Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletSeptember 20, 2017

Main News

Sister Maureen Denn, CSJ: A Gift of Faith to Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare


by Erin Gigliotti, Communications Specialist, Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare 

If you were to step into an operating room at Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare (FSLH), you would expect to see nurses, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and, of course, a patient. But as surprising as it would be to see Sister Maureen Denn (Sister Mary Edward) dressed in scrubs standing amongst the surgical staff, Sister, herself, would think nothing of it.
 
Sister Maureen has blessed Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare with her presence for the past 28 years. Her contributions to our hospital are invaluable. She is caring, compassionate, professional, articulate and always supports our patients, their families and our care team.
 
On a daily basis, Sister makes rounds in the hospital listening and talking with patients and their families. This past October, Sister had connected with a family whose loved one was dying. The option of organ donation was offered to the family and with Sister's support, the family opted to consent to donation. To represent the family during the procurement, Sister asked if she could go to the operating room, and permission was granted.
 
In the operating room, the surgeon asked Sister if she would like to say something before they started. Sister said, "God bless you. We thank you and your family for the gift you are giving so that others may live." Sister's thoughts during this time were the words of the Mass when the priest consecrates the bread and wine and prays in the name of Christ and says, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
 
It is because of moments like this one, combined with Sister Maureen's ever present compassion, that she was recently honored with the Community Service Award by the Center for Donation & Transplant (CDT). Sister was nominated by Donna Sickler, fifth-floor nurse manager and FSLH coordinator for organ and tissue donation, and was recognized at the CDT's Education Day and Awards Dinner (EDAD) held on March 30 in Saratoga Springs.
 
"Sister has worked tirelessly at Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare to provide emotional support and clarity in the toughest of times," said Andrew Sigond, MBA, hospital and community-service specialist for the CDT. "We at the CDT have seen and felt it personally during our encounters with her at the hospital. Whether she's with patients, families, hospital staff, or our own CDT staff, her emotional intelligence, selflessness, and commitment make her an invaluable asset. She is a true blessing to those she has dedicated her life to serving."
 
As a patient advocate, Sister Maureen works very closely with FSLH nurses to make sure the best care possible is being provided to our patients. She always has an open ear and is willing to listen to employees, medical staff, patients and their families, which is often the best medicine.
 
And when Sister Maureen isn't busy working with patients and their families, she can be found staring in FSLH's recent hand washing video called "Spread the Word, Not the Germ!" The video was developed by staff to stress the importance of good hand hygiene and can be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/faxtonslukes

"At most hospitals, you wouldn't think to ask a nun to star in a video production, but Sister Maureen is always willing to do something fun and out of the ordinary." said Jerry Plows, Relationship-Based Care coordinator for FSLH. "Our hospital is so lucky to have her and the impact she has on our hospital, patients and staff is immeasurable."
 
Before joining FSLH, Sister Maureen was a high school teacher in the Syracuse, Albany and Utica areas and also worked with the homebound and elderly with a parish-outreach program. She has been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 53 years. Sister Maureen was born and raised in Utica, and this is one of the reasons she enjoys her ministry so much; she loves the people she works with and is happy that she is able to give back to her community.
 
"I come to work each morning, never knowing what challenges or gift I will be presented with that day," said Sister Maureen. "I find the trust that patients have during the most vulnerable times of their lives to be amazing. They open up and share their anxieties, fears and hopes with me. That, combined with the wonderful people I work with, is what makes me look forward to coming to work each and every day. I'm so fortunate to still be in the honeymoon phase after 28 years!"
 
"Sister Maureen is a wonderful example of our slogan, "It's the people. It's the care," noted Scott H. Perra, president/CEO of FSLH. "Working in health care can be stressful, and Sister is a pillar of strength, supporting our employees and medical staff as they care for our patients. Her quick wit and sense of humor helps with the healing process, helps make difficult times easier. She's a special part of our organization and we are grateful she's here."
 
(reprinted with permission of Erin Gigliotti, Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare, 10/18/2011)