Good Works Defined in 1969 Continues Today
Six years before St. Mary opened its doors, a group of local women began to organize in support of the hospital. What was then known as the Bucks County Women’s Committee for St. Mary Hospital quickly grew to nearly eight hundred members spread across eight regional chapters. These groups, whose members represented women of all ages and professional backgrounds, officially adopted The Women’s Guild of St. Mary Hospital – Bucks County as their name in 1969. Together, they pledged to raise $100,000 for the new hospital and reached this goal within three years.
The Women’s Guild continued recruiting new members and adding fundraising initiatives to advance St. Mary technology and facilities well after the first patients arrived at the hospital forty years ago. Proceeds from annual events, such as luxury car raffles, fashion shows, trips and tours, flea markets, craft sales, hospital gift shop sales and other fundraising efforts were used to fund a variety of hospital projects.
In 2001, two friends whose mothers had been St. Mary patients, proposed the creation of a modest commemorative garden in the central outdoor space of the St. Mary campus. Thanks to these friends, Sue Wert and Carter van Dyke, the “Friends of the Healing Garden” committee was born. Funded solely by community donations totaling more than $500,000, and designed to promote health and wellness in a holistic environment, the first of five healing gardens, the Cloister Garden, was installed. At the main campus of St. Mary, patients, staff, and visitors today enjoy the Emergency Room, ICU rooftop, and Cancer Center gardens in addition to this central garden. A sixth, recently completed, garden is located at the LIFE-St. Mary program in Trevose. And more gardens are planned for the medical center as it expands.
Having similar visions of supporting the healing environment at St. Mary, the Women’s Guild and Friends of the Healing Garden joined forces in January 2007 under the direction of the St. Mary Foundation. Now known as the Community League of St. Mary Medical Center, this consolidated group works to help provide the best medical care possible while nurturing the body, mind, and spirit of the community. Expanding on the Guild’s original calendar of events, and adding new initiatives, such as the St. Mary Thrift Shop, the Community League is continually raising friends and funds with fun events throughout the year and supporting the creation and upkeep of the beautiful healing gardens.
The group has raised more than $5 million since 2007. In addition, they award ten college scholarships each year to students who have volunteered a minimum of 200 hours at St. Mary. They also provide Healing Threads garments to all women St. Mary cancer patients who receive radiation and chemotherapy treatments. The Community League also hosts Out & About trips to local gardens, interesting sites and cooking classes. The annual Kitchen & Garden Tour takes place each Fall and there will be a fashion show in spring 2014.
All are welcomed to join the Community League at one, or all, of the events benefiting St. Mary Medical Center or to become a member. For information, call Cindy Mazda at 610.751.7874 or Suzanne Berman at 215.794.3364.