The Angel of Hope Planning Committee announced a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Angel of Hope Memorial Garden. The ceremony took place on Saturday, June 16, 2001 at Pinhook Park in South Bend.
Lisa Haines welcomes parents, friends, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles to the ceremony. Lisa then introduced the Angel of Hope committee members.
Linda Mullenix shares how the project got started. “In August of 2000 I lost my youngest son Scottie to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. His baby-sitter
wanted to do something special in memory of Scottie. We planned a ‘Hacienda Gives Back Night in Memory of Scottie’. We needed to find the right cause for the money that would be raised. I called Jerry Nussbaum the chaplain from the ‘Forget me Not Support Group’ to help me think of something. He said that he had just received an e-mail from Sandi Daniels about a very wonderful project. Sandi was another mother who had lost a child and since joined the committee. Jerry forwarded the e-mail to me … it was the Angel of Hope website and it explained how you can have your own Angel of Hope statue in your home town. I contacted Lisa Haines, Lisa Rupert and Jerry along with Reg Wagle.”
We had a vision and the dream began.
A vision forms into a design…
Timothy J. Wall AIA, an architect and member of the planning committee, talks about the Memorial Garden he designed for the Angel of Hope Statue.
“I have been asked to describe the design of the memorial garden. While I would like to be able to tell you that there is a deep symbolism that the design is based on, I can’t. There were, however, a number of guiding factors that led to the plan. First and foremost is the statue. Everything here leads to the statue and early on we decided that the statue would be at the end of the garden, rather than a central element, so that groups and individuals could gather in front of the statue, rather than around it. Tied with that was the decision that this memorial would be large enough for groups to gather in, just like all of us today.
Second, was a sense of enclosure and privacy to give the grieving parent a secure place to mourn.
This led to the use of the ellipse, which wraps around the area, much like enclosing arms. The walls are low, to give separation from the public park, but also the security of being visible to the public.
Then there is the path. There is not a straight path from the parking lot to the statue. It starts narrow and as it curves there is a transition from outside to inside. Within the walls it continues to curve and the path widens until it opens up to face the statue.
Finally, there are elements that make this more than just a statue in a park. The flowers in the planter and the flowering dogwoods bring color and new life to the garden. It is by choice that they are along the path leading to the statue. The benches provide a place to sit and reflect, to spend some time. And again, it is by choice that the benches are in the lawn area along the wall, to give some sense of separation even within the garden for private thoughts. And the memorial bricks will give us all ownership and a presence here.
There is some symbolism that can be seen in the design. Looking at the plan one might see a child in a parent’s arms, an angel, or even a womb. But these are for the visitor to see only if they wish, and offer the chance to discover something not immediately obvious.
The materials are simple. The statue base will be Indiana limestone. Here there is some intentional symbolism. The base is made up of two steps and a top block. The bottom step is rough, the middle step is less rough and the top block is smooth. This transition symbolizes changes in our grief, from the rough beginning, transitioning to smoothness and healing that only time provides, and the angel of hope on top.”
Creating a Space…Choosing a Park
Scott Carson shares with everyone how we picked the location of Pinhook. We wanted a place that was peaceful and quiet. We were looking for a space where people with a loss of a child could find hope, a place to go and find peace. When Scott found Pinhook it was a beautiful place with the water all around. It was the place for our angel.
“We wanted it to be a place of reflection and remembrance for all who have lost a child of any age.”
Everyone shared in the Ground Breaking!
Blessing of the Grounds was done by Alan Bowman.
Everyone shared in the Ground Breaking!As everyone placed a flower over the area where the Statue will be placed.
They thought of loved ones who will be remembered here.
Friends and supporters of the project.
Mayor Steve Luecke came out to Pinhook Park for the Groundbreaking ceremony, to support the project.
The Angel of Hope Committee Members
The Dedication Ceremony
How the Garden Grew
The Angel of Hope...
The Christmas Box Angel Statue or the Angel of Hope as it is sometimes referred to, was introduced to the world in the book The Christmas Box, a worldwide bestseller and hit television movie by author Richard Paul Evans. In the book, a woman mourns the loss of her child at the base of an angel monument.
Though the story is mostly fiction, the angel monument once existed but was lost in the 1984 Salt Lake City flood. A new bronze statue was commissioned by the author in response to reports that grieving parents were seeking out the angel as a place to grieve and heal. The first angel monument was dedicated in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 6, 1994. Since this time, 100 other angel monuments have been dedicated across the country with more being built.
The South Bend angel is the 25th angel to be dedicated.
Plans to erect an angel monument in the Michiana area started in the fall of 2000. A group of bereaved parents and other community members shared a vision of a quiet place where families could go to remember their children and heal. With this vision in mind, the group decided to create a memorial garden with the Angel of Hope as it's centerpiece.
The Angel of Hope statue is made by Ortho and Jared Fairbanks, a father and son team. Timothy J. Wall AIA, an architect and member of the planning committee designed the garden.
The Angel of Hope Memorial Garden was dedicated on Sunday, October 28, 2001 with over 500 persons in attendance.
The Angel of Hope Memorial Garden is located in South Bend’s beautiful Pinhook Park, overlooking the St. Joseph River.
The garden is surrounded by tall shade trees and flowering dogwoods. Flowers bloom in the planter that gently leads visitors along the brick pathway to the Angel of Hope statue. The four foot tall bronze statue of a little girl angel with arms reaching outward provides comfort to those who grieve. The lawn and benches within the walls of the garden provide a quiet and peaceful place in the park for reflection. The memorial bricks which make up the 'Path of Lost Dreams' help families and other visitors to remember and pay tribute to those children, regardless of age, whose parents and families must go on without them.
It is anticipated that the Angel of Hope Memorial Garden will serve an important need in the Michiana community now and in the future.