“Laying out grounds may be considered a liberal art, in some sort like poetry and painting.” – William Wordsworth
The Cloister Garden is the first of The Healing Gardens at St. Mary Medical Center. This is “something marvelous,” designed with the help of a committee of St. Mary physicians, and developed and funded through the tireless efforts of volunteers, staff, physicians, community, and patients.
Planned with reverence for an existing oak tree and a weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, the Cloister Garden is so called because it is surrounded by hallways, as 12th century cloister gardens were. However, this garden is distinctly Japanese … a theme that was chosen because it underscores the fact that St. Mary Medical Center cares for people of all faiths.
The Cloister Garden adheres to many of the ancient principles of a Japanese style. A path is an important element in a Japanese garden. The texture and pattern of the path is part of the pleasure of meandering through the garden. In the garden, as in life, the path provides choices – to pass through a gate, idle or to simply move on. The path through the Cloister Garden is friendly to the handicapped.
After one year of planning and construction, The Healing Garden Committee joined St. Mary administration and colleagues to dedicate the Cloister Garden in April 2003. It was a glorious spring day…the first day of sunshine after many days of rain. The Sisters of St. Francis, who started it all by breaking ground for St. Mary in a cornfield in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, in 1973, sang in the choir to mark the event.
The Cloister Garden has six distinct areas:
True to the definition of a restorative healing garden, our Cloister Garden is a place for everyone. A place to be alone with one’s thoughts, comforted by water trickling from a replica of an ancient deer chaser fountain. A place to gather with family members or friends for quiet conversation. A rejuvenating pass-through from one area of the expanding St. Mary complex to another. A place to enjoy luncheon al fresco with friends, or to reflect on the events of the day, and pray for a bright tomorrow. A refreshing experience that changes with the hours and the seasons.
The Cloister Garden is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Lights go on at dusk, providing illumination along the meandering, wheelchair-friendly, concrete path through the garden.
The Cloister Garden is designed to be experienced from within and without. On the ground floor, the garden is bordered in part by the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center and the cafeteria. Cardiac, stroke, maternity, and other patients have a broad aerial view.
Explore Our Gardens: