By Nathan Rhodes. From Westerville Magazine, November 2013
“Visitors to Mount Carmel St. Ann’s hospital will now be greeted by the hospital’s patron saint as they walk through the doors.
Part of the hospital’s massive, $110 million improvement project is the new Grand Entrance, which, says hospital President and COO Janet Meeks, has two main goals: to show patients they have come to a regional medical center and to emphasize St. Ann’s focus on faith.
Helping to achieve both goals, particularly the latter, is a statue commissioned by the hospital and created by sculptor Nina Menduni. The eight-and-a-half-foot tall Carrara marble sculpture displays a scene of St. Ann with her daughter, the Virgin Mary, as a young girl of 8 or 9 years.
Hospital leaders chose Menduni – who splits her time between Columbus and Pietrasanta, Italy – for the project after seeing a sculpture she built for Riverside Methodist Hospital. That statue depicts Susanna Wesley, mother of Methodist movement founder John Wesley, cradling a baby.
The St. Ann’s sculpture took Menduni and her team more than a year to complete, with her and one other artisan hand-carving the marble themselves. Menduni’s goal was to create an image of St. Ann that would portray a more caring and nurturing side of the mother of Mary, rather than cast her in a “stern and rigid” light as depictions of her often do, Menduni says.
Menduni wanted the sculpture to pay respects to the old statues that portray St. Ann while also bringing something new to the table. The sculpture shows St. Ann holding a scroll in one hand, emphasizing the importance of education as some older sculptures do.
More importantly, Menduni wished to highlight “the loving relationship between mother and daughter,” she says, which is why St. Ann has her other arm around Mary with a soft smile looking down to her daughter.
“It is my hope that this statue will provide comfort, peace and strengthen the faith of those who are being cared for or visiting a loved one at St. Ann’s hospital,” Menduni says.
The hospital began work on its major renovation in summer 2011. The main highlight of the project is the new patient tower – which will, among many other things, offer expanded heart care services and open heart surgery – while other notable aspects include a new kitchen and dining area and a new parking area.
The ribbon-cutting for the Grand Entrance is set for Dec. 4, while the tower is scheduled to be finished by mid-January.”