Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 21, 2005
Spirit of healing honours St. Rose
This Dominican nun is said to be the founder of Peru's social services
St. Rose of Lima — Aug. 23
By TED FITZGERALD
Special to the WCR
San Antonio, Texas
Arrivals at the Old Market area of downtown San Antonio are greeted by a view of the spectacular mosaic that graces the sunny south wall of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital.
Eight storeys high, this enormous masterpiece by noted artist Jesse Trevino dramatically embodies the spirit of the facility. In subdued colours, Spirit of Healing shows a young boy carefully cradling a glowing white dove in his hands, symbol of the Holy Spirit, in the benign presence of his guardian angel.
Above and behind, looms a large Celtic cross, emblem of the founding order of the hospital. It's an appropriate expression of the CHRISTUS mission, the corporal and spiritual health of the youth of South Texas.
Patron of South America
Patron of the hospital and of the CHRISTUS organization is reclusive mystic Rose of Lima, first person born in the New World (1586) to be canonized and patron of South America. She devoted her life to prayer and fasting as a Dominican nun and attracted hundreds to her backyard hovel at her parents' residence.
Deeply concerned for the city's poor, she initiated a clinic to do whatever she could to feed and care for them. She is considered to be the founder of social services in Peru.
St. Rose is an appropriate patron for a facility designed for healing. So thought three Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate word, newly arrived from France in 1869 who set up an infirmary to combat a cholera epidemic. Their venture expanded into today's CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health Care, the sole, faith-based, not-for-profit health care system in the city, occupying two major hospitals in San Antonio and including the 268-bed Children's Hospital.
It is the leading, and first facility of its type in South Texas dedicated entirely to the care of children with its mission "To Extend the Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ."
Religious art is evident throughout the medical complex. Near the south entrance there is a marble statue portraying Christ with three children and a finely crafted image of a pensive St. Rosa de Lima with a large rose in her hand.
Another representation of the saint, by famed southwest artist G.E. Mullan, graces a main floor corridor as does his swirling Mary with the Christ Child, Madonna Humilitatis.
The little medical centre chapel is accessible at all hours to those seeking a place to pray or meditate. It's attractively lit by a tiny sanctuary lamp and further brightened by colourful opaque windows that suggest the sky or the sea. Mass is celebrated daily.
The artwork that fronts the hospital took three years to complete and is the country's largest mosaic of its type. Unveiled in 1997, the ceramic tile masterpiece is 13 by 30 metres in size.
Jesse Trevino continues to produce religious and secular works of art, some monumental like his year-old Mural de La Veladora, a 13 metre-high mosaic candle depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe at her Regional Sanctuary on El Paso St.
The unusual Lions near the hospital show Jesse and friends assembling a large framed mosaic to memorialize an old artwork that disappeared with the widening of Santa Rosa St.
Visitors to Santa Rosa Children's Hospital will retain an image of the unique Mullan portrayal of the patron in Dominican habit, rosary in her belt and symbolic anchor and crown of thorns in her hands crowned with roses, the image is a fitting memorial to the caring foundress of the first free clinic in the New World.
On her halo is articulated the plea Santa Rosa de Lima - Ruega por nosotros - Holy Rose, pray for us.
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