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Sister Catherine Sean Croghan, CSJ: Bringing God's Healing Love in the Health-care Ministry
From our early days of bringing God’s love to those in poor French towns who were reeling from the repeated ravages of war and disease, Sisters of St. Joseph have shown God’s love in action in the healing ministry. Indeed, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and Sister Catherine Sean Croghan, CSJ, is up to the challenge.
Sister Catherine has spent nearly all of her 47 years as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet in the healthcare ministry. She spent seven years as a nurse’s aide at the Provincial House, caring for our elderly sisters. During those years, Sister Genevieve Conway, director of personnel, noticed Sister Catherine’s care, concern and capability. “Sister Genevieve was the one,” says Sister Catherine, “who spoke to me about the LPN program at Albany Medical Center and encouraged me to apply.” The idea of professional studies was a bit daunting for Sister Catherine, but she was able to keep the goal in sight. “The word “practical” in the term, ‘licensed practical nurse’ gave me some incentive! I am a very practical person, an efficient hard worker with good organizational skills. I caught on quickly to what needed to be done for each person.”
In 1975, Sister Catherine began her career at St. Mary’s Healthcare, Amsterdam, where she serves an as LPN Control Station Nurse in the Surgical Suite. Exhibiting the same faith and flexibility as our early sisters, Sister Catherine has responded to the many changes in health care. One of the biggest areas of growth is in the field of technology. Sister Catherine began her career in the O.R. by scheduling cases in a notebook; later she was instrumental in building, implementing and teaching others the present computerized program. “At the beginning, I built into the program approximately 800 surgical procedures; now with new and changing surgical techniques, I have entered 1,439 procedures into the procedure dictionary!”
In addition, Sister Catherine has seen changes in the CSJ presence at St. Mary’s. “When I began this ministry, I was one of 30+ CSJs who lived together in a hospital convent. Now there are five of us, living in smaller houses.” Because Sister Catherine realizes there will be a time when there are no sisters at St. Mary’s, she takes seriously the responsibility of spreading the charism. “During breaks, I walk the corridors and visit with staff and volunteers; sometimes after work and on Saturdays, I volunteer in the gift shop. I also try to continue the tradition begun by Sister Margaret Raphael Cronkhite several years ago of beginning each morning report with a prayer. Our CSJ charism calls me to treat all persons equally, not to hold back on extending forgiveness, and to heal others through my care and my kind words and actions.”
Sister Catherine Sean Croghan expresses God’s love in action through the two sets of initials she bears after her name—CSJ and LPN—and she is a wonderful credit to both!
Beverly Mosher, Dr. Albert Fraser and Sister Catherine Sean Croghan, CSJ