Newly hired HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Director Andrea Blaeser feels a sense of admiration and appreciation when she walks by The Saint John’s Bible encased in glass near the elevators at the hospital.
“In the everyday rush of life, it’s a gentle reminder of the spirituality that binds each one of us,” she said. “I appreciate the hard work and dedication it took to make a literary work of art like this.”
After hosting a volume of the Bible since 2013, HSHS St. Joseph’s and Sacred Heart hospitals will have an event for the public to view the Bible and hear from Jim Triggs, executive director of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program. During the program on Thursday, Oct. 3, Triggs will give a presentation including stories of “illuminated encounters” with the Bible.
The Saint John’s Bible, completed in 2011, is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press. Together, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and Mayo Clinic Health System’s Eau Claire hospital own seven volumes, which make up one full Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible. The volumes are shared amongst the three hospitals for display.
“There’s one in the Vatican, one in the Louvre and one in Eau Claire,” Blaeser said of The Saint John’s Bible.
Blaeser is familiar with the Bible’s history in Eau Claire from those who have walked before her.
Thanks to the generosity of community donors in 2011 and 2012, and the commitment to the project from hospital colleagues, volumes were purchased and housed at the HSHS hospitals in 2013.
The logistics were impressive in their own right, said Mary Salm, spiritual care director at HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals. The spiritual care and foundation teams from the three hospitals worked together to bring volumes to the Chippewa Valley.
“But the ‘why’ is even more impressive,” Salm said. “The whole purpose is to bring together the different faiths. It’s really about spiritual ministry. People can go to those pages, look at the Word of God and illustrations and be ministered spiritually.”
The hospitals are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and anyone can come and take a look at these modern marvels of faith.
“It’s something that is here to minister to people spiritually,” Salm said. “The artwork is amazing. The words are impactful. The spiritual interpretation of the scriptures is comforting.”