time passages

By kateandcarla

June 9, 2011

Category: Uncategorized

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The first was inscribed 1918.  The second, 1939.  The third, 1966.

Three cornerstones, each containing a time capsule.  

I watched them opened yesterday morning at St. Anthony Central Hospital here in Denver, part of a final celebration of the old campus before the move to a stellar new site in just over a week. http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_18235080 

Having recently written the small memory book being given associates and guests to mark the transition, I know this story well. Seven nuns arrive in frontier Colorado in the 1880s, answering the Union Pacific’s plea for nurses for their workers. The feisty Sister Huberta refuses to take no for an answer when the Bishop tells her the Sisters’ vision of a hospital is too expensive. Nuns travel on muddy roads to the mining camps and standing in front of saloons and barbershops, begging and praying. And that’s just the well-publicized part.

Digging through archives, I also saw court documents detailing how the Sisters fought back during Prohibition when their medicinal whiskey was seized. (They won.) And how Sister Huberta talked regularly with St. Anthony, telling him where the most urgent needs were and that they really needed him to snap to it. (The nuns laugh that he must have taken her seriously.) So to see original photos of and letters from the original Seven Sisters (the 1961 capsule held the contents of the very first, dated 1892) had me blinking. And seeing the headlines of fragile newspapers had me thinking. All three of these cornerstones were laid during times of international conflict. The people placing the capsules had not only survived The Great Depression, but provided medical services–usually, for free–during the worst of it. So, what’s the message behind the mementoes?

Show up.  Hold on. Keep caring. And don’t take no for an answer when you know there’s a better answer.

So…if you were to fill a time capsule today to be opened by your descendants a century from now, what would you include?

And what message would you be sending?

                        

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