly-credentialed local surgeon, approached Father Patrick Dunn, pastor of St. Bernardine Catholic Church, with his dream for a first-class hospital. He had personally experienced the level of care and compassion provided by the Franciscan Sisters who operated the Catholic St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. That level of care - for body, mind and spirit - was Dr. Savage's vision for San Bernardino.
With the support of Father Dunn, Dr. Savage approached Mother Mary Placidus, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston, Texas with a dream: to build a hospital that would care for a community in need.
On October 10, 1931, California Governor James J. Rolph laid the cornerstone of the new hospital and convent. It was named to honor Bernardino Albizeschi, an Italian who exhibited exceptional courage and compassion during the plague of 1400 which killed thousands and later earned him the title "Saint Bernardine."