Sister at Jefferson Hospital never stops serving and caring

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When the three Hupert sisters attended Altoona Catholic High School — now Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School — they were taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden.

All three -- Mona and twins Nancy and Carolyn -- eventually joined the order and became nuns themselves.

“Our parents had a strong faith that they instilled in us. We also knew the Sisters as teachers, loved and deeply respected them as well as admired what they did,” said Sister Nancy, who entered the Noviciate of the Sisters of St. Joseph at the Motherhouse with her twin after they graduated from high school in 1954.

“It was wonderful to be with a group of women with similar goals. ‘‍Love of God and love of neighbor, without distinction’‍ is the charisma of the Sisters of St. Joseph,” she said.

Sister Nancy, a member of the Jefferson Hospital community since 1992, was honored May 29 for her contributions to patients and their families, as well as to other employees, as she celebrated her Diamond Jubilee anniversary of 60 years of service.

The day included a reception for co-workers and friends and a Mass for Ascension Thursday, which was attended by about 100 people and followed by another reception.

“It was so wonderful that it is deeply embedded in my heart and memory,” she said of the celebration.

“Sister Nancy retired from her position in 2006 and continues to inspire us to incorporate care and compassion in every aspect of our patient care as a consultant to the hospital,” Louise Urban, executive vice president of the hospital, said.

“She visits our patients, serves as a Eucharistic minister and participates in quarterly patient memorial services,” Ms. Urban added.

The first teaching job for Sister Nancy — known then as Sister Thomas — was in the elementary grades at St. Bernard School in Mt. Lebanon for three years.

Over the next nine years, she taught elementary school at St. Margaret Mary in Lower Burrell, St. Veronica in Ambridge and St. Thomas More in Bethel Park.

In 1970, Sister Thomas became Sister Nancy, her baptismal name.

In the succeeding years, she served in various principal and teaching posts before returning to St. Thomas More as principal for 10 years and then principal at St. Bernard School for six years.

“It is very enriching and it helps you develop both professionally and personally,” she said of her multiple assignments. “It definitely teaches flexibility. It is also part of developing obedience.” 

In 1992, Sister Nancy was assigned to continue her service in health care administration as vice president at Jefferson Regional Medical Center — now Jefferson Hospital — following in the footsteps of Sister M. Crescentia Mulvehill, the hospital‘‍s founder.

Sister Nancy served as the president of its fundraising component, the Jefferson Foundation, and oversaw the Willis Nursing Center in Homestead.

As part of the former Homestead Hospital, the nursing center has a connection with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden. Homestead Hospital was consolidated with St. Joseph Hospital in South Side — staffed by the Sisters — to form the South Hills Health System in 1976.

In 2002, the name was changed to Jefferson Regional Medical Center.

Today, as a consultant, Sister Nancy continues her focus on serving the needs of others, such as helping distribute Holy Communion to patients in their rooms five days a week, reading Scriptures at memorial services and serving as a member of the hospital’‍s ethics committee.

She is looking forward to the opening of the hospital’‍s first obstetrics unit in November.

“Developing relationships over the years has been truly a gift, and my presence here is encouraging and motivating employees to extend quality and compassionate care,” she said.

“I thank God every day for the privilege of serving patients and all whom I meet here at the hospital.”

Retirement is not on her radar.

“I plan to keep on going until God sends me someplace else,” she said.

Margaret Smykla,freelance writer:




OCCUPATION: Consultant, Jefferson Hospital, Jefferson Hills

HOBBIES: “Playing Scrabble with my twin sister; solving crossword puzzles; listening to music.”

WHAT’‍S ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND: “The Gift of Years” by Joan Chittister

WHAT’‍S IMPORTANT: “Using my God-given gifts to serve the needs of others.”

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