HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital-Highland hosted a blessing and dedication ceremony for its new statue of St. Francis of Assisi on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
The life-sized, bronze statue was commissioned through an estate gift by long-time hospital supporter, Ruth E. Schroeder, in memory of her and her husband, William F. Schroeder. The statue is located near the Emergency Department entrance and greets all those coming in through the hospital entrance located on Illinois 160.
About 70 people gathered around the statue for its blessing and dedication. The blessing was led by Father Pat Jakel of St. Paul Catholic Church, the Rev. Larry Wise of Highland Community Church, and the Rev. Tim Darmour-Paul of Grantfork United Church of Christ. Others in attendance included Schroeder family members, community members, and colleagues of the hospital. Everyone gathered inside the hospital’s cafe after the blessing for refreshments.
“Anytime a donor remembers us in their estate we are extremely grateful,” said Amy Liefer, director of the HSHS St. Joseph’s Foundation. “This particular gift and this project have been very special, and a lot of fun to watch come to life. The statue of St. Francis is the perfect addition to our campus.”
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The statue was started in early 2016, when Don and Barb Johannes, representatives for the donor’s estate, contacted the HSHS St. Joseph’s Foundation with the idea for the statue.
“Ruth was a very giving and special person,” said Don Johannes. “She had a real affinity for the hospital and the Sisters and we felt like this was a great way to honor her memory.”
Local artist Tom Foppe was commissioned to create the statue. The total process from start to installation took almost two years. Preparation of the installation site began in October with Three-Way Creations LLC designing and completing the landscaping for the statue.
The total estate gift given by Schroeder was $250,000, with $200,000 of it designated for the 3D mammography machine purchased last year.