Sisters Cook and Kelly Honored for Medical Ministry


Sisters Jane Kelly, nurse practitioner, and Dr. Roseanne Cook, CSJ were awarded the 2010 St. Edmund's Medal of Honor for their long-time service to the poor at the Edmondite Fathers health clinic in Pine Apple, Alabama. They were honored at the "Celebrating the Life of Virtue" ceremony on October 15 in Mystic, Connecticut.

Sister Jane has worked at the Pine Apple clinic since it's inception in 1980. In 1986 she recruited Sister Roseanne to become a part of this outreach ministry.

These women have been a lifeline for thousands of people forgotten by the traditional health care system in Wilcox County, Alabama, where amidst beautiful plantation homes you will find what Sister Roseanne characterizes as "third world" conditions with clusters of houses and trailers with broken windows, leaky roofs, peeling paint and unstable floors.

Not only to the people of Wilcox County live in homes that are in dire straits, they also suffer physcially from chronic conditions at an early age. Many have only seen a doctor once or twice in their lifetimes due to the lack of accessible and affordable health care.

The clinics are not free but no one is turned away for inability to pay. The sisters also help people beyond just an exam at the clinic, including managing a charity fund that goes directly to those in need whether it be for additional testing, emergency dental care or just the gas money to get to the clinic.

The clinic also manages a prescription program with the help of donations from the pharmaceutical companies and organziations. "We often hear the phrase, 'You are the first person to make me better' because we are the first to give them proper medication, "says Sister Roseanne.

The patients may not understand what a Catholic sister is, but the people do recognize the love of Christ that is present in the care offered by Sisters Jane and Roseanne. "A grateful patient once told me, 'You are the first person who actually laid hands on me,'" says Sister Jane.

"Fr. Richard Myhalyk, SSE (executive director) and I were certainly honored to present the award to Sisters Jane and Roseanne for all that they have and continue to do to care for the 'least of these,'" says Chad McEachern, cheif development officer. "They truly are an inspiration to all who meet them and the dedication they have to care for the poor is unparalleled. We are blessed to have them as partners in this wonderful ministry."

Read more about this minsitry of medicine in the Sisters of St. Joseph magazine, Connections.








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