August 23, 2014

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Nun receives unexpected tribute for 30-plus years of service

LORAIN — Sister Carole Anne Griswold has devoted the better part of her life to helping those unable to help themselves.

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Sister Carole Anne Griswold speaks at the dedication of a Garden of Peace commemoration and unveiling, on her retirement after 30-plus years as VP of Mission Integration at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Lorain on Sept. 6, 2013. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE TELEGRAM

On Friday, she reflected on 30-plus years of service to the poor and under-served as well as the honor bestowed on her during retirement ceremonies in an outdoor enclosed courtyard at Mercy Regional Medical Center on Kolbe Road.

“I hope this can be a place for our patients, employees and families to come and enjoy,” Griswold said of the space that was dedicated as the Sister Carole Anne Griswold Garden of Peace. “Everyone needs a break now and then.”

The ceremony also saw the unveiling of an icon of Mary, for whom Griswold’s order — the Sisters of Humility of Mary — is named.

“I’m pretty overwhelmed,” Griswold said as she began remarks to the 50 to 75 hospital officials, staff and others. “I didn’t expect any of this. It’s a beautiful tribute.”

Mercy CEO and President Ed Oley termed the garden a tangible tribute to Griswold, who was honored in 2011 when she observed her golden jubilee for 50 years as a member of the order that played a central role in shaping the mission of Mercy’s parent organization, Catholic Health Partners.

Griswold was elected by fellow members of the order to serve on its leadership team following her retirement.

Griswold began her career as a nurse at Lorain’s St. JosephHospital in 1967 before advancing to positions as a nursing educator and manager of spiritual care.

Beth Finnegan, the hospital’s director of community outreach, spoke of Griswold’s devotion to efforts such as the Resource Mothers program and parish nursing, which she was instrumental in establishing in LorainCounty.

“It is all about serving those with the greatest needs, those who are most vulnerable,” Griswold said.

Begun in 1993 by the Sisters of Humility of Mary, the Resource Mothers program has provided needed medical care to under-served women and children including a large number of Hispanics.

“It empowers them to get the help they need,” Finnegan said. “The program is also about education. We’ve had many moms graduate high school and college.”

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Catherine Woskobnick, left, the new VP of Mission Integration and Judy Jindra unveil an icon of Mary at the Garden of Peace commemoration. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE TELEGRAM

With the help of bilingual social workers, the program has also benefited immigrants doing seasonal work in the area.

“These are people who are here legally but not entitled to any government assistance, and that means the first thing they’re not getting is prenatal care,” Finnegan said.

Another program with far-reaching impact that Griswold helped establish in 1994 is the parish nursing program that today serves 90 Roman Catholic and non-Catholic Lorain County churches with the help of registered nurses and about 300 volunteers, many of whom are nurses.

Free blood pressure checks and lab screenings are provided to those without insurance or who cannot afford “huge co-pays or $150 for a doctor visit,” Finnegan said.

The nurses and volunteers also work to see that impoverished and older churchgoers receive needed treatments.

The parish nursing program is funded through the Nord Family Foundation and Mercy Foundation.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.