Ceremony held to bless gardens, bid farewell Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kat Wagner, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 -- 12:00 AM
Sr. Priscilla Weber, far left, and Sr. Mary Ellen Lewis, far right, welcome people into the new Sisters’ Garden at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. They presented each person with a bookmark as they walked through under the arch that once marked the old hospital entrance. (Catholic Herald photo/Kat Wagner)

MADISON -- St. Mary’s Hospital held a blessing and dedication of two new gardens at the hospital campus October 8. The event, held 99 years to the day on which the first cornerstone was laid by the hospital’s founding Sisters, also was a farewell to the last two Franciscan Sisters of Mary to serve at the hospital, Sr. Priscilla Weber and Sr. Mary Ellen Lewis.

The ceremony was held in front of the garden gate, an archway that had once marked the entrance to the hospital. It had been painstakingly dismantled and then reconstructed to honor the 168 Sisters who have served at St. Mary’s Hospital over the past century. Sister Priscilla and Sister Mary Ellen completed the arch by inserting the final stone during the ceremony.

In addition to thanking the Sisters for their dedication and service, Bishop Robert C. Morlino said before blessing the new gardens the real significance of the gift is to honor the work of consecrated women.

“The work of consecrated women in the Diocese of Madison and the State of Wisconsin is truly something significant and something wonderful,” the bishop said. “So in thanking the Sisters here, we thank all of the consecrated women.”

The Sisters’ Garden, which is overlooked by a statue of St. Joseph, will offer a place of healing and repose for patients and visitors to the hospital. St. Joseph was a favorite of Mother Odilia, the founding Sister of the order that built St. Mary’s Hospital.

Bishop Morlino said that it will hopefully remind people of Mary, the Mother of God, the Gardener of Life. “This hospital, as a guardian of life, is under the protection of the great Gardener of Life, our Mother,” he said. “Our Blessed Mother is the new Eve, the mother of all the living, so sustaining life is our goal here.”

That goal will be helped by the beauty of the garden, he said. If patients can come outside, “their thoughts will turn to Mary as the great Gardener of Life,” he said.

The second garden dedicated October 8, “Rosy’s Garden,” was named for longtime volunteer Rozanne Flesch. Tom Flesch spoke in tribute to his mother and in thanks to the hospital for its place in his mother’s life.

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