Sister Sheila McGinnis

Sister Sheila is one of 625 Medical Mission Sisters in 17 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.

Born and raised in Troy, New York, Sister Sheila joined our Community shortly after graduating from Catholic Central High School in Troy. She received her R.N. from Misericordia Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia, and her Certification in Nurse-Midwifery from the Catholic Maternity Institute in Santa Fe.

In 1964, Sister Sheila was missioned to Quinhon, Vietnam, where she spent four years as a staff nurse, floor supervisor, and midwife at Holy Family Hospital. She returned to the U.S. and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She went back to Quinhon and served in several positions at the hospital, including Nursing Supervisor, Inservice Education Director, and Pharmacy Supervisor.

Forced to evacuate Vietnam in 1975, Sister Sheila joined others in providing refugee relief work for Vietnamese persons displaced in Arkansas. She later offered the same assistance to Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees in Philadelphia. In 1976, she began a six-year term as Assistant to the Sector Superior of North America. She recalls, “It was then that I actually had some time to reflect on the experience of having worked in Vietnam, and what that meant in terms of my future, as well as my past.”

Sister Sheila developed an interest in complementary modes of healing, and became a staff member of the Center for Human Integration (CHI) in Philadelphia. Founded by Medical Mission Sister Mary Em McGlone, it offered a wide range of programs, workshops, and client services that were designed to facilitate healing by reducing chronic pain, increasing energy and mobility, managing stress, and integrating life-changing awareness.

In 1985, Sister Sheila was elected to a six-year term as our North American Sector Superior. She says, “This ministry involved connections with the Sisters…and connections with others through organizations in which our Sisters have been highly respected for all our years.” At the completion of her term of office, she rejoined CHI as Co-Director and served there until its close in 2008.

Sister Sheila celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2009. She currently lives in Philadelphia, where she is involved in healing arts using massage, reflexology, and energy work.

December 15, 2010