Meditation Garden

Inspired by majestic oaks gracing the Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital campus, the Meditation Garden is conceived as a natural cathedral, a place of refuge and reflection. Our hope is that patients, caregivers and visitors will find healing and renewal amidst nature’s beauty,and that this space will be a peaceful haven, where strength and hope blossom. The garden reflects Roper St. Francis Healthcare's commitment to caring for mind, body and spirit and our mission of “healing all people with compassion, faith and excellence.”

The Meditation Garden, including the Labyrinth, is wheelchair friendly, welcoming all patients and guests.

Meditation Garden

The garden

Designed to fully engage the senses, the Meditation Garden takes you on an inward journey enhanced by fragrant lavender, rosemary and tea olive, by peaceful sounds of cascading water and wind chimes and the various textures of stone. In keeping with the cathedral motif, the garden is comprised of four “sanctuaries” or smaller garden rooms, which one enters through a small circular cloister garden and the Grand Portal (or narthex) and then through smaller portals. The sanctuaries include the Prayer Garden, the Camellia Garden, the Labyrinth and finally the Christ Statue Garden, which lies on an axial view from the narthex, framed by oaks, as if the cathedral’s “altar.”

The Meditation Garden is dedicated in honor of The Sisters of Bon Secours and the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy.

Garden features

Grand Portal
    Grand Portal
  • Marks the garden’s entrance
  • Passage into a sacred place of beauty, peace and reflection.
Prayer Garden
    Prayer Garden
  • Interlocking spirals reflect nature’s recurrent pattern (i.e. the nautilus shell)
  • Fountain of pyramidal basalt rocks, juxtaposing permanence of mountains and fluidity of water
  • Individual benches, for privacy and reflection
Camellia Garden
    Camellia Garden
  • Figure-eight design symbolizes eternity
  • Shade offers comfort
  • Planted with evergreen sasanqua, japonica, holly and ginger
  • Modeled after the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth
  • Fragrant herbs mark turning points
  • Four quadrants (like a cross), culminate in central rose pattern
  • Level surface allows those using walkers or wheelchairs to follow the pathway
  • Download a walking guide to the Labyrinth.

Christ Statue Garden
    Christ Statue Garden
  • “Christ of Comfort and Healing” by Tim Doyle from New Haven, Indiana
  • Statue sculpted from custom-quarried limestone
  • Stand of hollies symbolizes the Passion of Christ

Landscape design by Sanford Byers, AIA, ASLA Byers Design Group, Charleston, SC

Garden symbolism

As you enjoy the garden, you may be struck primarily by the plants’ beautiful colors, textures and fragrance; however in addition to their aesthetic qualities, the plantings and design motifs have been carefully chosen for their symbolic meaning. The overall garden design conveys the sacredness of nature and celebrates the seasons of life. The plantings were selected so blooms and fragrance grace the garden each season.

Design and materials symbolism

The ancient Greeks believed that beauty is measured by symmetry, proportion and harmony, as reflected in the Golden Mean—ratios found in the Parthenon and classical architecture. Aspects of the Meditation Garden are proportioned to approximate the golden ratio: the Grand Portal is based on the golden rectangle and the Prayer Garden spirals are based on interlocking golden triangles. The figure eight design in the Camellia Garden represents eternity and everlasting life. In the Prayer Garden, the stone water sculpture represents mountains that are centers of energy, strength and connection to the earth, and water symbolizes renewal, cleansing and the source of life.

Plant symbolism

Christ Statue Garden:
  • Iris (African and Siberian), the symbol of the Fleur-de-Lis (flower of the lily), represents light and hope; the three petals represent the Trinity
  • Holly represents Christ’s crown of thorns
  • St. John’s Wort, symbol of protection
Camellia Garden:
  • Camellias symbolize admiration, perfection and loveliness
  • Dogwood symbolizes life, death and resurrection
Plants found throughout the garden:
  • Oaks represent strength, glory and immortality
  • Roses symbolize beauty, love, life, blood, death and rebirth
  • Ivy symbolizes faithfulness and eternal life
  • Ferns symbolize humility
  • Lavender symbolizes Mary’s purity and virtue
  • Rosemary represents love and fidelity

Support the garden

The Meditation Garden was made possible through the generosity of donors to the Roper St. Francis Foundation. We are grateful for their vision and support.

Please consider supporting the Meditation Garden. The Meditation Garden is not only a place of beauty and healing; it also offers a significant and lasting way to honor a loved one. Named giving opportunities are still available, as are general donations to support further garden construction and maintenance. For information about giving to the Meditation Garden, please contact the Roper St. Francis Foundation at (843) 720-1205 or make a donation now.

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