Our Ministry of Hospitality:
A Home Away from Home for Patients’ Families

Patients often do much better when they are surrounded by their family and loved ones. Thus, for many years, the St. Mary’s Volunteer Auxiliary has operated four guest cottages to help meet the needs of patients and their families, who need overnight accommodations – a “home away from home.”


This is a rendering of the St. Mary’s Guest House.  When finished, the nearly 11,000-square-foot house will feature 12-14 guest rooms, a library and business center, a reflection room/chapel, large kitchens and large centralized gathering rooms.

Thanks to generosity of a local foundation, The Reinhart Foundation, who provided the lead gift for the project, and the St. Mary’s Volunteer Auxiliary, who pledged $300,000, a fundraising initiative is now under way to create a new Guest House for St. Mary’s.

In 1997, with the help of St. Mary’s gallant engineering staff, the St. Mary’s Volunteer Auxiliary set forth to create havens of comfort and peace by transforming four small houses on St. Mary’s campus into “Guest Cottages” to meet the needs of families of hospital patients, requiring overnight accommodations.

Named for the donors who provided the funding for the renovations, the Heltzer House; the Korn House; the Pawson House and the Volunteers’ House have provided the cornerstone for this
St. Mary’s Ministry of Hospitality.

St. Mary’s Guest House Campaign Chair Nancy Plageman (seated) and her husband, David,
with donors Carter C. and Beverly Chinnis.

The new house will replace the cottages and double their capacity. It will face Libbie Avenue and be built on property St. Mary’s Hospital already owns.

“There are always more people who need the service than we have the ability to take care of,” said Jerry Katz, Volunteer Auxiliary president. “So, we are delighted to help create this new facility.”

“As Bon Secours Virginia’s medical programs grow, we are able to reach patients from a far wider geographic area. Many of these advanced therapies require extended stays for the families as well as the patients. The Guest House Program may provide the only way these families can stay, support and nurture their loved one during their treatment,” said Dr. Gary R. Zeevi, medical director for the Advanced Heart Failure Center and the honorary co-chair of the Guest House fundraising initiative.

“Patients do so much better when they know that their families are taken care of,” said Nancy Plageman, a volunteer and member of the Bon Secours Richmond Foundation Board, who is co-chair of the fundraising endeavor with Carmella Bladergroen, also a member of the Foundation Board.

Guest house goalsDonors, such as Beverly and Carter C. Chinnis, value St. Mary’s Hospital’s 45 years of service to the community, and have donated generously to the Guest House campaign. “To live is to give, and we are grateful that we can support the hospital’s plan for a Guest House. It will offer families a comforting sense of unity at a time of distress. We are hopeful that others will join us,” said Mrs. Chinnis.

The goal is to raise $2.3 million; to date the committee has raised more than $1.1 million.

To make a donation or for more information about supporting the new St. Mary’s Guest House, contact Jennifer Goins, senior development officer, jennifer_goins@bshsi.org, 804-281-8589 or visit www.bsvaf.org/guesthouse.