SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – October 26, 2021 – Today, French Hospital Medical Center held a special blessing ceremony to dedicate the magnificent tower bell, sponsored by longtime supporters Bill and Cheryl Swanson, to eventually be placed in the bell tower of the interfaith Swanson Family Chapel. The impressive bell was custom forged and inscribed from a foundry renowned for forging bells since 1840, and is currently on display in the hospital’s lobby, in anticipation of the completion of the Swanson Family Chapel, which broke ground in April.
To enhance the healing of a patient’s body, mind, and soul, the Swanson’s made a transformational gift of $2.75 million to the Beyond Health campaign. With this generous support, the hospital is building a serene interfaith chapel—Swanson Family Chapel, which includes the majestic bell tower.
“This impressive piece of artwork is symbolic and meaningful to our hospital and the rich history of our community,” says French Hospital Medical Center President and CEO, Alan Iftiniuk. “It celebrates our local architecture, stands as a pillar of strength for our patients and caregivers, and will serve as a beacon of inspiration to both our hospital and our city.”
The style of the bell tower was carefully considered, and is synonymous with mission style architecture of San Luis Obispo and Spanish missions in California. It will serve as the crowning jewel of the interfaith Swanson Family Chapel, an inclusive and diverse sanctuary for patients and their families to seek solace.
The new chapel will accommodate up to 65 people, as well as patient gurneys. A dramatic centerpiece is the inclusion of customized stained glass windows being designed by world renowned artist Elizabeth Devereaux, who has over 45 years of glass art experience. This exquisite artwork will create a breathtaking ambience reflecting hope and peace. The chapel will also feature a majestic bell tower with a unique cast bell. Construction of the chapel is currently underway.
To learn more about this project and future projects, visit gobeyondhealth.org.
[PHOTOS: Top - Alan Iftiniuk, French Hospital President and CEO, and donors Bill and Cheryl Swanson lead the ceremony; Bottom - Flora Washburn, French Hospital Chaplain, offers a blessing over the bell]
About French Hospital Medical Center
French Hospital Medical Center is a state-of-the-art, 112-bed acute care hospital located in San Luis Obispo, CA. French’s Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine is the area’s most advanced emergency services center. The modern facility is home to the Copeland, Forbes, and Rossi Cardiac Care Center, is the county’s premier cardiac center, providing the latest cardiac and imaging technology, and the Hearst Cancer Resource Center offering free education, resources and support to cancer patients and their families.
French Hospital Medical Center together with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, CA and Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, CA make up Dignity Health Central Coast, a network of hospitals, physicians, and outpatient services including physician offices, ambulatory surgery centers, technologically-advanced laboratories and imaging centers, and a full service home health agency.