New sculpture commemorates Mercy Fairfield’s 40th anniversary

A hospital celebrating 40 years of being in Fairfield could have chosen any variety of ways to commemorate the milestone.

Mercy Health chose to hold a blessing and dedication Sept. 26 of a new sculpture that was created by Al Nelson, a renowned artist from Louisville, Ky.

Located outside the Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital’s front entrance, the sculpture is a continuation of Mercy Fairfield’s 40th anniversary celebration and will serve as a daily reminder of the hospital’s commitment “to care for all those coming to us in need of compassionate healing,” officials said.

The quote on the pedestal, “The Tender Mercy of God has Given us one Another,” is from Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy in 183l.

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The sculpture dedication was “symbolic,” according to Jon Labbe, president of Mercy Health Foundation.

“When you think about faith-based health care, a lot of times there are symbols that are around us that we either consciously or subconsciously see and remind us of something,” Labbe said. “When I think of this sculpture, I think of where giving and the support of our community is in relation to what we do as a ministry.”

When McAuley brought together a few of her friends and was encouraged to start the Sisters of Mercy, they wanted to bring care to the community, he said.

The sculpture will serve as a reminder of Mercy Health’s roots and those it serves in the community “in a very humble way,” Labbe said.

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The idea of putting a sculpture up outside the hospital following last year’s renovations came up because Mercy Health officials “really liked” the sculpture by Nelson outside of Mercy Health-West Hospital on Cincinnati’s West Side, according to Tom Urban, market leader and president of Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital.

“Health care was really my life,” said Nelson, a sculptor for the past 40 years. “I worked for a veterans hospital for 32 years so I really liked the idea of working in this kind of nurturing environment and they’ve been great to work with.”

Following the blessing/dedication, attendees got to chisel a piece from the pedestal, and Nelson transformed it into a personal keepsake.

“This is his way of wanting us to have this piece of sacred art be a part of our history,” said Mercy Health spokeswoman Nanette Bentley.

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