Sister Mary Miguel Gassmann, Age 100

West Midwest

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Sister Miguel was born in Valley City, North Dakota, and recalled seeing a Sister of Mercy dressed in white when she was in the third grade. “That's what I am going to be someday,” she told herself, and she never veered away from her resolve. She was a Sister of Mercy for 83 years! 

In 1937, she traveled to Mount Loretto Novitiate in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to enter the religious community. Sister Miguel earned her nursing degree from St. Catherine Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, ministering first as a nurse and wearing the white nurse’s habit she had admired as a young girl.

In the late 1940s, Sister Miguel was called to serve as the director of the school of nursing at Mercy Hospital in Devils Lake, North Dakota, and Mercy Hospital in Denver, Colorado, where she served for 15 years. She earned a master’s in hospital administration from Saint Louis University in Missouri. 

She spent 14 years at Mercy Hospital Council Bluffs and oversaw much of the hospital’s expansion into a regional medical center.

Sister Miguel took a three-year hiatus in the early 1980s to care for her mother, who, like herself, lived to be 100. Again, she returned to Omaha in 1983 to serve at Archbishop Bergan Mercy Hospital as the patient representative. In 1992, Sister Miguel joined Bergan Mercy’s mission services staff in what was known then as their Porch Ministry—the early beginnings of in-home health care. She did this for 17 years, until retiring at the age of 89.

Always faithfully living her motto, “What Would Christ Do Now?” Sister Miguel once said, “I feel blessed that I have been able to be involved in the healing ministry, whether it was through nursing patients, hospital administration, pushing a wheelchair or simply providing a gentle touch for someone who is hurting.”

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