Sister Mary Balbina Farrell, one of the founders of St. Mary’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center, Grand Junction, Colo., was recently recognized as a “Legend of the Grand Valley” with the unveiling of a bronze sculpture of her likeness on Main Street. The October 15 unveiling of the third piece in the Historic Sculptures: Legends of the Grand Valley public art project in downtown Grand Junction, gave visitors and area residents the opportunity to learn about the founder of the region’s first hospital. ”The name Balbina Farrell is very familiar to employees of St. Mary’s. She represents the dedication, persistence, and compassion we strive for in our daily work,” says Sister Barbara Aldrich, vice president of Mission Integration for the hospital.
Farrell and Sister Mary Louisa Madden traveled to the frontier town of Grand Junction in 1895 at the request of the local clergy. The sisters collected funds door to door to build the first St. Mary’s Hospital, a 10-bed St. Mary’s Hospital, which opened May 22, 1896. On the hospital’s opening day, the local newspaper, the Daily Sentinel, expressed the community’s gratitude: “Here, without distinction as to race, creed or color, the afflicted at all times may find a refuge.””This recognition of our founder’s place in Grand Valley history and their contributions to the thriving community we know today is very gratifying,” says Aldrich. St. Mary’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center, a 348-bed facility serving western Colorado and eastern Utah, is part of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System of Kansas.