MARYVILLE, Mo. — Community members gathered at an emotional ceremony Tuesday morning at Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new healing garden.
The garden, funded through a partnership with the St. Francis Foundation and private donations, will provide a relaxing place for cancer patients in particular to release some of their mental and emotional burdens during treatment.
“We dreamed of a healing garden that would provide a place for reflection, clarity, meditation, prayer and beauty,” said Teri Harr, a member of the committee that put together the garden initiative. “We found this space, and we began planning to make it happen.”
Megan Jennings, development officer at the St. Francis Foundation, said the garden will include a fountain, a waterfall, trees, plants, three sitting walls, soft music, bistro areas, a kids section, the Jessica Loch Memorial Breezeway that will include a glass canopy and a new parking area.
Larry Mannasmith, another member of the committee, said he was struck by the effect of a similar garden at another facility he encountered while his wife, Rhonda, was going through cancer treatment.
“It gave me a place to go, to pray, to sing, to hope,” he said Tuesday. “So when I was asked to be a part of this, I said yes, Maryville deserves this.”
In the future, Harr said, the foundation will be working towards helping cancer patients with prescription assistance, monthly meals and medical equipment.
Harr told the dozens of community members who came to support the garden that the project was close to her heart after she lost both of her parents to cancer.
“It has been the most challenging of seasons for me, and I still am seeking comfort and peace,” she said. “Cancer touches us all uniquely, in one way or another, but one thing is consistent: patients and their caregivers, we are all seeking comfort and peace.
“While the caring medical team provides the treatment for the body, now this garden can be a place to heal the soul.”