O’FALLON, IL – While HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital opened a new state-of-the-art hospital in O’Fallon and closed its hospital doors in Belleville on November 4, many pieces of religious art from the Belleville campus were relocated to O’Fallon while other pieces were donated to religious organizations.
The multi-year process of archiving the artwork began in 2013, when an artwork sub-committee was formed during the planning stages of the O’Fallon hospital project. Members of the committee included members of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital leadership and Board of Directors, members of the project management team, representatives from Kahler Slater, the Architect and Design Firm, and a representative from the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Motherhouse.
“Throughout the entire project process, preserving our heritage and Catholic identity was very important to our patients and families, as well as to Hospital and System leadership,” shared Sue Holloway, RN, BSN, Director of Construction Management for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. “Not only does the religious art provide comfort and hope to patients and families, but it also serves as a constant reminder that St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is continuing to carry the light forward of our founding Sisters through our Mission, “To reveal and embody Christ's healing love for all people through our high quality Franciscan health care ministry.”
Through this committee’s work and the guidance of the HSHS System, Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, Liturgical Committee, and many others, many of the religious pieces of art were carefully harvested and have been placed in their new home at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon. Such items include:
An exterior statue of St. Elizabeth. This statue previously stood at the entrance to the Belleville hospital since 1958. Now, this statue has found her new home, encircled by a rose garden outside the Outpatient Services entrance of the hospital.
The stained glass window of St. Elizabeth. Towering at 20 feet tall, this window was originally in the hospital Chapel in 1958 and then remained a feature in the Centennial Room of the Belleville hospital. Today, this window is located inside the Outpatient Services entrance and is artistically backlit to greet all who enter. Many additional smaller stained glass windows from 1958 were also brought to the new O’Fallon campus and are displayed in the beacon of glass above the main entrance, along “Main Street” on the first floor, in various waiting rooms and in the Chapel on the fifth floor.
Ceramic wall mount statues of St. Elizabeth and St. Francis. These statues were previously hung in the hallway of the Centennial Room. Today, the statues are hung on the walls of “Main Street,” which is a main hallway connecting many services at St. Elizabeth’s.
Tau artwork. – While there are many Tau symbols located throughout the new hospital, one that previously hung in the main hospital lobby in Belleville, is now featured as a focal point behind the O’Fallon hospital’s lobby information desk.
San Damiano Cross and Chapel furnishings. – The San Damiano Cross, that served as a focal point in the Belleville chapel since 1958, remains the focal point of the new chapel in O’Fallon. In addition, all wood items in the new chapel were refurbished from the chapel in Belleville, including pews, chairs, altar, ambo, and statues. The tabernacle from the Belleville chapel, which had been in use since the 1980s, is also in the O’Fallon chapel.
Crucifixes – All patient rooms, meeting rooms and offices at the Belleville hospital featured a crucifix on the wall. During the patient transfer day on November 4, the crucifixes from the hospital traveled with the patients as they made their way to O’Fallon. In addition, all patient rooms and other areas in the O’Fallon building have a crucifix displayed to continue to provide comfort to all who enter the Catholic facility and who are served by our caring colleagues.
“Another beautiful piece of artwork that was saved includes a triptych depicting St. Elizabeth of Hungary. This stained glass is now featured next to the new hospital chapel,” shared Donna Meyers, Director of Mission Integration, Spiritual Care, Community Benefit and Auxiliary Volunteers. “The triptych was acquired by St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Auxiliary from the Meredith Home of Belleville on 2010. Since that time, the artwork had been in storage, waiting for the perfect opportunity to display it. Now the backlight stained glass window has been restored and greets all who enter the fifth floor on the way to the chapel, or to the cafeteria.”
Various other items including statues, wall art, stained glass, crosses, and more were carefully catalogued, harvested and either donated to other HSHS hospitals, local churches or parishes, or sent to the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Motherhouse in Springfield, Illinois for storage. One such piece was a stained glass window depicting St. Clare. Similar to the large stained glass window of St. Elizabeth from the Centennial Room, this window was donated to St. Clare of Assisi Church in Ellisville, Missouri. They plan to install it on January 4, 2018. Items in storage may be utilized in the future when another hospital in the HSHS System can use the artwork.