By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager
To say Sr. Noreen Walsh’s ministry keeps her busy would be an understatement.
As Health Care Coordinator for the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, Sr. Noreen's responsibilities involve “working closely with sisters on a one to one basis.”
Sr. Noreen further explained, “I provide guidance, support, and advice to sisters with complex medical issues and navigate through medical care scenarios that involve different doctors and treatment methods.”
Her value to the congregation is significantly noticed and appreciated by the entire congregation.
Sr. Michaela Connolly, Prioress, shared, “Sr. Noreen is a great gift to the congregation and is tireless in her service to our sisters. Her knowledge and expertise are invaluable to us.”
As knowledgeable and busy as she was before the pandemic outbreak, once March hit, Sr. Noreen had to pivot and completely adapt her ministry responsibilities to best care for her fellow sisters.
“No longer was I able to be physically present with a sister at a doctor’s appointment or a hospital emergency room visit. I had to wait outside in the car.”
A heartbreaking change caused by the pandemic that was “hard personally and professionally” for Sr. Noreen has been not being physically present for sisters who were dying.
“We were always able to be present at the death bed of our sisters. They did not die alone.”
Another shift in her ministry caused by the pandemic forced Sr. Noreen to emphasize supporting caregivers and family members, instead of the patient, since “they have limited contact with their loved one.”
As discussions regarding a second wave of the virus, as well as developing vaccines and therapeutics, continue, Sr. Noreen hopes that others will “do their part in trying to prevent the spread of disease and reach out to one another.”
Sr. Noreen reflected, “the physical effects of the disease are one aspect of it, but the psychological effects can be even more damaging. The depression and isolation that many people are experiencing can take a much worse physical toll on people. We need to be there for one another in whatever way we can.”