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Art dedicated in memory of volunteers at hospital

By Staff | Aug 9, 2011

Standing with Terry Wild's commissioned photograph "Lights of Faith" in the outside lobby of the Muncy Valley Hospital are (L to R) Christine Ballard, CEO of Muncy Valley Hospital, Sister Sharon, Sister Anne Marie and Whitney Bernan, director of Volunteer Services for Susquehanna Health. This plaque is placed inside the lobby of the Muncy Valley Hospital to honor two long standing volunteers for their many hours of volunteer service and dedication.

MUNCY – A wall of fine art and lasting memories is on display in the lobby of the Muncy Valley Hospital. On Sunday afternoon, a reception party was held to honor some long dedicated volunteers with donated artwork and memorial gifts.

CEO, Christine Ballard joined some of the volunteers and auxiliary members to welcome the artists for their in-kind donations. In the outside lobby entrance, “Lights of Faith”, a photo collage of Tiffany stained glass windows from historic Lycoming County churches, was placed on commission from local photographer, Terry Wild.

In the main lobby Judith Youngman has on display a quilt under glass that is a memorial for Lillian Davis, a volunteer recognized for her countless hours and was a past president of the Muncy Valley Hospital Auxiliary. She passed away in 2008. A plaque is also made by the quilt to honor Wendell Taggart who volunteered up until his 99th year. “He was a devoted supporter,” said Whitney Bernan, director of volunteer services for Susquehanna Health. “Both of these people were enormously conscientious people,” she announced.

Robert Olmstead donated three of his original acrylic paintings and Michael Balzer hand carved from local hardwoods a large wooden cross and clock that was donated by Bill Ritter in memory of Grace Housel, another devoted volunteer for the hospital.

Previously, the hospital purchased wooden crosses that Balzer made for the in-patient rooms at the hospital. The hospital originally ordered 16 of the hand carved crosses, but Balzer said he went ahead and carved 21 in case they needed more. Oddly enough, Ballard was astonished when she saw the extras because she indeed, was going to order five more for the emergency department. “It was a good sign,” said Balzer. Some of the crosses for the rooms were sponsored by local churches.

Sister Anne Marie, director of Mission Integration, also spoke about the life of Pauline von Mallinckrodt, the founder of the Sisters of Christian Charity. Born in Germany in 1817, she is also known as the special patron for volunteers. “Sister Pauline was always on the move and always carried a basket to fill the needs of others,” replied Sister Anne Marie. Sister Pauline opened a day nursery for ages 2 to 6, a school for the blind, and a woman’s auxiliary all before the age of 25. In 1849 she formed the Sisters of Christian Charity, focusing on education and helping the poor.

By 1871 the Sisters had grown to 250 members but it was turbulent times for Germany. And so the Sisters came to the United States, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region to work in the parishes and schools instructing German immigrants. Today there are over 500 Sisters of Christian Charity including 11 here in Lycoming County teaching and doing ministry work.

“We are a real family here at the hospital,” said Sister Sharon as she spoke a prayer of dedication seeking everyone to follow in Sister Pauline’s footsteps as servant leaders. Sister Pauline is centered in Terry Wild’s “Lights of Faith.”

“You pass this way only once and during the journey make a difference. The volunteers spoke to us in the way they lived and we will miss them a lot.” These memorial gifts will allow the community to see how much the volunteers mean to us, past and present.

The Mission of the Muncy Valley Hospital Auxiliary is to support the services and goals of Muncy Valley Hospital. The current President is Vivian Mills.?Major fundraisers and projects include Make Believe Tea, Muncy Valley Hospital Lawn Party, Lights of Love, Uniform Sale, and the Gift Shop.?Monthly meetings are held the third Monday in January, March, May, July, September and November, at 2 p.m. at MVH. To become a volunteer or auxiliary member call Jennie Aunkst, Membership Chairperson, 547-1971.