The Wege Foundation Honors Peter Wege’s Mother

Sophia’s Guest House at Saint Mary’s Health Care is named after Sophia Dubridge Wege, Peter M. Wege’s mother. The three-story  Guest House – built in 1959 to house hospital interns – has been gutted and renovated earning LEED certification for environmental construction.

Sophia’s House’s 15 private rooms with bath offer families of overnight patients who live 30 miles or more from Grand Rapids a welcoming home across the street from Saint Mary’s. Since one-fourth of the hospital’s in-patients come from out of town, Sophia’s House fills an important need.

While all patients’ families are welcome, Saint Mary’s sees the new Guest House as vital to its kidney transplant program. As West Michigan’s only adult kidney transplant hospital – the University of Michigan’s is the next closest – Saint Mary’s needed a comforting place to house those patients’ family members on short-notice.

“We have a kidney for you. Come now!”  The phone call patients have been waiting a long time to hear comes anytime 24/7. Packing is the last thing on that family’s agenda. They are in the car and gone.

Exhilarated and exhausted, these families now have a homelike place to crash, eat meals, do laundry, and then cross Lafayette Street to spend time with their hospitalized loved one. In their rooms they’ll find free WiFi, cable TV, a coffee maker, a master bedroom with a king/queen mattress, and a guest room that sleeps up to four more family members.

Sophia’s House, with its fireplaced living room, a fully stocked community kitchen, and quiet reflective spaces, charges $35 a night for families who can pay it and reduced rates for others. Thanks to a generous endowment, no family will be turned away.

**Pictured above in hard hats on a construction-site tour of Saint Mary’s Sophia’s Guest House: L to R, Simie Bredeweg, R.N. Manager of the  Kidney Transplant Center; Ellen Satterlee, CEO of The Wege Foundation, and Terri McCarthy, The Foundation’s V.P. of Programming; Caitlin Wege, great-granddaughter of Sophia Louise Wege for whom the Guest House is named; Michelle Rabideau, Director of the Saint Mary’s Foundation.

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Inside Sophia’s Guest House: Caitlin Wege, on a visit from San Diego, California, where she is a designer for one of Steelcase’s healthcare distributorships; Michelle Rabideau, Ellen Satterlee, Terri McCarthy, and Simie Bredeweg.
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Saint Mary’s Health Care is seen directly across the street through the window of Sophia’s Guest House during construction.