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Pictured from left are Shari Wooldridge, Arnold Moore, Stacy Carvajal, Anna McCutcheon-Alvarenga, SF Mayor Ed Lee, John P Thornsberry, Stanley Edwards, Sharonda Aaron, Lessy Benedith; SVdP board president Martha Arbouex, and Margi English.

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Mercy Sisters’ ‘caring presence lives on’
May 10th, 2016
By Tom Burke

Thanks to Liz Dossa of the Mercy Sisters front office for this take on the work of the sisters and their St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center. I was born in a Mercy Sisters hospital in suburban Philadelphia returning many times during my youth for stitches always tenderly applied. Thanks to all nurses as we close Nurses Week for 2016 on May 12.

The mission continues at St. Mary’s, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1857 as the first Catholic hospital on the West Coast. Mercy Sisters are present at the hospital to carry on the Mercy tradition.

Surgical nurse Sister Freda Milke provides expert care and presence essential to healing at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Sister Marcia Kinces, a nurse, is at St. Mary’s patients’ bedsides. Sister Mary Kilgariff brings the hospital presence into the community as community liaison. The Sisters of Mercy have been nurses since their founder Catherine McAuley identified caring for the sick as a major focus of the new community in Dublin, Ireland in 1831. The only trained nurses in the American Civil War were women religious, 100 of them Sisters of Mercy. They built hospitals across the U.S. beginning in 1847 with the founding of the first Mercy hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The sisters have served in every capacity from scrub nurses and doctors to CEOs, CFOs and trustees in hospitals and health systems as well as in public health and community-based settings. As health care technology becomes more complex and drugs more expensive, the basic art of healing through the compassionate touch and caring presence lives on through these sisters and the mission they have inspired.

SPORTS SCHOLAR: City College sophomore Kelly Wong has dribbled and studied her way to the 2015 Female Scholar Athlete Award presented March 30 by the California Community College Athletic Association. Kelly is a computer science major with a 3.92 GPA, and is the first City College athlete to receive the honor. “This award has made me more appreciative of my experience at City College and all the people that have helped me get here today,” Kelly told the audience at the award ceremonies. Kelly will continue studies and sports at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Kelly’s folks are Jenny and Victor Wong. The family are parishioners at St. Cecilia’s, San Francisco where Kelly was baptized, confirmed and made her first holy Communion.

OUTTA’ HERE: The auctioneer’s chant “Going, going, gone” rang in my ear the other day as I followed up an appointment to freshen up my will with a physical where the doctor told me updating the final testament was probably a good idea.

Email items and electronic pictures – jpegs at no less than 300 dpi to or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. Street is toll-free. My phone number is (415) 614-5634.

From May 12, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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