celebrates Pastoral Care Month
St. Mary’s Hospital is commemorating Pastoral Care Month to highlight the services provided by their Chaplaincy Program.
“Our staff do an excellent job in caring for each patient’s physical needs and, in doing that, they also care for their spiritual needs, too. Our hospitals and clinics truly provide for the well being of everyone who walks through our doors,” said Sr. Corinne Forsman, the SMHC Pastoral Care Coordinator.
The hospital shares a chaplain with the Monastery of St. Gertrude. Fr. Eamonn McNerney is one of the many who administer to the spiritual needs of patients. He also belongs to the SMH Ethics Committee and gives leadership to the recently formed Communion Ministers, lay ministers who offer communion to Catholic patients on Tuesdays
The Tuesday Communion Ministers include Maurus and Karen Uhlorn, Eleanor Hinkelman, Dolores Von Bargen, and Barbara Rehder. “We are so fortunate to have this group of people dedicated to providing the sacrament to patients who are unable to attend Mass,” said Sr. Corinne. Also acting as Communion minister on Fridays is Sr. Cecile Marie. She also visits patients throughout the week. “One of our roles is to be with the families who are losing a loved one. I don’t think it is ever easy, but having spiritual support during this time can help families remember that death is part of life.”
Another component of the Pastoral Care program are the No One Shall Die Alone volunteers who are available to sit with dying patients in care facilities. NOSDA members “provide a loving presence” for patients with no families nearby or for patients with families who need some respite. “I believe they have been a huge blessing to the hospital, the staff and families of the dying,” said Sr. Corrine. Those trained volunteers include Dorothy Arnoti, Barbara Adelman, Katie Cooper, Anna Gehring, Helen Huntley, Mari Sprute, Elaine Schumacher, Irma Tacke, Sally Terhaar, Dolores Von Bargen, Terri Weibert and Karla Enneking.
Each year Pastoral Care and the Mission Committee host a Memorial Service for people in the community who have died over the past year. It is a source of remembering their love, support and contributions to our lives. This year the service was held in the Spirituality Center at the Monastery.
The SMHC Mission Committee is comprised of hospital, clinic and community volunteers whose purpose is to integrate the organization’s mission into the daily activities of the facility. Among other things, the committee also does in house fundraisers to help support such programs as the Christmas Angel Tree for needy families, the school backpack program and the Sister Stephanie Wardle Scholarship Fund for graduating seniors.
“During Pastoral Care Month, I would like to thank everyone who has supported the spiritual needs of our patients and for those who have worked with me over the past couple of years to sustain and grow our Pastoral Care program,” said Sr. Corinne. “Your light shines brightly.”
Featured during Pastoral Care Month at St Mary’s Hospital are Communion Ministers for the Catholic patients. Front row: (left to right) Dolores Von Bargen, Barbara Rehder. Back row: Maurus Uhlorn, Karen Uhlorn, Fr. Eamonn- Hospital Chaplain, Eleanor Hinkelman, Sr. Corinne- Mission & Pastoral Care Director.