Pope Francis congratulates Sister Carol Keehan as she receives Spirit of Francis Award

by | May 29, 2022 | News

Catholic Extension celebrates Sister Carol Keehan for her advocacy for the poor
and universal access to healthcare

Pope Francis congratulated Sister Carol Keehan, D.C., in a message shared at Catholic Extension’s first-ever Spirit of Francis event held in Washington, D.C.

Sister Carol is best known for her influential voice, devotion, and lifetime of advocacy work toward healthcare reform particularly in poverty-stricken communities. She has leveraged her relentless energy and tireless commitment to aid the underserved throughout decades of service.

The Catholic Extension Spirit of Francis Award recognizes an individual or group who has made a significant impact on the mission of the Catholic Church in America through service or philanthropy. Sister Carol received the award at a May 25 dinner at the United States Library of Congress.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, shared a message on behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis congratulating Sister Carol on receiving the Spirit of Francis Award:

His Holiness willingly associates himself with the recognition of her many years of dedicated leadership in continuing the healing ministry of Jesus Christ through the provision of quality healthcare for all, especially those most in need.”

Other notables such as Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, archbishop of Washington, and Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago and chancellor of Catholic Extension’s board of governors, were in attendance.

Pope Francis congratulated Sister Carol Keehan, D.C., in a message shared at Catholic Extension’s first-ever Spirit of Francis event held in Washington, D.C.

Sister Carol is best known for her influential voice, devotion, and lifetime of advocacy work toward healthcare reform particularly in poverty-stricken communities. She has leveraged her relentless energy and tireless commitment to aid the underserved throughout decades of service.

The Catholic Extension Spirit of Francis Award recognizes an individual or group who has made a significant impact on the mission of the Catholic Church in America through service or philanthropy. Sister Carol received the award at a May 25 dinner at the United States Library of Congress.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, shared a message on behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis congratulating Sister Carol on receiving the Spirit of Francis Award:

His Holiness willingly associates himself with the recognition of her many years of dedicated leadership in continuing the healing ministry of Jesus Christ through the provision of quality healthcare for all, especially those most in need.”

Other notables such as Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, archbishop of Washington, and Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago and chancellor of Catholic Extension’s board of governors, were in attendance.

Sister Carol leads the Health Task Force of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, established by Pope Francis in March 2020 to respond to the global devastation caused by the pandemic. Prior to her current role, she served for 13 years as president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), the largest group of nonprofit healthcare providers in the nation. The CHA comprises more than 600 hospitals and 1,600 long-term care and other health facilities across the United States.

“Sister Carol stands in a long line of consecrated religious women who have led the way in providing quality healthcare that leaves no one behind,” Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said. “To this day, she continues to show great leadership, advising the Holy See on healthcare issues, and most recently, cooperating with Pope Francis’ initiatives to educate the world about COVID-19 vaccination.”

Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, presented the award to Sister Carol.

He said,

The connection between Sister Carol and Catholic Extension’s mission is undeniable. We both believe deeply in our vocation to live out the Gospel by transforming our society, our country, and our world.”

Sister Carol, a member of Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, earned a degree in nursing in 1964. She attended to patients in the emergency room for several years before entering hospital management.

She served in various administrative and governance positions at hospitals sponsored by the Daughters of Charity, including 15 years as president and chief executive officer of Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C.

During her tenure at CHA, Sister Carol was a leading voice in promoting universal access to healthcare, especially for the vulnerable and those burdened by poverty. She led the CHA with distinction during a critical time for Catholic healthcare and for healthcare generally in the United States. She was instrumental in gathering political support for the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

In 2010, she was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and “Person of the Year” by the National Catholic Reporter. Sister Carol has been named to Modern Healthcare’s list of “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” for several years, topping the list at No. 1 in 2007.

The Spirit of Francis Award is inspired by its three namesakes: St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis, and Father Francis Clement Kelley, the founder of Catholic Extension––all of whom are known for embracing and helping the poor.

Proceeds from this Spirit of Francis Award Dinner will benefit religious sisters and their ministries.

Source: Catholic Extension

Additional Article: America Magazine Article

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