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Franciscan Health to honor healthcare workers in COVID fight

Franciscan Health to honor healthcare workers in COVID fight

As 2020 began to unfold, reports were coming out of China and other parts of Asia about an emerging, fast-spreading respiratory disease. Soon it would arrive in the United States, claiming many lives and leaving many deathly ill. By March, the mysterious illness – bearing the name of COVID-19 – had inched closer to home, forcing patients to seek help at Franciscan Health Indianapolis and Mooresville.

So much has happened and changed during the three-year pandemic, but Franciscan caregivers at all levels have continued to readjust, pivot as needed and remained steadfast to ensure the care and safety of all patients treated for COVID. And their work will soon be commemorated.

The hospitals plan to erect permanent, identical memorials near key entries at the Indianapolis and Mooresville campuses. Each will include a bronze, double-sided sculpture of the distinct Tau, the symbol St. Francis of Assisi shared as he ministered to the sick. It represents Franciscan Health and honors St. Francis and those who follow his example –Continuing Christ’s Ministry in our Franciscan Tradition.

Beneath the sculpture will be a bronze plaque worded (Indianapolis or Mooresville, respectively):

In Memory of the COVID-19 Pandemic Response at Franciscan Health – A Recognition of Service

Franciscan Health honors the physicians, nurses and countless other dedicated staff who demonstrated bravery, dedication, innovation, and compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic.  They leave a legacy of leadership and commitment never to be forgotten. We honor their sacrifice with this memorial.

Tau image of the sculpture is a clay model before it is cast in bronze. (Courtesy of artist Ryan Feeney)

“We wanted to find a lasting and proper way to honor all of those who answered the call to duty throughout the pandemic ordeal,” said Sister Marlene Shapley, OSF, vice president of mission integration for Franciscan Health Central Indiana. “At every level, they tirelessly have given their all to deliver an unparalleled depth of compassionate care to the patients we are privileged to serve. This memorial will serve as a permanent reminder of our staff’s unwavering professionalism and dedication.”

Sister Marlene, Christopher Doehring, MD (vice president of medical affairs); Kelli Searles (vice president of marketing) and Julie Glover (director of patient safety) formed the project’s core planning group.

The Tau sculpture is being re-created by a local artist, Ryan Feeney of Indianapolis. He is best known for his bronze statue of former Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, which greets visitors to Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.

Funding for both memorials come solely from the generous donations of grateful former patients, Franciscan physicians, medical and support staff, and corporate partners.

Franciscan is tentatively planning a dedication of both memorials by late May.

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