Southern Religion

In honor of Sister Carol

Sr. Carol Keehan, Daughter of Charity and leader of the Catholic Health Association, earned in many ways her place among those named in the 2010 Time 100.

Her vow to serve the poor brought her to the support of health reform at a critical juncture, writing, “The time is now for health reform.” And answering the tide of false claims that health reform was a path to publicly funded abortion:

The insurance reforms will make the lives of millions more secure, and their coverage more affordable. The reforms will eventually make affordable health insurance available to 31 million of the 47 million Americans currently without coverage.

CHA has a major concern on life issues. We said there could not be any federal funding for abortions and there had to be strong funding for maternity care, especially for vulnerable women. The bill now being considered allows people buying insurance through an exchange to use federal dollars in the form of tax credits and their own dollars to buy a policy that covers their health care. If they choose a policy with abortion coverage, then they must write a separate personal check for the cost of that coverage.

Among the true things Time proclaimed:

Undeterred by her critics, she refused to back down as she fought for reforms that would include prenatal and maternity care and coverage for uninsured children. She fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.

We turn to the Jesuit magazine America for a practical glimpse of the modesty with which she lives her vows of poverty. Michael Sean Winters writes of the president of the nation’s largest not-for-profit network of health care facilities:

Sister Carol then showed me the sisters’ living quarters. She, like all the other nuns, had a small room, like a dorm room, with a small bed, a small desk and one comfortable chair, a devotional book on the table beside it. There was a closet holding half a dozen habits and blouses. This was certainly not how most hospital executives lived. Sister Carol’s supreme confidence in discussing any and all aspects of health care management was matched by a complete absence of pride or protocol. You only had to watch her for five minutes as she interacted with the hospital staff to realize that she was as down-to-earth as she was competent, as solicitous of others as she was unafraid to make a decision on her own.

She was also one of some 60 leaders of women religious, representing 59,000 Catholic Sisters, who broke with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to support passage of the Senate health reform bill.

Her clear voice remains an unwavering, truthful answer to those who seek continuously to smear the law as an inroad for immorality, rather than the triumph of Christian charity that it is.


May 1, 2010 - Posted by | Catholic, Politics, Publications | ,

1 Comment

  1. I enjoy reading about her.

    Comment by jack | May 1, 2010

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