Sister Katherine Baltazar, a psychiatric nurse in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, is passionate about the health and well-being of the Lakota Sioux Native Americans with whom she lives. She has been in this community since 2012, working in suicide prevention and raising awareness of the dangers of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). She says of FAS, “It is one of the few medical conditions that is 100% preventable.”
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1955, Sister Katherine began her professional career with degrees in nursing, science and psychology. She lived in Europe for several years and studied at the Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, returning to the U.S. to obtain her Master’s Degree in psychiatric mental health nursing from Columbia University in 1994. Traveling from Arizona to New Zealand and Australia, and then to Hawaii, she developed an interest in native people, herbal medicine, culture and community development.
Sister Katherine entered our Community in 2003, made her First Vows in 2005 and her Final Vows in 2010. While in Philadelphia, she ministered in New Jerusalem Now, a program for recovering addicts. She earned a post-Master’s Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner certificate from Drexel University before beginning her current mission among the Lakota Tribe. “I chose psychiatric-mental health nursing because I wanted to help alleviate some of the suffering of people,” says Sister Katherine.