Wednesday, April 25, 2012

School Based Health Care in West Virginia

During my travels as the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Executive Director, I had the opportunity to learn about the wonderful work that our sisters in Wheeling are doing in West Virginia with the proceeds that came from the sale of their hospitals.  Here is an excerpt from the annual report.  I have attached the whole report for those of you that have more time to read it.

Experts agree that children's academic success is directly related to their health. When children are healthy, they attend class regularly and perform better in school, preparing them for a productive future.
More than 20% of West Virginia's public school children require regular and ongoing health services during the day. School-based health centers ensure that students' health care needs are met and that barriers to learning are reduced. They are on-site, primary care clinics that provide both preventive and primary care to students to meet their health needs. They bring counseling, health education, and dental services to children and adolescents where they are much of the day - in school. They have reception areas, exam rooms, and labs and are usually staffed by a receptionist, a nurse, and nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant under the supervision of a doctor.
Since the Foundation's commitment to the school-based health effort, a number of state level activities have converged to bring school-based health centers to the attention of many state agencies. As a partner in all of these efforts, the Sisters of St. Jospeh Health and Wellness Foundation is having a positive impact on the school-based health movement in West Virginia. In 2005, the Board of Directors voted to make the West Virginia School-Based Health Initiative the Foundation's primary funding focus until 2012.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012

Catie, Nicole and Ashley

St. Louis is home to the third largest Earth Day celebration in the United States.  This year a group of sisters from 14 congregations including the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis and high school students sponsored a booth on ecological spirituality.

I had the chance to interveiw a few of the students.  Catie from St. Joseph's Academy told me that she jumped at the chance to get involved with something she felt was very important.  Both she and Nicole were enthusiastic about the video they had been involved with as part of this project.  (go to this link to watch this video )  Ashley from St. Elizabeth's Academy told me that she has "a strong love for the earth, and I am really into recycling.  This is pushing me to do more."

The sisters and students passed out a beautiful brochure that defined eco-spirituality and its key principles.  The brochure stated, "Science tells us that everything in the natural world is made up of sheer energy.  As humans, our thought patterns radiate this energy out to the universe, and the universe returns it to us in the same manner.  Eco-spirituality stretches humankind to be all-inclusinve and recognize our mutually enhancing relationship with the natural world and all its component members.  Hence, it is very important to be positive and focused in all that we do and think."

Sr. Patty Clune from the Leadership Team of the St. Louis Province said that "This is my first Earth Day celebration in St. Louis.  I am impressed with the variety of organizations committed to the earth.  It was fun rubbing elbows with so many people with whom I share values in a festive atmosphere of music and entertainment."  Shre further noted, "there are so many young people here.  It probably means that their parents are passing on their values." 

Mary Ann Carmody, a friend of the sisters said, "I enjoyed the wide variety and diversity.  It is good to see that there are so many new products coming online that are eco-friendly."

Sr. Kathleen Crowley said, "It really looks like there is lots of interest in living life in a sustainable fashion."
Me at the booth

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gathering the Daughters Day 3

Day 3 the emphasis is on Tools for Effective Relating.  Sr. Lynn Levo presented information about mutuality in community.  As she talked about self-disclosure, the small groups had become more mutual and ready to discuss some of the blocks to effective communication.  The empathy level of the participants had heightened, allowing them to take bigger risks, and see some of the ways they could enhance their skills for relating.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gathering the Daughters Part 2

I am at the Gathering of the Daughters, a workshop for newer members and staff in vocation/formation work.  We are on beautiful Lake Michigan.

Our speaker, Sr. Lynn Levo, Ph.D, really captured my imagination with one of the points she was making today.  Lynn said, “Don’t get mad, get curious.”  We live in such polarizing times. Sometimes it is hard to engage in civil conversations sometimes when people say outrageous things, i.e., things I violently disagree with.  However, getting angry, argumentative or withdrawing from the conversation does not really decrease the polarization in our world.

If, instead of getting angry, I put that aside and let my curiosity fully explore the view that the other person holds, I may be able to engage in respectful dialogue, increase my empathy for the other person (a key for mutuality in relationships), perhaps find some common ground, or at least not make assumptions about why the person holds their opinion.  If we are ever to move pass the polarization that we experience in our world today, we have to start doing something different.  I think Lynn’s idea of engaging the other person for the purpose of understanding their opinion, not changing it, may be a good place for me to start.

Gathering of the Daughters

77 of our newer members and formation staff have gathered in Racine, Wisconsin to Rename, Reclaim and Rediscover our Vision for the 21st Century.  Sr. Lynn Levo, Ph.D. is providing input and leading the group through a process to identify our personal vision consistent with the movements of our Congregation, becoming active participants in evolving ourselves in order to evolve consciousness in our world and our community.

This morning Lynn has challenged us to have a wholehearted intention to transform, to really show up, share ourselves, take risks and listen deeply.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Voice of America and Human Trafficking

A few weeks ago I did this interview with Voice of America.  I truly gave Sr. Kathy McCluskey the credit for our efforts at addressing human trafficking at Event 2011.  However, even though they got the name wrong, I am glad that we have been able to further publicize the importance of speaking out against human trafficking.