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Gaze of compassion

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A bronze-cast bust of Venerable Mary Potter has been installed in the foyer of the new Calvary Adelaide Hospital to remind staff, patients and visitors of the legacy of the founder of the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary.

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The artwork was crafted by local sculptor Meliesa Judge, who also created the Stations of the Cross for the hospital chapel, and her partner Will Kuiper in their Liquid Metal Foundry.

The interpretation of Mary Potter, whose Order established Calvary health services across Australia, reflects her commitment to prayerful contemplation as well as her compassion and active support for the poorest and most vulnerable.

Attached to the sculpture is a description of Mary Potter written more than 100 years ago by Ruth Lindsay in The Month magazine. She wrote: ‘I can visualise her suddenly and convincingly, almost as though I had only now left her bare, white room. I see her, as usual, between the open door and the open window, the beloved little figure, so erect upon her couch of pain…I recall her face: very tired, very loving and alive with that wonderful listening expression.’

Susan Holoubek, director of Mission at Calvary Adelaide Hospital, said the quote came to Meliesa’s attention after she had completed the design but uncannily captures some of her core design elements including “the quality of the gaze, Mary Potter’s slight smile, the way the veil and shawl is wrapped around the figure, the fragile and slightly strained quality of the invalid that she was, her enormous other-centeredness, in spite of her own physical pain and challenges”.

“It is a figure that is multi-dimensional and keeps working on you over time,” said Ms Holoubek.

“We hope it serves as a reminder to our Calvary staff and patients of the legacy of deep compassion that we carry forward in the Sisters’ name, and which we aspire to build into every aspect of the care we provide.”

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