The History of The Brothers of Mercy in Western New York

by | Jul 27, 2023 | Brothers of Mercy, Centennial Celebration

The Brothers of Mercy’s origins stem from one humble mission: to honor Christ through service to others. The Brothers have provided the world’s sick and disadvantaged people with compassionate health care since the 1860s, and they built a legacy that has touched countless lives and spanned the generations.

Formally established in 1856 in Hadamar, Germany by Brother Ignatius (Peter) Loetschert and for other brothers. This group of religiously dedicated men established a small community with a focus on caring for the sick in their region. In 1861, the motherhouse was established at Montabaur, Germany. Although the group had a very difficult start, facing poverty and famine, it wasn’t long before word of their charitable efforts spread. Soon, their compassionate health care drew others to their mission and congregations were also established in Holland and South Africa.

In 1924, Bishop Turner welcomed six Brothers from Montabaur, Germany to Western New York. They initially resided in a local convent’s basement before acquiring a residence on Cottage Street in 1925. They began their mission of providing in-home nursing for male patients who needed around-the-clock care. The Brothers set about on a fleet of bicycles to begin in-home nursing care for the sick and elderly residents of Buffalo from all backgrounds, day or night and through rain or snow. They accepted payment in the form of fruits, vegetables or sometimes nothing at all. The Brothers made more than 76,000 house calls in their first 25 years.

The demand for their spiritual care and medical skills grew and they adopted a second residence on Jewett Parkway in 1938. In 1950, the Brothers purchased 127 acres of farmland in Clarence, NY, and over the course of the next several decades, the organization built six facilities that together would become the premier source of adult services in the region at The Brothers of Mercy Wellness Campus. 

In 1951, ground was broken on the first wing of Sacred Heart Home, which housed 36 male patients. In 1963, Sacred Heart Home underwent a $1.3 million expansion by adding a south wing and new Chapel. This expansion added 56 beds (going from 36 to 92). The Brothers continued to expand their mission and ministry of services by building independent living apartments in 1972. These affordable housing community was designed for moderate-income seniors ages 55 and older and now has 100 units.

The Brothers’ exclusive, renowned therapy programs earn them a reputation for pioneering rehabilitation in Western New York. As demand for access to these life-changing restorative therapies and treatment rises, the Brothers break ground on a 240-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that opens in 1976 and is considered the region’s first-ever freestanding rehab center.

In 2016, The Brothers of Mercy Wellness Campus introduces the Montabaur Heights independent senior living community, which features 111 all-inclusive apartments. On September 1, 2016, The Brothers of Mercy of Montabaur merge with the Trier, Germany-based community of the Brothers of Mercy of Mary Help of Christian. Joining the Trier Brothers was a natural fit due to the two congregations’ shared missions of caring for the sick and elderly.

In January 2018, The Russell J. Salvatore Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinic opened on the Wellness Campus. The innovative physical, occupational and speech therapies that the Brothers pioneered through the decades are now available to any adults ages 18 and older across Western New York through this state-of-the-art outpatient facility.

In December 2020, The Brothers of Mercy Wellness Campus unveiled its newest facility, the new Sacred Heart Home Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living and Memory Care community that features six Wellness Neighborhoods. It features 96 private suites with shared common spaces, including dining, kitchen and living areas, lounges and courtyards. Services are provided to all residents in an environment that evokes the feeling of living at home.

The work on The Brothers of Mercy campus has regularly been recognized for excellence. Ranked 13th on Newsweek’s “America’s Best Nursing Homes List,” along with ranking as Western New York’s largest retirement community, 5-star Skilled Nursing Center, and independent living community by Buffalo Business First, the Brothers of Mercy’s Catholic nonprofit mission has been serving Western New York seniors for 100 years.

Offering a continuum of lifestyle and care options on a 126-acre, 5-star Wellness Campus, The Brothers of Mercy ministry of services includes skilled nursing, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, assisted and enhanced assisted living, memory care, independent living, spiritual care, respite, hospice and home care.

The Brothers of Mercy motto is “The Charity of Christ Urges Us On,” and this is the foundation upon which the campus was built and has continued to grow.

Mission Statement:

The Brothers of Mercy Campus is a Catholic provider of inter-related adult residential, health care and rehabilitation services. The organization is committed to the pursuit of excellence by providing a supportive, compassionate and healing environment for those it is privileged to serve.

Our Values:

The organization’s values guide it in the commitment to continue the healing mission as inspired by the founder, Brother Ignatius Loetschert, and of the Catholic Church through a ministry of service. Staff and volunteers remain ever mindful of the Brothers’ motto, “The charity of Christ urges us on.”

Holistic: The Brothers of Mercy is committed to serving the whole person while understanding that each is a unique individual with complex needs, goals, desires and aspirations.

Integrity: The Brothers of Mercy values the support and trust of those who come to the Wellness Campus. The organization strives to serve all patients, residents and customers in a cost-effective manner with a sense of fairness, honesty and professionalism.

Respect: The Brothers of Mercy believes in the dignity of all life and values the importance of individual choice in decisions promoting personal growth.