Sr. Eileen Hennessy’s connection with the Sisters of St. Francis is very definitely a “home-based” one. The year Eileen was born, her sister, Sr. Kyran, entered our congregation. “I learned a lot about the community from letters and photos from her over the years,” Sr. Eileen explained. “On her first visit home when I was 18, I met her in person. I learned even more about the congregation and decided to join.”
Although her earliest years in the congregation were in elementary education, most of Sr. Eileen’s years in ministry have been spent in healthcare—primarily in radiology. In late 2017 she moved to Our Lady of Angels Convent. There she was asked to take over the health office. In this position she is primarily responsible for ordering and/or distributing prescription refills for the sisters who live at Our Lady of Angels Convent. “These are ordered once a week, documented, and sent to our local pharmacy,” she explained. Once the refills are received and checked in, Sr. Eileen packages and delivers them to the individual sisters. She keeps a record of all medications, and verifies and submits bills to the finance office. In addition to assisting with over the counter medications when needed, Sr. Eileen also assists with items like bandaids, Tylenol, hot packs, and ice bags. She makes sure that wheelchairs are available on each floor of the motherhouse and keeps walkers and crutches available for emergencies.
One of the advantages of living at Our Lady of Angels Convent is the option of having a “home visit” from a local podiatrist. Another aspect of Sr. Eileen’s duties via the health office is keeping records of dates and times for these visits. “I notify sisters in advance and prepare the office for the visit,” she explained. “I assist the doctor as needed and then prepare for the next time that the room will be in use.”
Another of Sr. Eileen’s tasks includes maintaining health records on each of the sisters who live at Our Lady of Angels Convent. These records are updated annually. In addition, she also keeps a record of insurance information which is updated as needed.
Like most of our ministries, Sr. Eileen’s work presents challenges—primarily challenges in meeting deadlines. As in most cases, however, the challenges are outweighed by the blessings. To Sr. Eileen these blessings include “being to assist sisters when and if problems arise with insurance or with medicine deliver.”
So…does Sr. Eileen have time to enjoy activities outside of the health office? “Outside my ministry,” she explained, “I enjoy walking, reading, knitting, crocheting, driving sisters to appointments and to shop, and, in general, helping out.” And what out of all of these activities—both for work and pleasure—does Sr. Eileen enjoy most? “I enjoy all of it!” she stated. And in chatting with Sr. Eileen either in a social situation, a ride to the doctor, or enjoying a meal, one readily grasps that fact that she does, indeed, “enjoy all of it!”
Sr. Ann Marie Slavin, OSF