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Sister Katherine Baltazar — an Update

Sister Katherine is one of 600 Medical Mission Sisters and Associates in 17 nations trying to be present to others today in the spirit of Jesus the Healer

Sister Katherine Baltazar, who recently served as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Rehab Center outside Philadelphia, this month begins a new full-time mission in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, among people of the Lakota Nation on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

Eagle Butte is home to four different bands or sub-tribes of the Lakota: the Black Feet, Two Kettle, Without Bows, and Planters by the Water. Sadly, 47.9% of its people live below the poverty line. Per capita income is only $9,192 for a population of 1,318. Unemployment is high. So, too, is the instance of suicide. “The Indian County Times” has reported that 1 in 5 girls in the area has contemplated suicide; 1 in 10 has attempted it.

Sister will be working as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at the Cheyenne River Reservation Hospital and also will be going three days a week to field clinics in the area. A 2008 three-month experience with the Lakota Sioux in Rosebud, South Dakota, made her very aware of the suicide problems, especially among the youth. She is hoping she will be able to make a difference in at least some of their lives.

On a recent visit to Eagle Butte, Sister Katherine was greeted by many with the words “We really need you — when will you start?” She is pleased to answer, “Very soon!”

For more about Sister Katherine and her life as a Medical Mission Sister, visit: Sister Katherine Baltazar

September 15, 2012