From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Sisters of Providence choose co-recipients for 2002 Mother Joseph Award

the Inland Register

(From the Dec. 19, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

Spokane pediatrician Dr. Kennard Kapstafer (third from right) received the 2002 Mother Joseph Award in December from the Sisters of Providence. The award is given to a person who “exemplifies the values and courage of Mother Joseph,” the foundress of the Sisters of Providence in the West. Congratulating Dr. Kapstafer are (from left) Father Stan Malnar MD, director of the maternity clinic at Sacred Heart Medical Center; Bishop Skylstad; Ryland P. “Skip” Davis, president and CEO of Providence Services Eastern Washington; Marie Kapstafer, Dr. Kapstafer’s wife; Donna Hanson, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities for the Spokane Diocese and Bishop’s Secretary for Social Ministries; and Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of Providence Services. (IR photo from the Sisters of Providence)

The Sisters of Providence presented two recipients with the 2002 Mother Joseph Award in ceremonies in December.

Spokane pediatrician Dr. Ken Kapstafer was honored during ceremonies Dec. 6 at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane.

Mitzi VandeWege, retired assistant administrator at Providence Centralia Hospital, was presented with her award at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, on Dec. 8.

The award is named in honor of Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the first Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Providence in the West, who was a distinctive figure in early Northwest history.

This is the first time the award has been presented since the creation of the Mother Joseph Province in 2000.

There were 10 nominations, “each worthy of an award,” said Sister Roberta Rorke, who coordinated this year’s award process.

The Mother Joseph Award is given to a person within the boundaries of the province who “exemplifies the values and courage of Mother Joseph.”

The awards were presented by the Provincial and the Leadership Team on behalf of all the Sisters of Providence in the province. The Mother Joseph Province includes ministries in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana and El Salvador.

The Providence Services Eastern Washington leadership council unanimously agreed to nominate Dr. Kapstafer for the honor. This highly regarded Spokane pediatrician has dedicated the last 36 years of his life to the mission, values and vision of the Sisters of Providence, his nominators wrote.

From the beginning, Providence has played a significant role in Dr. Kapstafer’s professional career. He graduated in 1957 from the College of Great Falls (Mont.) with a degree in chemistry. After receiving his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine in 1961, he completed his internship at Sacred Heart Medical Center in 1962.

Since 1966, he has served on the medical staffs of Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital, both in Spokane.

Mitzi VandeWege, an employee of the Sisters of Providence for 34 years, was nominated for the award by a dozen of her former colleagues at Providence Centralia Hospital. She came to the hospital when it opened in 1989 as an experienced professional who had worked for nearly 24 years at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, first as staff charge nurse, then nursing supervisor and later director of nursing. Mitzi, as she prefers to be called, was only on loan to Providence Centralia as assistant administrator, but she stayed and selflessly served patients, employees and her community for 11 years before retiring in 2000.

Even as a retiree, her dedication and commitment remain, and her face still is a familiar one at hospital events and activities.

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