Although consciousness of a religious institute's sponsorship or mission in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was secondary to the more important function of religious formation, the health care environment in recent years has demanded a closer attention to mission. Religious institutes have identified the need to further articulate statements of mission and philosophy and to develop mechanisms to evaluate their effectiveness in promoting the community's values. In response to this need, Bon Secours Health System, Columbia, MD, developed a standing committee, the mission committee, to oversee the mission activities of the entities within each of its local holding companies. Among its responsibilities are the periodic review of programs, the monitoring of social justice actions in which the local corporation may be involved, the recommendation of policy concerning ethical and medical-moral issues to the board of directors, and the identification of educational need in these areas. A special focus on the system's mission activity has been indigent care, an area that the mission committee both monitors and directs. As a governance structure, the mission committee complements rather than detracts from the chief executive officer's responsibility for mission. Since its creation in 1983, it has proved valuable not only in ensuring the system's mission effectiveness but also in integrating the operations and mission perspectives.