News

For further information on any of the news items listed here, please contact Alice Black, PhD, OPA, Director of Communications & Mission Advancement, at 614-416-1020.


 

Sr. Peggy Martin, OP

Dear Representatives and Major Superiors:

Sister Peggy Ann Martin, OP, Executive Vice President of Sponsorship and Governance, a guiding light in the formation of both CommonSpirit Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, has decided to start the next chapter of her life and retire at the end of June 2020. Lloyd Dean and I are honored to have served alongside Sr. Peggy and have learned much from her about our sacred scriptures, canon law, and diplomacy. Please join us in celebration of her indelible legacy.

A true visionary, Sr. Peggy was a member of the steering committee that founded Catholic Health Initiatives in 1996. She was instrumental in uniting four healthcare systems under Catholic Health Care Federation, the public juridic person first developed by Catholic Health Corporation in Omaha. A public juridic person allows an entity to operate within canon law similar to how public corporations operate within civil law. She helped define how to honor the Church, healthcare, and law in fulfilling the mission of our founding congregations.

After earning her licentiate in canon law, she joined CHI in 2000 serving as our Senior Vice President for Sponsorship and Governance, where she helped navigate complex issues while operating as a public juridic person, such as merging with other religious and non-religious entities. She also helped provide governance of the CHI Board of Stewardship Trustees throughout many years, and through the most recent merger of CHI and Dignity Health into CommonSpirit.  Her guidance helped CHI grow into the communities we serve today.

Beyond her work with CommonSpirit and CHI, Sr. Peggy was instrumental in 2009 when the Dominicans of Great Bend, Kansas, became one of seven founding members of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. With other representatives of the founding congregations, Sr. Peggy helped develop the constitutions for this new religious institution, fluently weaving together canon law and the Dominican Sisters of Peace’s unique vision and mission. She has served on the faculty of the Collaborative Formation Program for Sponsors of Public Juridic Persons, where she has helped inform and shape the future of Catholic sponsorship nationally.

Sr. Peggy has a strong reputation for her ability to explain canon law to religious and lay leaders across industries and geographies. This is a testament to her early professional training and ministries in education. In March 2014, she was invited to speak to a symposium of financial officers of religious institutions in Rome, convened by Pope Francis. There, she helped hundreds of participants understand how their religious operations can best serve humanity with her presentation, “Public Juridic Persons: Advantages and Challenges.”

In 2015, Sr. Peggy received the prestigious Sr. Concilia Moran Award from the Catholic Health Association, one of the highest honors bestowed upon leaders in Catholic healthcare. She was recognized for her commitment to stewarding resources and knowledge to improve and expand Catholic healthcare. Her work and advocacy of public juridic persons has helped institutions care for the poor and vulnerable, defend human dignity, and promote the common good.

Mitch Melfi, Chief Legal Officer, will assume Sr. Peggy’s responsibilities and Sponsorship and Governance will begin reporting directly to him at the end of June.

Sr. Peggy’s passion and dedication is truly inspirational. While we will miss her wisdom, leadership and good company, we are sure that her legacy will live on in all we do. Please join me in thanking Sr. Peggy for all she has done for CommonSpirit, CHI and Catholic healthcare. Her spirit has helped define us and will surely thrive in her next endeavors.

Sincerely,
Kevin

Kevin E. Lofton, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
CommonSpirit Health

Posted in News

Stay Socially Connected

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I think we got it wrong.

Rather than encouraging social distancing during this pandemic, maybe we should be encouraging keeping physical distance but keeping socially connected?

I can’t claim this idea as my own. It is the brainchild of veterans who work with Jay Glazer, a sportswriter and founder of Merging Vets & Athletes, which brings together ex-combat veterans and former athletes to battle “emotional distancing”.

I think they’re on to something because as we navigate through these times of isolation, we need to empower each other to hold onto hope. We can do that by reaching out to others by phone, email, text, social media and using apps like Skype, FaceTime, and House Party, to offer support to each other – by staying socially connected.

Because we are social beings, deprivation of social connection can create stress and illness, according to psychological research. And loneliness can make people feel more vulnerable and anxious.

Now is a good time to reach out to friends and family and connect with them to let them know how much you care about them.

Who will you connect with today to help her/him feel less alone and more loved?

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Trust in the Lord With All Your Heart

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

What does trust in God mean to you?

In January, I had the privilege and challenge of preaching a retreat on the theme of, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” from Proverbs 3:5.  This was before the coronavirus invaded our lives.  It was before we learned there was a St. Corona or that Lysol wipes would become something I carry in my purse.  Even though some things have changed since January – many things stay the same and for me, trust in the Lord is one of them.

What does trust have to do with our Vocation blog, God Calling??  Well, I think it has a lot to do with discernment, prayer, making a commitment to religious life and living our vows each day.  I know that when I was discerning my call to religious life, I had to learn to trust God and to trust myself also.  I did this through prayer and through experiencing God’s abiding love and presence in my life.

Now, I would challenge you to pause for a moment or longer in your reading and think about a few questions:

  • What does trust in God mean to you?
  • Do you trust God? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • Think of the people in your life. Who do you trust?
  • Who trusts you?
  • Do you think God trusts you?
  • How can you grow in trust?

A definition of trust is:  “It is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”  Similar words that convey trust are: confidence, belief, faith, freedom from suspicion/doubt.

So, to answer a few of the questions above –

  • What does trust in God mean to me? I believe that to trust God means to know that God will always be with me, even if I can’t feel that presence.  It is based on faith – which is similar to trust but deeper because it is based on things I can’t really see. I believe trust is a gift.  I pray that God helps me to grow in faith, especially in times like now that are difficult and challenging.
  • Do I trust God? Yes, I trust God.  Well, most of the time.  I must admit though that at times I have doubted.  One time, in particular was when I was on retreat in preparation for my first profession of vows. I was in the chapel praying before the tabernacle.  The scripture verse was from Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you.  Plans for a future full of hope” (paraphrased).  As I prayed, I felt empty and that God was far away from me.  I stuck it out and stayed for the full hour, as my retreat director had recommended.  I stood to leave and said to Jesus, “Where are you?”  In that moment, as I turned from the sanctuary, I felt a warm presence envelope me, as if I was being hugged by a person who was right behind me.  I knew it was God in the person of Jesus embracing me.  I stood there for a long time savoring the consolation before thanking him for his abiding presence with me.  I knew in that moment that Jesus was affirming my decision to make my vows.  This is one of those “touchstone” experiences I recall whenever I need reassurance or lack trust that God is with me.
  • Who do I trust? Who I trust and who trusts me have become life sustaining and lifesaving in this time of social distancing, caring for one another by adhering to hand washing and other disease reducing protocols.  Today, as I ventured to the store for some necessities, I washed my hands several times, kept using sanitizing wipes and thanked those who were working in the store.  Another sister and I picked up some essentials for our sisters in a neighboring convent so they wouldn’t have to venture out.

I’m still working on the other questions I posed above.  So, I will end here, but I encourage you to continue to reflect on the role trust plays in your life and to think about the faith of St. Joseph which we read about in today’s Gospel from Matthew 1:18-21.  Pray with St. Joseph and ask him to help you and all of us to grow in faith and to trust God to lead us in all ways and always.

In the meantime, if you feel God calling you to religious life, contact us to begin a conversation with one of our Vocation Ministers.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Today, I met a man cleaning the street

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

Today, I met a man cleaning the street, while on my way over the office, where all of our non-essential staff is working from home. Our Leadership Team continues to work in our offices, meeting to continue our role in preparing and planning, looking out for our sisters, and learning with everyone else, about this pandemic that is changing the way we are in the whole wide world.  A virus six times more contagious than ordinary flu.

Yes, on my way over to the office, I met a man who was picking up the trash that always accumulates along Airport Drive. I just don’t get why people think it’s okay to toss bottles and paper and trash out their car window. But they do and every day I walk home from work stepping over litter.  And someone cleans it up every few days.   I finally found out who.  The man was from Davey Tree Company – they have a contract with us to cut the grass at our properties. I didn’t realize they keep our lawns litter free as well.

I said hello to the man picking up the trash, who said he usually works on another site, but that was closed down with this pandemic, and so he was keeping busy, working as he could. A small and thankless job, picking up trash. It made me aware of all the ways people are pitching in during this most unusual time. We see on the news:  people helping with school lunches for kids, deep cleaning public transit, people watching out for each other, citizens in Italy singing to each other on balconies.

Not to mention at all the health care workers, doctors, nurses, aides and helpers who are putting their lives on the line, managing the biggest health crisis in one hundred years.

Our own employees are being so creative in working from home, our essential staff members are managing to be sure our sisters are safe, cared for and fed. Generous, compassionate people who rise to the challenge of unusual times. This is what it means to be human. This is what we are made for.

The man I met today was polite, friendly and cheerful. He did not complain or whine about the present state of his circumstances.  He did not blame anyone or speak of being afraid.

This pandemic, horrible as it is and as concerning as it is, offers us a way to see each other, not as people hoarding hand sanitizer or toilet paper, but as human beings who care for each other and for the stranger.  It is a moment when political leaders can truly lead and set into motion actions that safeguard our citizens. It could be a moment of global transformation.

I am reminded that the Golden Rule can be found in virtually every spiritual tradition on the planet: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12)The golden rule is an ethic of reciprocity, a moral code that is basic to all human experience.  And since the times we are living in call for acts not only of kindness but of heroism, I hope that we can all be like the man cleaning the street today. Doing our part to keep faith, to keep calm and be at peace.  Looking out for someone else, even to pick up the trash, could save us all.

 

Posted in Weekly Word

Dominican Sister of Peace Rosalyn Seda

Dominican Sister of Peace Rosalyn Seda

Dominican Sister of Peace Rosalyn (Mildred) Seda (96), died on March 1, 2020, at the Lourdes Senior Community in Waterford Township, MI.

Sister Rosalyn was born to Marie Ovesny and Frank Seda in Carnegie, PA, in 1923. After her father’s death and her mother’s remarriage, the family moved to Michigan, where young Mildred first came to know our Sisters.  Sr. Rosalyn entered the Congregation in 1939, and served her community and the people of God for nearly 80 years.

Sister Rosalyn began her ministry by preparing meals and performing domestic tasks in convents in Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She enjoyed baking and preparing special desserts because her “aim was to make people happy and see them enjoy their meals.”

In 1961, Sister Rosalyn was sent to cook at Menscola Convalescent Home in Pontiac, MI. When our Oxford, MI, Sisters opened the Lourdes Nursing Home in 1965, Sister Rosalyn accompanied those residents to their new home and was given the task of managing the Dietary Department as the Food Service Director.

In her zeal to serve the residents of Lourdes, Sister Rosalyn took courses in Food Service Supervision and earned certification as a member of the Hospital Institution and Education of Managers Association. She ministered in the Food Service Department at Lourdes for twenty-three years before becoming a care-giver at Saint Jude Foster Home in Detroit, MI. She continued to volunteer at Saint Jude’s until she entered a ministry of prayer and service at the Oxford, MI, Motherhouse.

Sr. Rosalyn entered her final ministry of prayer and presence at the Lourdes Senior Community in 2019.

According to her personal annals, one of Sr. Rosalyn’s great joys was attending weekly Scripture Study sessions so that she could explore God’s word with others. She never lost her desire to get to know Jesus better.

Visitation and the Mass of Christian Burial were held on March 6 at the Lourdes Chapel of the Lourdes Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, in Waterford, MI. Sr. Rosalyn will be interred at Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery in Oxford, MI, at a later date.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Rosalyn’s memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098.

To donate in Sr. Rosalyn’s memory, please click here.

To download a printable copy of this memorial, please click here.

Posted in Obituaries