Sister Catherine Shean dies


Sister Catherine Shean, a Medical Mission Sister who was raised in the Bronx, and most recently lived at St. Joseph’s Manor in Philadelphia, died Oct. 1 in Philadelphia. She was 97 years old.

Sister Catherine worked as a nurse at several health facilities 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, N.M., where she became a nurse-midwife.

Sister Catherine served over 40 years as a nurse-midwife and nurse-midwifery tutor in Santa Fe; Ghana; Kenya; Nigeria; Malawi; and Los Angeles, Calif. In her latter years, she also volunteered at a 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.”

Sister Catherine was the sister of Mary Shean of Haddon Heights. She also has several nephews living with their families in the Camden Diocese.

Her funeral Mass is Friday, Oct. 5, at the Medical Mission Sisters’ North American Headquarters in Philadelphia. Burial follows in the Sisters’ Cemetery.