Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

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

Nursing school alumnae bring professional expertise to Guatemala

by by Bernadette Amicucci, for the Inland Register

(From the February 20, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

From left: nurses Patricia Rosso, Katherine Dowdle, Bernadette Amicucci, and Kathryn Caltabiano spent the week of Feb. 2-9 providing much-welcome medical assistance in the areas served by the Guatemala Mission. (IR photo courtesy of the Guatemala Commission)

“To speak the joy of my soul at the prospect of being asked to assist the poor, visit the sick, comfort the afflicted, clothe little innocents and teach them to love God!”

– St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

In keeping with the spirit of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, four nursing alumni of the College of Mount Saint Vincent (CMSV) participated in the second annual mission trip to Guatemala earlier this month. This was the second group of registered nurses to volunteer their services.

These women visited the Sisters of Charity of New York ministering in El Novillero, Solalá, Guatemala as part of a working health care mission to serve the people in village clinics throughout the area. Side by side with the native local physician, Dr. José Miguel Vasquez, the nurses helped to assess and provide care to the underserved people of the area during the week of Feb. 2-9.

In addition to their work in the clinics, these alumnae had the opportunity to forge bonds with the Sisters of Charity whose work had been established 53 years ago in this area. Sisters Immaculata Burke, Marie Tolle, Ann Denise Brennan and Cecelia Harriendorf hosted these women at their convent. The histories of the Sisters of Charity, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Louise de Marillac were explored. Time was also provided for spiritual reflection and renewal. A visit to the Barbara Ford Center for Peace in Santa Cruz concluded the trip.

Sister Virginia Searing shared some of the poignant and violent history of the Guatemalan people as well as the vision and mission of the center for the future. Many opportunities exist at the center for interested volunteers to work with the Guatemalan people.

The alumnae visited many areas in Guatemala and were welcomed by the people everywhere they went. They were able to experience the beauty and color of the country, its people and the Mayan culture. It was a learning experience as well as a service mission for all involved.

Medical and pastoral efforts of the Sisters of Charity in Guatemala have been supported by the Catholic Diocese of Spokane for over 50 years. Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane visited the area to witness the many charitable works being performed. Mass was concelebrated at the convent with a neighboring parish priest, Father David Baronti, a Spokane Diocese priest who has ministered in Guatemala for decades.

The CMSV nursing alumnae included:

• Bernadette (DeNisco) Amicucci DNS, RN, CNE of Pleasantville, N.Y. CMSV Post masters certificate in nursing education, Class of 2007.
• Kathryn (O’ Brien) Caltabiano MS, RN of Oswego, N.Y. CMSV BSN Class of 1980.
• Katherine (Sullivan) Dowdle MS, RN, CNE of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. CMSV BSN Class of 1980.
• Patricia (Jadge) Rosso BSN, RN of Manhasset, N.Y. CMSV BSN Class of 1990.

The alumnae described their experience as “a journey to provide care and also feed one’s soul.”

Future trips are planned. Interested alumni should email Sister Cecelia Harriendorf:

Information about the Barbara Ford Center for Peace can be obtained by emailing:

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