When I went to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital to visit my dad in Ann Arbor Michigan, I stopped by to pray at the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel. I also went to Mass once. In front of the chapel was this wood carving.
I also, like all of you, sat in front of it puzzled. Who are the women, what’s in their hands? What does it mean? Then it came to me. A catholic hospital, especially one with the word “mercy” in it’s name, practices the Corporal Acts of Mercy.
The six items held by the women representing the virtues or acts of mercy are taken straight from the Gospels – from Matthew 25:34-36 and are the basis for judging whether people are going to heaven or hell.
From the gospel we read: “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; ?for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, ? I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'”
Humbling words! I think the 5th image represents flowers that are often brought to the sick in hospitals.