*Correction: In the podcast, we said that Issaquah School District has acquired the property. This is inaccurate, they are still in the process of eminent domain. The city had voted for the area to be zoned for community facilities, but the ownership has not officially been given to ISD.
Providence Heights was named after the Sisters of Providence, the organization of Catholic women who originally built the campus. They were founded in Montreal by Mother Emilie Gamelin in 1843. The Sisters first came to Washington in 1856, settling in Fort Vancouver and working to establish schools, hospitals, and homes of care for people in need. Since the leader of the Sisters who moved to Washington was referred to as Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the state of Washington is considered a part of the Mother Joseph Province of the Sisters of Providence.
The Sisters of Providence gained a presence in the Issaquah-Sammamish region when they moved their educational institution to their newly built Providence Heights College of Sister Formation in 1961.
Although the college was historically the first of its kind in offering education for religious women that was on par with education for religious men, social and cultural changes of the time led to a decrease in enrollment. The school closed in 1969. However, the Provincial Administration of Sacred Heart Province that resided on the campus remained there until 1975, when they moved to offices in Seattle and shifted their focus to healthcare and hospital administration.
Once in their Seattle location, they began to hire more people to assist in administration of hospitals and began new projects. In 1979, they established Providence Hospitality House, which offered emergency shelter for women and children. One thing the Sisters of Providence are currently known for is running the St. Joseph Hospital, which they began to run in 1983 after the Dominican Sisters of Holy Cross granted them sponsorship of it. The Sisters of Providence continued to establish new projects for emergency housing, housing for seniors, and hospitals across Washington State throughout the late 20th century. The Sisters are currently most widely known for their sub-organization that is focused in the medical field, which is now known as Providence Health & Services, a widely-known nonprofit healthcare system.
Despite moving off of the campus decades ago, as the original builders of the Providence Heights Campus, the Sisters received possession of the stained glass windows designed by Gabriel Loire.