During the height of the pandemic, many of us sought comfort any- where. A thankfully early spring ushered people outside, and, with a stocked portfolio of parks and green spaces, Evansville delivered.
The convergence of a global health crisis grinding daily life to a halt and the start of spring sparked an idea at Ascension St. Vincent Evansville. The East Side hospital was closed to visitors, so many patients’ loved ones gathered just outside the facility. Healthcare workers, too, were stretched thin and often took breaks outdoors. The idea was to offer people on the campus a place to decompress, reflect, and experience stillness in an increasingly chaotic time.
Two years later, the health system unveiled Serenity Park, set in a sliver of wooded space near the campus’ Bellemeade Avenue entrance. Picnic tables are sprinkled throughout a shaded green space that is anchored by a garden featuring a restored cross from the campus’ original chapel. Serenity Park is dedicated to the memory of Sister Jane McConnell, a Franciscan nun who passed away in May 2022. Sister Jane served as a chaplain and, later, the director of mission integration at the then-called St. Mary’s Health Center for nearly 25 years.
The park’s July 2022 opening coincided with Ascension St. Vincent Evansville’s 150th anniversary and included a blessing for all who seek peace in the private setting.
SIT A SPELL