June 2005

Pilgrimage Spreads the Charism of Catholic Health Initiatives: Pilgrims' Perspectives


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Thousands arrived in St. Peter's Square to welcome the new Pope.

David Edwards
Member, Board of Stewardship Trustees

“The value of an international experience is that the light shines through a different prism. You see yourself, your group and the United States in different ways. Different skills become important and new learnings appear. When that happens in a group with a shared purpose, I think special bondings occur and participants tend to feel differently and more deeply about each other and the group. The specific memories I bring back from Rome and Paris involve a number of faces: the joy and anticipation as we learned that a new Pope was being named just outside our meeting room at the Vatican; the wisdom and humor of the Daughters of Charity curator as she explained their history in a language few of us speak, but all of us could understand; and the presence of a young Vietnamese priest who was training in French, but was called to lead our mass in English. Archbishop Franc Rode asked about the charism of Catholic Health Initiatives, given the individual charisms of the participating congregations: the journey to Rome and Paris was a small but important reinforcement of the charism of Catholic Health Initiatives.”

Kim Miller
President and Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Medical Center, Williston, N.D.

“The opportunity to participate in the pilgrimage to Rome and Paris truly broadened and strengthened me as a person and a leader for Catholic Health Initiatives. I felt honored to participate in this enlightening experience. It was a time of reflection and growth, and a time to build and strengthen relationships with others who attended. This pilgrimage provided time to gain a deeper understanding of our Catholic Health Initiatives heritage and the beliefs of our founding congregations. It also provided time to step back and reflect on the mission and true purpose of each of our organizations in the markets that we serve.”

Barbara Hagedorn, SC
Chair, Member of the Civil Corporation

“The Catholic Health Initiatives pilgrimage to Rome and Paris was a long-anticipated event for me. Now that the trip is over, my lasting impression is one of gratitude:

  • To Catholic Health Initiatives, for providing an experience of a lifetime.
  • For the others on the journey who shared their ongoing commitment and dedication to the mission of Catholic Health Initiatives.
  • For those who generously and painstakingly planned the many details of the pilgrimage.
  • For the opportunity to speak to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life at the Vatican about the collaboration of laity and religious to provide Catholic health care in the United States.
  • For the chance to experience the history of Saints Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac. It was their spirit that inspired the founding of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in the United States.
  • For timing the trip so we could experience the election of a Pope!”

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Participants in the pilgrimage to Rome, including (from left) Phyllis Hughes, RSM, PhD, and Maryanna Coyle, SC, members of the Board of Stewardship Trustees, and Colleen Scanlon, RN, JD, senior vice president of advocacy, were among the thousands who arrived in St. Peter’s Square after the white smoke appeared and bells rang to announce the election of the new Pope.