WILMINGTON — Bishop Koenig said one of the things he has noticed since he has been in Wilmington has been St. Francis Hospital, often as he drives along Interstate 95. The hospital sits prominently on the city’s west side, “a beacon on the hill,” he told employees during a visit on Oct. 4.
It was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the hospital’s namesake, and the bishop talked about how the saint loved to interact with people. The people who work at St. Francis are similar to the saint in a certain way, he said.
“You see a need, and you treat people,” Bishop Koenig said.
Patients know they will get good care at St. Francis, he said. The people who work there are driven by “that unified vision that you have. Thank you for being the hands of God.”
It was his first visit to the hospital, where he was greeted by Ed Lis, the director of mission for Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic’s south region; Gina Kennedy, the director of philanthropy; several members of the spiritual care team; Lillian Schonewolf, Trinity Mid-Atlantic’s regional vice president for community health and well being; and Christopher Cullom, president of the organization’s two south region hospitals.
Bishop Koenig first visited the chapel, commenting on its size. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the chaplains said, daily Mass there drew a sizeable crowd. The bishop offered a prayer over the hospital’s public-address system and stopped by a stained-glass window that was created by Sister Chris Wagner, a Franciscan based in Aston, Pa. The window was completed during the pandemic and was dedicated virtually.
The group then headed to a conference room, where he addressed about two dozen hospital executives and employees.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to visit,” Bishop Koenig said. “Fortunately, I haven’t been a patient.”
Several hospital employees explained their roles at St. Francis. Schonewolf explained the “Healthy Village,” which officials expect will transform the hospital both physically and from a care standpoint. Others mentioned government relations and the residency program, to name a few.
Before heading to the Tiny Steps clinic, which serves new mothers and was recently renovated, Bishop Koenig reminded them of the role they play in the lives of so many people, especially those who rely on St. Francis.
“I just encourage you to be that beacon on the hill here in Wilmington,” he said.