Mercy Care for the Adirondacks Commissions 18 new Parish Nurses

In a Dedication Ceremony held at the Sisters of St. Joseph in Watertown on November 3, 2012, Bishop Terry LaValley commissioned 18 Parish Nurses who had completed the “Foundations in Faith Community Nursing Workshop” offered by Mercy Care for the Adirondacks.

Bishop LaValley remarked: “Parish Nurses are treasured ministers in our parishes that are blessed to have them.  In their attentiveness to the needs of the whole person: body, mind, and spirit, they live out the Gospel mandate to give reverence and dignity to each and every human person.  Professional skill and faith merge in the heart of the parish nurse and God visits His people through their presence among us.  I am so grateful to Mercy Care for the Adirondacks and to Sr. Catherine Cummings, RSM who trains our parish nurses for this valued ministry.  Our parish families are so blessed to have these individuals who care for their health.”

Bishop Terry LaValley, Pastors, and Sr. Catherine Cummings, RSM, Director of Friendship Volunteer and Parish Nurse Programs for Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, welcome 18 new Parish Nurses who will serve in seven different faith communities


The Parish Nurses commissioned included:


St. Cecilia’s, Adams St. James, Carthage St. Mary’s, Clayton Community of Lacona Concordia Lutheran, Watertown Holy Family, Watertown St. Patrick’s/St. Anthony’s, Watertown
Sherrie Estal Nancy McBride Jean Heady Jill Soule Sonya Holloway Robin McAleese Doris Brown
Patricia Greco   Fran Lynch     Rita Brancheau Penny Clark
Niki Henry         Maureen O’Donnell Barbara O’Brien
Linda Hurley         Beverly Shepard  
Rosemary LaLone-Kirsch            
Patricia Simpson            

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, worked in collaboration with Catholic Charities to bring parish nursing to the northern part of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.  Mercy Care has trained more than 40 parish nurses in northern New York since its establishment in 2007.  There are currently 12 active Volunteer Parish Nurses in the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondacks, Mercy Care’s direct service area.

 More than 50 people attended to honor the nurses for completing 36 contact hours of training based on the International Parish Nurse Resource Center curriculum.

Sr. Catherine Cummings, RSM, Ed.D., R.N. directs Mercy Care’s Parish Nurse and Friendship Volunteer Programs.  She is qualified as a Parish Nurse Educator.  Sr. Catherine remarked, “These volunteer nurses are so generous to dedicate themselves to practicing holistic health for individuals and the community using their nursing knowledge combined with spiritual care.  The focus of their work is on the intentional care of the spirit, assisting the members of a faith community to maintain and/or regain wholeness in body, mind, and spirit.”

Parish Nurses offer assistance in obtaining community services, help with understanding diagnoses, medications and diagnostic tests, provide blood pressure screening, health education programs and much more.  The parish nurse does not do hands-on nursing or duplicate what is available through the public health nurse, but does bring his or her nursing experience and her faith to the service of others.

Mercy Care’s role in the Parish Nurse Program assists churches and communities in the recruitment of volunteer parish nurses, provides education and training, provides networking opportunities for Mercy Care Nurse and Friendship Volunteers, provides health education materials and program information suitable for use and publication by churches and community organizations, and serves as a resource and facilitator for parish nurses. 


Mercy Care carries out its mission to extend mercy to elders in order to enhance the fullness of their lives through a Friendship Volunteer Program, a Parish Nurse Program, and an Education and Advocacy Program.  In addition to its Parish Nurse Volunteers, Mercy Care has 70 Friendship volunteers assisting elders in the Tri-lakes.   They have contributed over 9,000 hours of service to their elder neighbors.

Mercy Care is supported solely with charitable contributions and grants.  Mercy Care can be reached at 185 Old Military Road, Lake Placid, NY  12946, by calling Donna Beal, Executive Director, at 523-5580, or by e-mail at  For more information, visit Mercy Care’s web site at

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