Park Hill senior sends love and prayers to St. Luke’s North Hospital through origami project

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Park Hill High senior is using paper and prayer to help people during their most vulnerable times.

Lauren Szala recently folded a thousand origami butterflies with the help students at St. Therese School in Kansas City. The artwork is currently on display inside the chapel at St. Luke’s North Hospital, where Szala’s mom works.

“I had no clue what I was going to do with it and then we had the idea to put it in the hospital, but I had no idea it would have this big of an impact on people’s lives,” said Lauren Szala.

Lauren said she got the idea from an ancient Japanese legend that promises healing if you fold a thousand origami cranes.

“You’re supposed to say a prayer as you’re folding it or write it in there,” said Szala.

Sally Baehni, the chaplain at St. Luke’s North, welcomed the artwork. She saw it as an opportunity for the community to use it as meditation and pray for their loved ones.

“To have these moments when we can come someplace and reconnect with that part of oneself—our soul, our maker, our divine being with some kind of meditation opportunity—to be in touch with that, we feel reconnected,” said Baehni.

Szala said the display took about three months to complete. It continues to grow as people add their own prayers and butterflies to the piece.