Last week, we all enjoyed a mighty chuckle at Loretta’s Nightmare Kitchen. I’ve been given a couple of things to try that she did really well, and I’ll soon be giving everyone a look into my kitchen while I try one of them. The other involves something that has exploded while cooking, in the past (I am looking at you, Lewis children 🙂 ), so hahaha no I will not be doing that.
What I’d like to show everyone, this week, is a piece of Loretta’s legacy that is rarely spoken of, outside of the fan community. You’ll see countless mentions of her command of fashion and style, her movies and her TV show, among… other things, but just casual brushes with her volunteer efforts. In fact, because of her countless hours spent with patients at Desert Regional Medical Center, a new chapel was created, and dedicated in her honor.
Hospital Honors Loretta Young with Chapel
— New Interfaith Sanctuary Open 24 Hours a Day —
By Laura Waskin / The Desert Sun
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — She brought love and laughter to millions of movie and television viewers in roles that spanned three quarters of a century.
But Loretta Young’s concern for others — and dedication to her faith — also
was legendary. The former Palm Springs resident devoted many off-screen hours to charitable works.
Young’s visits and the comfort she brought to patients at Desert Regional
Medical Center inspired volunteer coordinator Guy Lawson. He spearheaded fund-raising efforts for the hospital’s new Loretta Young Louis Memorial Chapel, which was dedicated Wednesday.
Young’s daughter, Judy Lewis, and actor Richard Thomas were among the guests at the dedication ceremony.
“Loretta attended Mass in our chapel five days a week for as long as I can
remember,” said Lawson, who has been with the hospital for eight years. “She liked it because it was small and intimate.”
Lawson said that after he and Young became friends, she agreed to become an honorary volunteer at the hospital.
“Many of the special-care floor patients, which include hospice, AIDS and
acute-care patients, would come down and speak to her. She always insisted that the chapel door be left open. And Loretta often went upstairs to visit
with them, too.
“Loretta had the biggest heart in the world, and when she came in here she left her stardom outside the door,” he said.
After Young died in August 2000, Lawson said he wanted to do something special to honor her memory. In keeping with a subject close to Young’s heart, Lawson said he came up with the idea of building a new, larger chapel to provide comfort to patients, friends and families of the hospital.
The new interfaith chapel sits off of the hospital’s main lobby. Soft music
plays in the background, and the oak-backed pews can seat up to 25 people.
The original stained-glass window from the hospital’s former chapel is in place above the altar, while a new bronze sculpture of an angel stands at the back. The angel, which resembles Young, was created by Paramount producer Gant Gaither, a close friend of Young.
“The new, more convenient location indicates the hospital’s commitment to
making spiritual wellness a priority,” said Pastor Vincent McMorrow-Purcell,
chaplain at Desert Regional Medical Center.
“It’s an essential ingredient of the facility. The hospital recognizes
holistic care is for mind, body and soul.”
The development of the nearly $250,000 chapel was possible through donations from Desert Healthcare Foundation, Tiempo de los Niños, Hospice of the Desert Communities, Desert Regional Medical Center/Auxiliary and Young’s friends.
The chapel is open 24 hours a day to patients, visitors and staff of the
The Desert Sun / Palm Springs, Calif.
April 4, 2002
“Loretta had the biggest heart in the world…” Yes, that is becoming quite apparent to me! And the thing is that she didn’t do any of this stuff because she had to or because a church said she needed to. She just… did. She had no pretense about being any different than anyone else in this world. She gave comfort to strangers because that’s just what humans are supposed to do for one another. She was the epitome of loving one’s neighbor.