In anticipation of the Jan. 12 opening, the new Franciscan Health Michigan City made its long-awaited debut with a hospital blessing and a series of open houses that showcased a $243 million project 2-1/2 years in the making.
“The open houses far exceeded my expectations,” said Dean Mazzoni, president and CEO. “All three days were well attended, especially the VIP event and the community event, which were both beyond capacity.”
The celebration kicked off on Dec. 6 with the Rite of Blessing of the Altar and Dedication of the Chapel, presided over by Most Rev. Donald Hying, bishop of the Diocese of Gary. The blessing and dedication of the hospital followed, along with a VIP reception and open house that drew more than 500 guests. On Dec. 7, Franciscan Health employees got their chance to tour the hospital.
Sister Petra Nielsen, vice president of mission integration, said, “The Sisters have had a health care ministry in Michigan City for over 114 years, when our first Sisters came to Michigan City to serve the ill and needy. At that time, there were still horse and buggies traveling about. And now, this beautiful, state-of-the-art facility will allow the Sisters of St. Francis, its dedicated employees, physicians and volunteers to continue their mission another 100 years to come. “
The events culminated with the public open house on Dec. 8, where an estimated 3,000 community members got their first glimpse of the future of healthcare, enjoying self-guided tours, free health screenings, live ice sculptures and giveaways.
Mazzoni had praise for all the staff involved. “I was most excited to show off our great people – all of the blue shirt volunteers, many who attended all three days for many hours. They made the events possible and a huge success, and it reminded me of how much ownership our people have in this new facility. They helped us design and build it – doctors, nurses – alongside housekeepers and maintenance. It is their hospital!”