Sister Catherine Shean

Sister Catherine is one of 600 Medical Mission Sisters and 80 Associates in 17 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.

A native of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Sister Catherine earned her R.N. at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York, and worked as a nurse at various health care facilities before joining our Community in 1943.

Sister Catherine became a nurse-midwife at our Catholic Maternity Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She served there for over 20 years, as an instructor and director. She remembers, “There were only three (nurse-midwifery) schools in the U.S. at that time, and we were one of them. We had many, many wonderful students through our program…and of course the privilege of taking care of mothers in their homes.”

Sister Catherine also was in mission in Ghana for over 20 years. She was a nurse-midwife and director at Holy Family Hospital School of Nursing in Berekum, and worked briefly in Techiman. She found great satisfaction in, “Bringing better maternity care to the women and families, and knowing that students would also carry on and use the training they received. It was always wonderful to see people’s talents develop and grow.”

From 1982 to 1986, Sister Catherine ministered in the social services department of Nangina Hospital in Kenya. She spent six months at Phalombe Hospital School of Midwifery in Malawi. In 1989, she returned to the U.S. and became involved in a number of activities.

Sister Catherine moved to Tucson, Arizona, where she taught at the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic. She also was active in the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and in her parish. Today she is retired, and resides at St. Joseph’s Manor near Philadelphia.

A founding member of the American College of Nurse Midwives, Sister Catherine received the Hattie Hemschemeyer Award in 1994, in honor of her distinguished achievements in nurse-midwifery.

Healing presence for Sister Catherine is, “Just the day to day contact you hope the Lord helps you to have with each person…and helps them to realize how wonderful they are.”

July 15, 2012