Sisters Donate a Statue to Providence
As a bitter November wind blew, a hardy group huddled under a tent on the grounds of Providence Healthcare to witness the unveiling and blessing of a commemorative sculpture donated by the Sisters of St. Joseph to celebrate that institution’s 150th Anniversary. Facing them was a sculpture covered in opaque gray plastic and red ribbon. Mary Beth Montcalm, Providence Healthcare’s CEO, welcomed everyone.
“We ask your blessing on all those who, over the course of three centuries, have contributed to the care of the sick and those in need, the Sisters of St. Joseph, employees, volunteers, physicians and donors,” said Congregational Leader Sister Margaret Myatt in her opening prayer on Nov. 29.
Sister Mary Anne McCarthy, Director of Mission and Values at Providence, introduced Harry Lynch and Jennifer Stewart who read several historical readings. Then Sister Margaret, Mary Beth Montcalm and Lloyd Cooper, Chair of the Board of Directors at Providence, unveiled the sculpture.
Father John Donlin, Chaplain at Providence, proceeded with his blessing: “Loving God, you have brought us together to bless this sculpture which will be a tangible reminder to all who see it of the purpose for which the house of Providence was founded: to be a place of welcome to all who came there.”
Participants joined in the concluding prayer, “Creator of all, we give you thanks for the favours you have bestowed upon this health care institution for 150 years... ” They then viewed the statue, circling it in wonder, and searching out sculptor Paul Bolland to thank him.
Paul posed with his work, a tableau in cold cast bronze of an early Sister with sleeves rolled up and hand outstretched in welcome, one child clinging to her while an older child on crutches and a newcomer sitting on a steamer trunk both gaze up at her. A plaque at the foot of the piece tells the story of Providence Healthcare, the statue’s inspiration.
Everyone then trailed into Providence’s warm, well-decorated cafeteria for refreshments and further festivities. Thanks were expressed to all the Sisters, past and present, for their enduring work and also to those who had worked long and hard to make this day a reality. Sr. Margaret in turn expressed her thanks:
“We sincerely hope that all who view this sculpture will recognize that the original intent of the founding of Providence is being carried out with love and compassion today by all of you here and your colleagues unable to attend,” said Sr. Margaret. “Be assured of our sincere gratitude and our prayerful support.”
Paul Bolland invited the three women who brainstormed with him in the creation of this statue, Mary Beth Montcalm and Sisters Margaret and Anne Marie, to join him at the front, where they were roundly applauded.
Photos by Beth Johnson and Gisela Côté