Precious Blood Sisters and staff honored as caregivers

On Oct. 17, the Diocese of San Bernardino in California recognized outstanding health care workers at its annual White Mass, held at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral. Precious Blood Sister Teresa (Terry) Maher received the St. Damien of Molokai Award, which honors chaplains who have distinguished themselves as providing compassionate and dedicated spiritual care to the sick and dying.

The award is named for Father Damien, a Belgian missionary who cared for the physical and spiritual needs of people with leprosy (Hansen’s disease) living in quarantine in Hawaii in the 1800s. Bishop Alberto Rojas celebrated the Mass, which also honored doctors, nurses and other health care workers within the diocese.

Sister Terry ministers as manager of the spiritual health department at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, and is a board-certified chaplain with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. She provides spiritual care to patients and families and serves as a resource for people enrolled in clinical pastoral education programs in health care facilities.

On Nov. 21, Sister Nancy Wolf and Velma Frei were honored as outstanding caregivers at the annual Caregiver Mass, or White Mass, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Cincinnati. The event is held each November, which is National Family Caregivers Month. Sister Nancy is coordinator of Sisters, and Velma Frei has worked for many years as a nurse, both at Salem Heights, the Congregation’s central house in Dayton.

According to the cathedral’s website, the Caregiver Mass was first celebrated at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in 2004. Caregiver Masses honor all those who work in health care — from nurses and physicians to dietary staff and lab workers. The Mass also honors caregivers — this could be someone who cares for a sick or elderly friend or relative, or those who volunteer at health care facilities, retirement communities or parishes. Each nominee receives a certificate and a white rose. Anyone can nominate an outstanding caregiver. Sister Nancy and Velma Frei were nominated by Sister Judy Kroeger.

Story by Mary Knapke

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