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Cabrini unveils sculpture by prominent Melbourne artist


Cabrini Health is proud to officially unveil VIGIL – The Heart of Cabrini sculpture by prominent Melbourne artist Simon Perry.

The sculpture was designed to celebrate the life and work of Mother Cabrini, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the doctors, nurses and staff of the Cabrini hospital, who have provided support and healthcare to the community for more than 70 years.

Commemorating the centenary of the death of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in 1917, the story behind the 7.4-metre sculpture will speak heart-to-heart to people coming into the hospital day and night, whether as patients, volunteers, visitors or staff.

The artwork utilises various themes from the history of Mother Cabrini’s life, the Sacred Heart, and combines them with more contemporary references relating to medicine and technology, including the heart rhythm graphs seen on electrocardiogram monitors.

VIGIL – The Heart of Cabrini sculpture, positioned near the main entrance to our Malvern hospital, was partly funded by the Cabrini Italians of Melbourne.

Perry said his ambition was to create a sculpture that was thought-provoking and visually striking and one that makes a positive contribution to the site and community long into the future.

“My intention was to create an innovative public artwork that would commemorate the life, work and legacy of Mother Cabrini and the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, whilst also highlighting the site of the contemporary hospital and the incredible work undertaken by its staff in their care of the Melbourne community,” Perry said.

Cabrini Board member Sister Sharon Casey MSC said after having worked on the sculpture project for the past five years, she was “astonished and in momentary awe” to see it installed.

“It is an extraordinary work of art that is visually arresting and, as you look at it, gently invites you into it, in the hope of finding light and inspiration,” Sr Sharon said.

Cabrini Foundation Acting Director Susie Santilli said thanks to the Cabrini Italians of Melbourne, the community now has a “beautiful sculpture to reflect our rich Italian heritage”.

“Due to their support we now have this sculpture, which offers a place of reflection for our patients, visitors and our staff to enjoy,” Mrs Santilli said.

About Cabrini Health

Cabrini is a not-for-profit Catholic health service owned and operated by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who came to Australia in 1948. Cabrini now has more than 800 beds and offers a comprehensive range of health services. We have hospitals in Malvern, including a 24 hour emergency department and the award-winning Cabrini Gandel Wing, Brighton and Elsternwick – with the new Lisa Thurin Women’s Health Centre.

About Simon Perry

Simon Perry is a British born sculptor and academic who has been living and working in Melbourne for the past 30 years. Best known for his large-scale public artworks for urban space in Australia and overseas, Perry has received a number of awards and prizes including The Prix de Rome, the RA Gold Medal for Sculpture and the Landseer scholarship award. In 2020 he completed a PhD at RMIT University.

Media enquiries
Anna Brain
M: 0436 928 801