On November 9, a sunny and windy afternoon, speakers, guests, and steelworkers gathered for a traditional Topping Off ceremony at the new St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, while many more watched via the internet. As workers made ready to hoist the last steel beam up to the roof of the helicopter pad, Sister Beverly Raway spoke to the gathering about the meaning of the Benedictine medal welded on one end of the beam.
“As a symbol of the proud heritage and the continuing support of the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, a Benedictine medal, a duplicate of the one I hold in my hand, has been welded to the beam that will rise to the top of St. Mary’s today. This jubilee medal was struck in 1880, to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of St. Benedict’s birth.
“On the face of the medal is the image of Saint Benedict. The reverse shows a Cross and a series of initials that stand for an ancient exorcism as well as a prayer for guidance.
“In the angles of the cross are the letters C, S, P, B., Latin for “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti… the Cross of our Holy Father Benedict.
“The faithful over the centuries have acclaimed the power of this sacramental in their prayers for protection from storms, defense against contagious diseases, assistance for safe delivery of expectant mothers, and support at the hour of death.
And so, we pray,
“Compassionate and sheltering God, as we mark a milestone in the construction of St. Mary’s, may we remember the words of Your faithful servant Benedict that “Care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ” (RB 36). May we be blessed as in gratitude we remember our founders, Mother Scholastica and Mother Alexia Kerst; through their vision and courage the first St. Mary’s was established in Duluth.
“We remember and ask your blessing on all who have selflessly served in times of deep tragedy in our city and region, during outbreaks of polio, influenza, fire, and pandemic.
“Raise up and energize those you call to serve the sick with courage and patience, with renewed and joyful spirits. May they know our deep gratitude and continuous support.
“We offer this medal, a symbol of your protection, and ask you to shelter all those who serve and all who come for healing in the welcoming environment of this building.
“Continue to bless those who carry out the construction of this building, keep them healthy and safe from all harm.
“We pray in the power of your Holy Name, now and forever. Amen.”
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Click here to watch the entire ceremony.
Srs Danile Lynch and Therese Carson in front of new SMMC under construction
Sister Danile Lynch signs beam
Last steel beam rises to roof of St. Mary’s Medical Center