This plaque is displayed at the entrance of the Women’s Health Center at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, OH.
When Hannah and I attended our birthing class last Saturday, we saw it as we walked in. The plaque reads:
“As a reflection of the faith-based heritage of Riverside Methodist Hospital and our continuing ministry in healthcare, we honor Susanna Wesley as the namesake of the drive that leads to the Riverside Women’s Center and the statue that greets our patients and visitors.
The statue symbolizes her role as the mother of 19 children including John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, and Charles Wesley, who penned more than 9,000 hymns and poems. Though birth records from the time are imprecise, Susanna herself is thought to be the youngest of 25 children.
A strong, intelligent and spiritually mature woman, Susanna is known as the “Mother of Methodism.” She educated and nurtured her children in an active faith that ultimately grew through their lives into the beginnings of the Methodist movement. This movement spread through the creation of small groups, mission houses, churches, schools, children’s homes, homes for the aged and hospitals.
In addition to home-schooling her children in caring for her family within the constraints of poverty, she was also a published author and recognized spiritual leader within her community who critiqued both church and state, unafraid of controversy.
‘…there is nothing I now desire to live for but to do some small service to my children that as I have brought them into the world, so that it might please God to make me…an instrument of doing good to their souls.’
– Susanna Wesley, in a letter to her eldest son Samuel on October 11, 1709″