Sister Catherine Shean, M.M.S., the daughter of the late Maurice and Catherine (Brown) Shean, a Medical Mission Sister who was born in Perth Amboy, N.J., and raised in the Bronx, died Oct. 1 in Philadelphia. She was 97.
Her funeral Mass is today at 10 a.m. at the Medical Mission Sisters' North American Headquarters in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia (8400 Pine Road). Interment follows in the Sisters' Cemetery.
After receiving her diploma as a registered nurse from St. Vincent's Hospital in New York in 1937, Sister Catherine worked as a nurse at several health facilities in the city before entering the Medical Mission Sisters in 1943. She made her First Vows in 1945, then was assigned to the Sisters' Catholic Maternity Institute (CMI) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she became a nurse-midwife.
Sister Catherine served over 40 years as a nurse-midwife and nurse-midwifery tutor in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Berekum and Techiman, Ghana; Nangina, Kenya; Mushin, Nigeria; Phalombe, Malawi; and Los Angeles. In her latter years, she also volunteered at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic in Tucson, Ariz., and was active in parish ministry there. In 1994, Sister was honored with the American College of Nurse-Midwives' Hattie Hemschemeyer Award for her distinguished and exceptional achievements in nurse-midwifery.
Of her own expression of the Medical Mission Sisters' mission of healing presence, Sister Catherine has said, "It's just the day-to-day contact you hope the Lord helps you to have with each person...and helps them to realize how wonderful they are."
At the time of her death, Sister Catherine Shean was retired from active ministry and living in St. Joseph's Manor in Philadelphia.