March 15, 2018
By Karel Lucander
In the mid-1800s, Savannah, Georgia, was a popular port for sailors—many sick after months at sea. A local doctor approached the Sisters of Mercy for their help with nursing. Four sisters, who were trained as teachers, accepted this challenge. They began nursing in a two-story house that became a makeshift hospital, with no running water or stairway, only a pump in the yard and rope ladder hanging from the top story. These sisters climbed the rope ladder many times daily, hauling up water, medicine, food, and whatever else they needed to treat their patients.
“It’s inspiring for us to have this example of our ancestors,” says Sister Margie Beatty, vice president for mission at St. Joseph’s/ Candler Health System in Savannah. “We have many, many challenges in health care today. But then you remember how those sisters who were not trained as nurses [managed].”
Supporting a Strong Team
With a master’s degree in education from Marquette University, Sister Margie is carrying on the tradition of transitioning from the classroom to health care. She taught high-school English for 13 years, was a chaplain at a city jail for women for nearly a decade and served in leadership for the Sisters of Mercy for 15 years before being recruited by St. Joseph’s/Candler President and CEO Paul Hinchey. As vice president of mission since 2001, she supports those working in pastoral and palliative care, ethics and outreach efforts.
“I have great people on my team—very creative, cooperative and willing, but it seems there’s never enough time. I wish I could slow down the clock,” Sister Margie says.
With 15 sisters working at the hospital, their dedication to the Mercy mission is contagious. “People really seem to like working in a faith-based organization. It’s more than a job, and they’re really participating in the healing ministry of Jesus,” she adds. Read More