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Sisters of Providence name two new sponsors of Providence Health & Services

Two renowned individuals in Catholic health care nationally have been selected to join the sponsors of Providence Health & Services (PH&S) by the Provincial Superior and Council of Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province. Provincial Superior Karin Dufault, SP, announced today that William J. (Bill) Cox, president and CEO of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, and Sister Juliana Casey, IHM, former executive vice president for mission integration for Catholic Health East, will begin their terms as part of Providence Ministries in April.

Providence Ministries, a Catholic Church entity entrusted with the responsibility for ministries of the Church, includes Catholic religious and laypersons who serve as sponsors of the health care, education and social service ministries. It was created as an alternative model of sponsorship approved by the Vatican in 2009. The model, called a public juridic person, ensures that the Catholic ministries of the Sisters of Providence continue into the future in a manner consistent with their charism, mission and values, Sister Dufault said.

The sponsors focus on mission and values oversight for all of the current works of Providence Health & Services, which include the Little Company of Mary health care ministries in Burbank, Mission Hills and Torrance, Calif. The board of directors of PH&S is charged with governance.

The Sisters of Providence continue to be the sponsors of the Providence Pariseau Corporation ministries like Providence Sojourner Place, which offers transitional housing and services for women in Seattle, and intercommunity ministries like Transitions in Spokane and the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, in Seattle.

The death of one of the original Providence Ministries sponsors, Charles (Chuck) Hawley, who formerly served as vice president for public affairs for PH&S, led to the search for a new sponsor. Providence Ministries sponsors are responsible for determining their number, and based on their assessment of current needs they recommended that two new sponsors be appointed. Cox and Sister Casey were selected by the provincial superior and council of the Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province, supported by the recommendation of the Sponsor Nominating Committee, after a lengthy interview and discernment process. Cox will begin his three-year term after completing Hawley’s unexpired term which ends at the close of 2012.

“What a blessing it is that Sister Juliana and Bill have accepted the appointment to serve as sponsors of Providence Ministries!” Sister Dufault said. “They each bring incredible experience in and commitment to Catholic health care, education and social services.”

Cox has more than 30 years of national and state-level experience as an innovative leader in health care. He leads the Sacramento-based Alliance of Catholic Health Care, based in Sacramento, Calif., which is a statewide forum comprised of four health systems and three independent hospitals that operate a total of 54 Catholic and community-based hospitals in California. Through the Alliance, Catholic health care leaders collaborate to strengthen and promote the Catholic mission in health care by engaging in leadership formation, church relations, ethics and advocacy. Prior to joining the Alliance, Cox was executive vice president of the Catholic Health Association, in Washington, D.C.

His many accomplishments include leading five Catholic health care systems in the western United States in the development of the Sacramento-based Ministry Leadership Center (MLC), which provides an experience-based, theologically sound three-year formation program for senior managers. PH&S was one of the founding systems of MLC. In addition to the board of directors of the MLC, Cox serves on the board and as chair of Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C., and on the board of directors of the Alliance for Advancing Not-for-Profit Health Care, in Washington, D.C.

Sister Casey, of Ardmore, Penn., was educated in Detroit, Mich., by the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and entered the congregation in 1965. She was sent to the Catholic University of Louvain to study theology in the aftermath of Vatican II and received her doctorate of sacred theology and her Ph.D. there. She has taught theology and scripture, and served as provincial of the Northeast Province of her congregation for six years.

She is a former staff member of the Catholic Health Association, and later served on the staff of Catholic Health East in a role that included facilitation of its Sponsors’ Council. One of her first tasks there was development of a new model for sponsorship for the system that was approved by the Vatican in July 2000. For the next ten years she served as staff to the new public juridic person, Hope Ministries, as well as to the other sponsors. Sister Casey also was part of a small group that designed and conducted a multi-system Collaborative Formation Program for persons who would become sponsors. She retired from CHE in December 2010, but continues to be a consultant.

Cox and Sister Casey will serve in their new role alongside four other sponsors:

  • Anita Butler, SP – former provincial treasurer of Mother Joseph Province;
  • Johnny Cox (no relation to Bill Cox) – a pioneer in ethics in theology and health care;
  • Barbara Savage, PA – former vice president of mission leadership for Providence Health Care, and
  • Barbara Schamber, SP – the first provincial superior of Mother Joseph Province when it was formed in 2000.

Orientation for Cox and Sister Casey will begin with the April sponsors’ meeting. A missioning for them will be planned for later in the year.

Sister Dufault said the collaboration of sisters and of lay people in the works of Providence began in Montreal with the religious community’s foundress, Blessed Emilie Gamelin. “Through the years, lay colleagues have worked with us, assuming increasing responsibility for management and governance,” Sister Dufault said. “Providence Ministries allows lay people and other religious to join Providence sisters in serving as sponsors of these ministries.”

Sisters of Providence remain committed and involved in Providence Health & Services ministries and other ministries the sisters sponsor, including some as employees or as board members of Providence facilities. The sisters also continue to be involved in Providence activities, Sister Dufault said.

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