Indianapolis Construction Update

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gallery highlights St. Francis Health’s history, legacy in Beech Grove

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Nearly a century of Franciscan St. Francis Health history and its impact within this community will soon be on display here for the public to view.

A Firm Foundation of Faith & Healing is the name of the photo exhibit which chronicles the mission and legacy of the hospital’s founding in Beech Grove in 1914 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration.

The exhibit will be open to the public through March 10. The gallery is in the corridor of the main floor near St. Clare Chapel corridor of the Main (first) floor. Franciscan St. Francis – Beech Grove is located at 1600 Albany St.

“We were invited to establish a health-care ministry in Beech Grove near the turn of the century,” said Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of Mission Services. “Two of our Sisters traveled by buggy from Lafayette – where a Franciscan hospital had been in operation since1876 – and with the help of local Catholic clergy found a location.

In 1914, the Sisters’ vision became a reality when St. Francis Hospital opened its doors with 75 patient beds and offering the latest medical technology available of that time.

“The hospital was founded on our fundamental belief that human needs should be met in a holistic manner,” Shapley said. “This mission has guided us for nearly a century of service to Beech Grove and south-central Indiana.”

The exhibit is a timeline of photos and other imagery. Visitors can stroll through the decades, seeing the faces of former Sisters, leaders, physicians, nurses and employees at work; the changing nature of medical care; and the myriad events which bolstered and further defined St. Francis’ growth at campuses operating today in Indianapolis and Mooresville.

“We encourage the public to visit us and enjoy images celebrating the dedication, humor, intelligence and expertise of those who worked here before us,” said Kelli Searles, director of Community Relations and Marketing, who has developed and overseen the project. “It is a celebration of our mission and a tribute to those many who have demonstrated that a hospital is more than just bricks and mortar.”

The exhibit was designed by Irongate Creative, an Indianapolis-based multimedia company.

The opening of the gallery sets the stage for the hospital’s consolidation of inpatient services and other programs at Franciscan St. Francis – Indianapolis (8111 S. Emerson Ave.), just seven miles south of Beech Grove. An expansion project has been under way at that campus since 2007 and is nearing completion.

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