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Sisters of Providence announce two recipients of 2016 Mother Joseph Award

Maureen Morris, executive administrative assistant at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, and Rebecca (Becca) Hawkins, director of Compassionate Care for Providence Health & Services, have been chosen by the Sisters of Providence to receive the 2016 Mother Joseph Award.

Profiles of the winners

The Mother Joseph Award is given annually to a person who “exemplifies the values and courage of Mother Joseph,” the first provincial superior of the Sisters of Providence in the West. Maureen received the Mother Joseph Award in a reception held May 5, in the chapel at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, Wash. Rebecca received her award May 13, in a reception in the chapel at Providence Academy, in Vancouver, Wash.

Maureen Morris

Maureen Morris

For 20 years, Maureen Morris has been “The Face of Providence” for every person who comes in the door at St. Joseph Residence, the home of retired and infirm Sisters of Providence in West Seattle. Maureen was no stranger to the sisters when she took the job, having already served a few years at the front desk of the adjacent Mount St. Vincent.

“Maureen Morris lives the values that are at the heart of this award,” said Sister Lucille Dean, one of the scores of Sisters of Providence who supported her nomination. “A woman of compassion, she has for years demonstrated her care and her concern for the Sisters who both live and visit at St. Joseph Residence. She has a spontaneous smile that radiates ‘Welcome’ and personal recognition of all who pass through the door or step to her desk for help, whether that be the residents, members of the Community or guests who may be strangers. She is discrete and respectful, and she recognizes the dignity of each person. She is calm and at the same time manages to share a spirit of joy. She does appear to possess a flame of love and commitment – and it is interesting that she has chosen to work among the elderly, Mother Emilie Gamelin’s original work and one that was brought West by Mother Joseph.”

Provincial Councilor Jo Ann Showalter, SP, who coordinated this year’s award presentation, said, “In her own, quiet way, Maureen is integral to the hospitality and life of the sisters and visitors at St. Joseph Residence. She exemplifies the values of our congregation: humility, simplicity and charity. Mother Joseph would be pleased.”

Rebecca Hawkins

Rebecca Hawkins

Rebecca Hawkins, MSN, ANP, ACHPN, has been an oncology and palliative care nurse practitioner for more than 30 years and is a nationally recognized educator, speaker and writer in her field. In addition to her role as director of Compassionate Care across Providence, she is a palliative care nurse practitioner for St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash. She feels called to serve those who suffer, especially those struggling with pain, serious illness, and death and dying. One of her focus areas is how to improve health care by “caring for those who care for patients.”

Providence Chief Nursing Officer Deborah Burton, Ph.D., RN, said Rebecca has “advocated tirelessly for more palliative care in every ministry, and for setting standards for how we should deliver palliative care, no matter which setting or the patient’s ability to pay. Becca has been masterful in steering palliative care toward much greater visibility and priority for the organization as a whole.

“After over 30 years of a very successful oncology and palliative care career, Becca more recently has been called now to a new and very challenging focus for her work and life,” Deborah said. “After traveling to Central America with a Providence team to discern how and where we should focus our international health efforts, Becca realized she was called to step down from palliative care to focus exclusively on cultivating greater compassion in the work of Providence. Together with her physician partner, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Becca has grown a compassion program now tremendously popular across Providence, in a wide range of both clinical and administrative settings. The program is receiving national acclaim and is growing very rapidly across the health system.”

The focus of the Providence sisters, “from the very beginning of the religious community in Montreal, has always been to address the unmet needs of people around us with love and compassion,” Sister Jo Ann said. Mother Joseph carried forward and exemplified that focus. “Rebecca is well known for her compassionate outreach to patients and staff, locally and internationally. There is no question that she meets the unmet needs of those suffering physically and emotionally. And she does it with great love.”

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