Sister Fe V. Sumalde tried to enter the convent of the Carmelites religious community in her native Philippines at the age of 19, but the mother superior sent her home, telling her to see the world first.
She came to the United States alone in 1975 and became a nanny for a friend’s two young children in Seattle. She entered the Sisters of Providence as a candidate in 1990, but chose to leave the program and return to the Philippines to visit her mother and her dying father.
In 1991, she entered the novitiate, spending her canonical year in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The next year, as an apostolic novice, she volunteered as a patient representative at St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Center in Portland, Ore. She trained to be a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Clackamas Community College and then worked at Providence Child Center.
After training for the chaplaincy at Providence Portland Medical Center, she became a chaplain at Providence Yakima Medical Center (formerly St. Elizabeth Medical Center). She has been nominated for Yakima Valley’s One World, One Valley Award for “unsung heroes” and was nominated as employee of the month and of the year in 2003.
Today, she is in her 19th year as a hospital chaplain, still providing emotional, spiritual and grief support to patients and their families and hospital staff at what is now called Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center.