St. Anthony is back ‘home’ in hospital setting
Saint is the patron of expectant mothers and elderly
By TIM WENZL
Southwest Kansas Register
DODGE CITY - After an absence of 40 years, the statue of St. Anthony that once stood in the lobby of the hospital by the same name, has found a new home in the hospital chapel at Western Plains Medical Complex.
St. Anthony Hospital was operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph from 1926 until it closed in 1971. The statue was “salvaged” sometime before the building was razed in 1974. It was kept in a couple’s home for a time before it was obtained by Jim Carns, a local antique dealer. Carns had the statue for several years before he sold it to Everett Schnitzler, another antique dealer in Dodge City. The statue remained in Schnitzler’s hands for only a year or two before he traded it back to Carns for some other antiques. “Jim got the better deal I think, because I can’t even remember what I traded for,” stated Schnitzler.
The statue remained in Carns’ possession for several decades, much of the time in his home and sometimes displayed in his antique store. This past holiday season, Carns brought the statue to his store as a decoration for his Christmas bazaar. Father Dennis Zimmerman, rector of St. Cornelius Church and president of the Board of Trustees for Western Plains Medical Complex, heard about the statue and initiated efforts to obtain it.
“Someone saw it and then Emily Schultz, (director of Community Relations), from the hospital came to visit with me,” said Carns. “When she told me what they had in mind and that the statue would remain in Dodge City, I sold it to them. I wouldn’t have sold it otherwise.”
The Western Plains Volunteer Auxiliary worked in securing donations to purchase the statue. A dedication reception was held at WPMC on Feb. 15. Mike Kosar, chief executive director at the hospital, posted these comments on a local website: “At the dedication of the statue of St. Anthony, Father Dennis spoke about the symbolism St. Anthony has for our hospital and our mission of healing. As we dedicated St. Anthony, we also rededicate ourselves to bringing that mission of service and healing to our friends and neighbors.”