BY NEIL ELFORD
The wide-open glass doors of the Worship Centre in the new Providence Care Hospital beckon all to come in. As people enter the space for the first time and take in the view of Lake Ontario, the outdoor labyrinth and the gardens, many are heard saying, “Oh wow, this is so peaceful!”
At the heart of the hospital is a sanctuary where any person can feel welcomed to pray, meditate or just simply “be”. Water, reminding us of the origins of life and our baptism flows down one of the walls, offering a cleansing and renewing presence. The inspiration for the curved wall and the flowing water came to the architects when they visited the Chapel of Mary Mother of Compassion at Providence Motherhouse. We can always feel affinity to our Founders through the architectural design in the Worship Centre.
The Adoration Chapel is set apart at the front of the Worship Centre so those who wish to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament can experience the healing and peace for which they long. The weekly Rosary group uses this space as they pray together.
The design of the feature wall at the front of the sanctuary was inspired by the South Wall in the Roman Catholic Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp, France, which is one of the finest examples of the architecture of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. The labyrinth in the floor of the Worship Centre replicates the world famous labyrinth in the Cathedral in Notre Dame de Chartres. The door to the outside deck enables those who wish to have prayers and then draw their last breath to do so out in God’s creation.
Public hospitals in Canada serve an increasingly diverse population. Down the hall from the Worship Centre is the Meditation Room, designed for more intimate prayers and meditation. Daily prayers by people of the Muslim faith can be oriented by the Qibla on the wall. The cardinal directions marked on the floor and the walls enable Indigenous persons to honor the four directions as they pray in their traditional ways. Staff and physicians use the space for meditation and other forms of prayer, enabling them to be centered in their service to those persons seeking healing at Providence Care Hospital.
Providence Care Hospital provides sacred spaces and respectful relationships so that all persons, regardless of the nature of their beliefs, can honor and draw upon their spiritual practices to provide them with the spiritual resilience and strength they require for their healing journey.