Fifteen people have been honoured for the compassionate care they provide at St. Joseph’s General Hospital.
The Sister’s Café at the hospital was packed Tuesday afternoon as Sister Pat Macaulay Mission Awards were handed out to those 15 recipients, the most ever handed out in one year.
“In the past the Sister Pat Award recognized a department team, or one individual or two, and this year we received, I’m pleased to say, an avalanche of nominations,” said pastoral care and ethics’ Steve Hill. “We decided, the selection committee, that given this is our centennial year we would celebrate the abundance — the abundance of dedicated individuals who make St. Joe’s a caring, compassionate place of healing and hope today.”
Awards went to: Janice Wagemann (telehealth/education/volunteers/colposcopy); Kelly Viklund (diagnostic imaging); Carol Tinga (nurse educator); Gino Tancon (physician); Jocelyn and Joe Richard (lay ministers, Christ the King Parish); Brenda Phillips (The Views activity director); Ron Philip (volunteer, board and foundation); Barb Paulson (nurse educator); Joan McGrath (lay minister, Christ the King Parish); Sharon McEwan (OR nurse); Cori Knudsen (patient placement); Pat Fish (volunteer, auxiliary); Brian Ducedre (pastoral care and ethics); and Craig Dickson (respiratory therapist).
Sister Pat Macaulay — after whom the awards are named as she exhibited a commitment to compassionate care at St. Josephs’ during three terms at the hospital, 1978 to 1982, 1986 to 1992 and 1999 to 2002 — attended the celebration and spoke about the meaning of compassion.
“Meister Eckhart says, “You may call God goodness, you may call God love, but the best name for God is compassion.’ What is compassion?” said Macaulay, noting compassion means to suffer with. “So, when we are compassionate for another we are with them in their suffering and in their joys.”
She also told the audience a story about an elderly woman who passed away in Fort St. James, where Macaulay lives now. Macaulay noted the woman was known for never complaining.
“When her children were in trouble, she sat them down and talked with them, and she told them three things — be forgiving, be kind and be generous — and those are other words for compassion,” said Macaulay. “So, I trust that in the receiving of these awards today, you will know from the peer affirmation that you are truly compassionate people.”
Hospital board member Father Marek Paczka and hospital president and CEO Jane Murphy also spoke at the event. Murphy noted the hospital recalls its 100 years of service to the community with pride, but it also celebrates the present with pride because of how well it continues to serve the Comox Valley.
“Today, we recognize and express our sincere appreciation to these very worthy 15 dedicated individuals who demonstrate care with compassion, which is how we sum up the values of our organization,” said Murphy. “These individuals demonstrate their care with compassion in every action, every day.
“Their excellent professional skills blend with their respect for human dignity as they serve the people who come to St. Joseph’s for care.”