Mary Jane Voelker’s transformational gift and legacy were celebrated on May 25 at her courtyard dedication and statue blessing outside of the Dorcy Cancer Center at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo. The SMC Hospital Foundation hosted a dedication ceremony at the center prior to the statue unveiling by local Pueblo artist, Rick Willits.
To date, Mary Jane has given close to $7.4 million to the Dorcy Cancer Center. This is the largest financial gift Centura has ever received. Mary Jane was a community philanthropist and long-time supporter of the hospital. She was also an enthusiastic contributor to the paddle raises at SMC’s annual Cowboys Kickin’ Cancer event.
“This is a special day for the hospital, the Dorcy Cancer Center, the SMC Foundation, patients, caregivers and associates,” said Mike Cafasso, CEO. “I’m so thankful for Mary Jane and her compassion for others. Her gift will greatly impact the lives of our patients and their families.”
Mary Jane’s cousin, Rob Kilmer and his wife Sue traveled from Toronto Canada to attend the dedication. Seb Girard, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer at Centura spoke at the dedication. Seb is also the interim VP of Philanthropy for our ministry.
“As a not-for-profit hospital, we rely on the power of philanthropy to help us deliver the very best care for our patients and our community. Mary Jane’s transformational gift will allow our incredible caregivers to continue to provide world-class cancer care for patients in southern Colorado,” said Girard.
After the dedication, Deacon Marco Vegas led the guests outside for the blessing of the statue. The bronze cross faces East.
The symbols on the statue pay tribute to St. Peregrine who was born in Forli Italy in 1265. Each icon was chosen by leaders at SMC and the foundation. Deacon Marco Vegas explained during the blessing that “through the symbols, the cancer patients who gaze upon the statue can relate to the suffering of Christ through their treatment, but have hope in the end of their healing.”
More about St. Peregrine
He joined the order of Servites and became an ordained a priest and then founded a Servite monastery. A few years later, a cancerous growth appeared on his right foot. It was so painful that he finally agreed with the surgeon to have his foot amputated his.
The night before his surgery, St. Peregrine spent hours in prayer. As he slept, he had a dream that Christ touched him and healed his foot. The thrill of it happening woke him up! In the dim moonlight, he looked down and saw that his foot was completely healed.
The Church has since appointed him patron of persons with cancer, foot ailments, HIV/AIDS or any incurable disease.