Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Nun of My Business

Nun of My Business - This past week I got to hear the Superioress General of the Daughters of Charity (that is the head nun of the largest group of religious women in the world) and Sr. Carol Keehan, also a D.C. and the recently appointed President/CEO of the Catholic Health Association, speak about the role the Daughters of Charity have had and continue to have in healthcare. The Daughters are seriously committed to healthcare as a ministry of the Catholic Church and they have been doing healthcare for almost 400 years. That gives them quite a bit of credibility when it comes to sticking to the mission and evolving with the times.

Point in fact, a number of Daughters of Charity were beheaded during the French Revolution in the 1790s (and we are nervous that the OIG is tough on physician contracts!). More recently, one of the Daughter's hospitals in San Francisco was destroyed in the earthquake shortly after it was built. That was the 1906 earthquake by the way. What did the sisters do? Rebuild and keep on caring for the sick and the poor. I have to say that I am deeply moved by the sister's commitment to the mission and encouraged by their stories of adversity. Indeed, many Catholic hospitals have harrowing stories to tell from their own history.

How did the Daughters evolve with the times? Well, for the most part, the Daughters were the pioneers in healthcare, especially in America. When the military needed nurses to care for soldiers in the Civil War, it was the Daughters (and possibly other religious orders - of that I am not sure) that cared for both sides. When the settlers headed West for land and gold, it was the Daughters that founded the first hospitals West of the Mississippi and the first hospitals in Northern and Southern California.

So as we work towards the healthcare system of the future, we can bet that the Daughters of Charity will be right there at our side, leading the charge and caring for the sick and the poor.


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  • I was just browsing "Daughters of Charity" and found your great Post. I'm a Daughter of Charity and so appreciate your historical overview of our Sisters contributions--sometimes at the cost of their lives--in the health field. We had 39 Sisters from our West Central Province who fled Hurricane Katrina and are now back beginning the recovery process with their neighbors and co-workers, clients and patients.
    Picking up and re-building after natural disasters threads through the history of the Daughters of Charity, too. Two of our Sisters, Sr. Margaret Ann Gainey and Sr. Estela Morales are working on a book, STEEL FRAMES, that is a collection of the writings and telegrams of the Daughters of Charity who lived through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It will be out before the 100th anniversary of the Quake. I will have info on our Province site when it is available for anyone interested:
    In 1852 five Daughters sailed down the eastern coast and headed across the isthmus of Panama on mule back. Two died of cholera on the way and the surviving sisters began the Roman Catholic Orphanage for the many orphans. Their first child was the eighteen month old daughter of an American soldier whose wife also died in the crossing.
    They were great women of faith and courage (I think one is always with the other). Of course, from the beginning our founders, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, knew that we could only serve effectively if we had the support of people who believed in what we were doing and wanted to partner with us in serving.
    Thanks again for your affirmation of the health aspect of our many ministries to God's people. God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving.
    Sr. Betty Marie Dunkel, D.C.

    By Anonymous Sr. Betty M. Dunkel, D.C., at 3:51 PM  

  • Andrew Barna, I got to say your post on Nun of My Business best describes healthcare management education!!

    By Blogger Belinda Gwen, at 1:46 AM  

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