Sister Catherine

This week our CSJP Community lost a woman of peace with a big smile and an even bigger heart, Sister Catherine McInnes, CSJP. You can read all about her in the Lest We Forget section of our CSJP website.

It was always a delight to be with Sister Catherine. Her voice had this amazing quality, as did her aforementioned smile and the way she just looked at you when you talked. In ministry, she was a gentle giant--starting as a nurse, then a nursing supervisor, then a hospital administrator. Today I happened to be in Bellingham, Washington where our first PeaceHealth Hospital was started in 1891. Catherine was the administrator there for 23 years, "retiring" in 1991. Of course she retired by taking on other roles in the hospital system up until this summer, when at the age of 83 her main job became dealing with doctors as a patient.

Every person I met today at St. Joseph's Hospital remarked on Sister Catherine. One person told me that today one of the guys who washes the windows, when he heard that she had died, remarked that not only did she know everyone's name, she knew their kids' names too. The Sister Catherine Chapel at the hospital is named after her, so I was able to stop in and say a few special prayers of gratitude for her life in community and her healing ministry.

Tonight we had our vigil service for Sister Catherine. Again and again, coworkers, friends, family and community members got up to the mike to speak about Catherine. Her generosity. Her humor. Her integrity. Her healing presence. Tomorrow we will say our final goodbyes, but not really. As one of the people who shared a story said tonight, she was an angel in our lives here. Now she's our laughing angel in heaven.

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