May 9, 2012 // Local

Medical Center ties past with future

Missionary of St. Paul Father Al Ezenwata, director of pastoral care at SJRMC, blesses the cross and cornerstones from the former hospital at a dedication on April 26.

MISHAWAKA — A formal blessing ceremony, patterned after the original on April 26, 1903, took place at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, April 26, to celebrate its ongoing mission of healthcare started by the Sisters of the Holy Cross more than 125 years ago. Board members, sisters, associates and others from the local community gathered under a tent on a cold, sunny day to witness the blessing and re-installation of the 30-foot stainless steel cross that sat on top of the main hospital of the downtown campus for over a half century. Also blessed were the cornerstones of the former buildings and a new time capsule with items dating back to 1902, imbedded in a memorial wall outside the new hospital.

“We are building our future on the strong foundation of the past,” said Al Gutierrez, president and chief executive officer.  “The cross and cornerstone dedication pays tribute to the original founders — the Sisters of the Holy Cross, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, as well as the entire Michiana community — including all past and present patients, patient families, physicians, nursing staff, leadership teams and associates.”

In her comments, Sister Joan Marie Steadman, president of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, reminded those present that “there is something more important than any artifact and it cannot be enclosed in a copper time capsule; rather it is felt and experienced, and it changes lives. And that is the living heritage of this healing ministry, a heritage that lives in the heart. It’s a heritage built on core values of respect, social justice, compassion, care for the poor and underserved and excellence. It’s a living and animated heritage.”

Gutierrez stressed that Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center intends to carry on the legacy of the sisters.

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