Door of Mercy

Anyone coming through the bright main entrance of the Misericordia Hospital can’t help but notice a colourful mosaic adorning the inner doorway. Sunny rays stretch out in a warm embrace across a bright prairie sky; small violets and cattails dangle from a brick wall. This cheerful, welcoming piece is much more than a greeting—it is emblematic of the values and approach to care that define Misericordia staff, volunteers and physicians.

The art was installed to mark the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Jubilee is a special celebratory year in which Pope Francis asks people around the world to think about what it means to be merciful.

“This hospital was created on the ideals of mercy, kindness and compassion,” says Senior Operating Officer Jan Schimpf. Misericordia is Latin for mercy. The Misericordia Sisters of Montreal founded the hospital, and much of the art’s imagery is tied to the Sisters’ story. For example, violets are their symbolic flower.

Gloria Sapena pauses under the Door of Mercy.

The entranceway is the ideal spot for this work of art. “This is the doorway into our hospital,” says Jan. “People crossing under this threshold are entering a place where we live the Sisters’ values every day.”

Patient Gloria Sapena has seen these values in action. The 92-year-old has compression fractures in her spine due to a fall last spring. She must now wear a rigid upper-body cast that limits movement. “I have to wear it all day,” she explains. “I need it when I’m walking, sitting or standing.” But the cast is uncomfortable, and wearing it can take an emotional toll.

This is where Chaplain Deb Kirkpatrick comes in. Kirkpatrick is part of Sapena’s integrated care team. “I think it’s wonderful that we acknowledge that we are more than our body parts,” says Deb. “When the team discusses Gloria’s care, we consider what is best for all aspects of her health, including her spiritual health.” 

For Gloria, this has made all the difference. She feels the Sisters’ legacy is alive and well at the Misericordia. “Sometimes you need someone to just sit and listen, to understand what you’re going through.”

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