Sister Blandina Wellness Gardens Opens This Sunday in Downtown Trinidad

Trinidad, Colo., July 15, 2021 – Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center is pleased to announce the expansion of its main campus to Downtown Trinidad. Opening this Sunday, July 18th, Sister Blandina Wellness Gardens brings to the heart of Trinidad a majestic outdoor setting for health and wellness programs, spiritual reflection, family fun, cultural celebrations and special events. The community celebration is expected to draw upwards of 500 in-person attendees plus hundreds of online viewers. 

Located at 225 N. Commercial Street, the Gardens is a tribute to Sister Blandina, who at the age of 22, was sent alone over the Santa Fe Trail to Trinidad. She pioneered education and created School District 1, the first school district in Colorado. Sister Blandina faithfully served the Trinidad community for nearly a decade in the late 1800s, was a champion for children and the oppressed, and is now being considered for canonization. Over two centuries later, her impact is still being felt in Trinidad today. 

The opening festivities will begin with a mass, blessing and dedication with presiding prelate His Most Reverend Bishop Stephen J. Berg of the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo, Bishop Emeritus Michael J. Sheridan of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs and The Most Reverend Bishop James R. Golka of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs. 

Life-size statue of Sister Blandina by renowned sculptor Fred Darpino; 5 ft., 4in. statue placed near the main entrance of the Gardens; photos provided by Trinidad Construction Group
Linda Weise, Founder of the Colorado Springs Conservatory, and student Elena Soto provide a theatrical performance of Sister Blandina in her younger and older years; photos provided by Colorado Springs Conservatory

Attendees will experience a storytelling performance by acclaimed film producer Michael Fitzgerald, screenwriter and filmmaker Brendan Fitzgerald, and Allen Sanchez, initiator of the cause for canonization of St. Blandina. The Colorado Springs Conservatory will perform a theatrical reenactment of Sister Blanding in her younger and older years with actors Linda Weise, founder of the Conservatory and Elena Soto. Musical performance by Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center’s Youth Orchestra and local performers Tom Lang, Chris Smith and Randy Welch. Las Animas County District 1 Commissioner Felix Lopez and Trinidad City Council Member and KCRT radio personality Eli Debono will serve as masters of ceremony for the morning and evening events, respectively. 

The site of the Gardens, over one acre in size, was once occupied by three buildings. In the Spring of 2020, the Trinidad Construction Group started redeveloping the area. Steered by the vision of Jay Cimino, Founder of Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center and CEO of Phil Long Enterprise, Sister Blandina Wellness Gardens has waterfall features, a reflection pool, a gazebo for special events and performances, a fire pit, a pergola for upcoming food markets, wellness walks, fitness stations and a 5 ft., 4 in. life-sized bronze statue designed by Pueblo-born and renowned sculptor Fred Darpino. 

With over 9,000 flowers, the architected floral design includes a combination of pine and deciduous trees including blue spruce, hawthorns, pear and plumb trees, as well as shrubs including spirea, barberry, grasses, red roses and beautiful flower beds 

displaying zinnias, coleus, petunias, salvias and marigolds. The flowers were directly ordered from a Brighton, CO grower with Sister Blandina in mind. The Gardens will also have five fitness stations and a playground. 

The new downtown location offers additional opportunities to support the health and well-being of Las Animas County, which is ranked as one of the lowest counties in Colorado for best health and wellness. Sister Blandina Wellness Gardens is part of the schedule of activities in this year’s Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial Commemoration. 

Sister Blandina Wellness Gardens Grand Opening Details: 

Who: Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center 

What: Grand opening celebration of new downtown location, expanding health and wellness programs for Las Animas County 

When: Sunday, July 18; line-up of events 

  • 9:30am: Gates open 
  • 10:00am – 11:15am: Mass, Blessing and Dedication; His Most Reverend Bishop Stephen J. Berg of the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo, Bishop Emeritus Michael J. Sheridan of Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs and The Most Reverend Bishop James R. Golka of Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs. 
  • 11:15am: Guest Speakers Sister Judith Metz, historian for the Sister of Charity, and City of Trinidad Mayor Phil Rico 
  • 11:30am – 12pm: Colorado Springs Conservatory, theatrical reenactment of Sister Blandina in her younger and older years; Linda Weise, founder of Colorado Springs Conservatory, and Elena Soto performing 
  • 12pm – 12:30pm: Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center Youth Orchestra led by Conductor Jacob Seekatz 
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm: Live music by Tom Lang 
  • 2:00pm- 3pm: Live music by Chris Smith and Randy Welch 
  • 1:00pm – 4pm: Free trolley tours of historic downtown Trinidad, on the hour 
  • 6:00pm – 7:00pm: Live Sister Blandina story telling performance by acclaimed film producer Michael Fitzgerald, screenwriter Brendan Fitzgerald and Allen Sanchez, initiator of the cause for canonization of St. Blandina 
  • 7:00pm – 9:00pm: Live music by the CappTon Reid Band 

Where: 225 N. Commercial Street, Trinidad CO 81082; Street closures starting at 6:00am at Commercial and Main, and Commercial and Elm. After 9:00am, street closures at Commercial and Church, and Commercial and Convent. 

Emcees: Las Animas County District 1 Commissioner Felix Lopez (9:30am – 12:30am) and City Council Member and KCRT radio personality Eli Debono (6:00pm – 9:00pm) 

How: Register online at www.mtcarmelcenter.org or by calling 719.575.7463. Live-streaming on Trinidad local Comcast channel 71 and on YouTube Channel TrinidadTimesTV71. 

Sister Blandina Wellness Gardens is operated by Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center. The Gardens’ business office is located within the Champions Building, 127 N. Commercial Street, Colorado Springs, CO, Monday through Friday, from 9am -12pm. 

Media is invited to attend. Interviews available upon request. 

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