Blessing for restored cross, renovated James Tower

  • Written by Julie A. Ferraro
  • Published in Local
The restored cross atop the tower of the historic Providence Hospital was blessed by Archbishop Paul D. Etienne and illuminated during a September 24 ceremony. Photo: Courtesy Tatoosh Media The restored cross atop the tower of the historic Providence Hospital was blessed by Archbishop Paul D. Etienne and illuminated during a September 24 ceremony. Photo: Courtesy Tatoosh Media

SEATTLE – The restored cross atop the historic Providence Hospital tower was relit during a recent blessing ceremony led by Archbishop Paul D. Etienne.

“Here, we call to mind the goodness of God as well as express our gratitude for the women religious who give such concrete expression to God’s Providence,” Archbishop Etienne said September 24 as he stood at the base of what is now called James Tower on the campus of Swedish Cherry Hill Medical Center.

The archbishop referred to Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart and four other Sisters of Providence, who came from Montreal, Canada, in 1856 and, within years, opened the first hospital in the Washington territory, built schools and cared for the needs of the poor.


Restoration of the cross was part of a multi-year renovation of James Tower, as the historic Providence Hospital building is now known. Photo: Courtesy Sabey Corporation

Mother Joseph oversaw the creation of Seattle’s Providence Hospital in 1877. The present facility, built in 1910, affiliated with Swedish Health Services in 2012.

The historic tower and cross, which the archbishop said were severely damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, have been restored by the current owner, Seattle’s Sabey Corporation, a real estate development and investment company.

In 2003, Sabey began redevelopment of the historic Providence Hospital, and now leases space in the building to Swedish Medical Center’s Neuroscience Institute as well as other clinical, research and medical training facilities, according to Eileen DeArmon, Sabey’s director of marketing and communications.

Tina Tufts, Sabey’s senior property manager, said “layers and layers of paint” were removed from the cross atop the tower, and what may have been the original lighting from the 1930s was replaced with modern LED lighting.

“It was important to preserve a piece of history,” Tufts said.

“Tonight as we bless this illuminated cross,” Archbishop Etienne said, “we are grateful for this 100-plus-year history of medical care provided by the Sisters of Providence, along with all who have served in collaboration with them.”

“We pray this excellence of Catholic health care will continue for another 100 years in our community,” he added.

James Tower cross illumination/Tatoosh Media