Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/24/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sister Mary Jean Ryan, nun and CEO retires, marking the end of an era in Catholic healthcare.

It's a sign of the times. Sister Mary Jean Ryan, one of the last CEO's in the church from a religious community, has retired from her post as the head of SSM Health Care, a group of charitable Catholic hospitals. In 1970, virtually every Catholic hospital in the United States was overseen by clergy or religious. Today, that number is down to 8. 

Sister Mary Jean Ryan of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, is the last nun to serve as CEO of a Catholic hospital in the United States. She retired on August 1st.

Sister Mary Jean Ryan of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, is the last nun to serve as CEO of a Catholic hospital in the United States. She retired on August 1st.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/24/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Sister Mary Jean Ryan, SSM Health Care, Catholic Hospitals


ST LOUIS, MO (Catholic Online) - Sister Mary Jean Ryan started her career as a nurse in 1968. Working under other staff who were members of religious communities, she performed her duties being continuously promoted until she became SSM Health Care's first CEO in 1986.

Her personal drive to provide quality care to patients throughout the system has earned her the title of, "one of the most powerful people in health care," according to Modern Healthcare Magazine, as well as several prestigious awards and honors. While she continues to write, speak publicly, and to chair several boards of directors, her retirement is a reminder of the growing influence of the laity in the church, as ordered ministries decline. 

Nearly every modern Catholic hospital in the nation was established by a religious order. Until the 1970's, those orders maintained a firm grasp on their hospitals, running them as charitable institutions. One in six Americans are treated in these facilities each year, often without the ability to pay.

However, as lay businesspeople take up the mantle of leadership, the question remains if those institutions will continue in their tradition of charity, or if they too will succumb to the seductive prevailing culture of profits that has made multi-millionaires out of hospital executives. In 2008, Catholic hospitals generated revenues of $30 billion dollars, but had expenses of $85 billion which includes nearly $6 billion in charity--a shortfall of $55 billion dollars.

The Catholic tradition of healthcare is long and storied. Dating back to the medieval period, the Church has always provided medical care to those who could least afford it. The earliest hospitals were as much for the sick as they were for the poor and homeless. In America, orders of monks and nuns, often from Europe, founded the first Catholic hospitals.

This tradition continued unabated, until recently, when vocations began their sharp decline in the US. As the decline in vocations continued from the 1960's to the present day, the laity has replaced clergy and members of religious communities at every level. Today, only 8 of the 59 Catholic health care systems are overseen by clergy or members of religious orders.

The mood of the sisters in the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, Sister Mary Jean's order, is understandably downcast, but resigned. In a recent interview, Sister Mary Jean stated, "We can't be maudlin about this, I mean, yes, we are a dying breed. We are disappearing from the face of the earth and all of that. That being said, perhaps this is a moment for people to acknowledge the contribution that has been made by women religious throughout our history in the United States."

Concern however, is directed towards the patients who will invariably receive care in Catholic hospitals. Will the quality of care be the same under lay leadership as it was under ordained leadership? Will the church's emphasis on the sanctity of life always be upheld over profits? Will the hospitals eventually become so secularized as to be "catholic" only in name? 

Thus far, the answer has been, yes. Sister Mary Jean Ryan has set an example by turning away doctors and other business arrangements that would not be of benefit to the poor such as those on Medicaid. Charitable care is still given in Catholic hospitals, and abortions are not performed.

Although Sister Mary Jean Ryan will no longer be directing the day-to-day business of SSM Health Care, she will continue to speak and be listened to. She has co-authored two books on the business and ethics healthcare and  she continues to travel and give lectures on the importance of providing safe, quality care to all patients. And as long as she continues her tireless work, the tradition of the Church will remain to the benefit of all who are weary and wont of care.


---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Health

Ancient remedy using natural ingredients appears to stop 'superbug' Watch

Image of Modern researchers are researching why the salve works so effectively.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a flesh infection usually transmitted over lengthy hospital stays, may have met its match in an ancient, medieval potion that uses only natural ingredients. The seemingly magical potion, which contains ... continue reading


Your health is 'written' on your face: Facial imaging exposes the dramatic pace of aging Watch

Image of The process is a part of the

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report by a Chinese research team, facial features are proven more reliable in determining how fast a person is aging and some related health issues than the usual blood tests. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - A report, published in the March ... continue reading


5 Super Simple Ways to help Age Proof your Eyes and Vision Watch

Image of Protect your eyes as they are very precious.

By Wendy RN., BA, MBA

Everyone wants to have good eyesight well into their later years. Here are 5 super easy ways to help protect your eyes and your vision. LOS ANGELES, CA - (Rise Above Health) Your eyes are an important part of your health. To make sure your eyes are healthy and you ... continue reading


Drink your coffee with confidence - daily java proven to prevent liver cancer Watch

Image of Coffee seems to protect people from liver cancer, which killed 746,000 people around the world in 2012.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are many reasons to watch you alcoholic beverage intake. Researchers say more than three alcoholic drinks a day increases your risk for this highly deadly version of the disease. The good news: It appears that the consumption of coffee, rich in ... continue reading


New biomarker detects body reaction to chemotherapy improving cancer treatment Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A reason many patients lose their chance of surviving ovarian cancer is because they are opting out of chemotherapy. With a recent discovery, researchers are hoping this new biomarker will help patients with high-grade serious ovarian cancer (HGSC) and thus, make ... continue reading


Are you washing your hair wrong? How to get hair salon results at home Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Do you feel like you have bad hair almost everyday, but after you go to a salon, it feels like it has transformed into something completely different: silky and soft. Hairdressers have no magic tricks, but they have tips they've learned from training. You may actually ... continue reading


World's oldest evidence of breast cancer found in 4,200-year-old Egyptian skeleton Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While one of the leading causes of death, cancer is virtually absent in archaeological records of ancient man. The notion that modern lifestyles, people living longer and man-made chemicals being responsible for the disease has been accepted as a given by many. ... continue reading


5 Most Important Foods for Beautiful Healthy Hair Watch

Image of When it comes to healthy hair, it's not just what you put on your hair that counts it is your diet that matters most!

By Wendy RN., BA, MBA

Who doesn't want a gorgeous, glossy mane of beautiful, bouncy, shiny healthy hair. The secret is more about what we eat, than all the expensive products that we put on our hair.  LOS ANGELES, CA - (Rise Above Health), Regardless of the type of hair you have, the ... continue reading


Doctors say daily dose of cereal is good for you! Here's why Watch

Image of The findings, published in the journal BMC Medicine, suggest that the cereal fiber component of whole grains accounts for the actions of the whole grains, and that cereal fiber-rich whole grain foods may have health benefits.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Most people start their day with a bowl of cereal, porridge or oatmeal - and it is actually good for you! Doctors say that a diet high in grain cuts the risk for both cancer and diabetes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Starting the day this way can add years ... continue reading


Once-a-day tablet said to 'turn off cancer' Watch

Image of One of only a handful of new medicines to be made available via the Cancer Drugs Fund, two trials in 28 British hospitals found Ibrutinib to be extremely effective in treating both mantle cell lymphoma, or MCL and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ibrutinib, hailed as a revolutionary drug capable of "switching off" cancer may soon be offered to patients with some forms of the disease. The once-a-day tablet could spare blood cancer patients the sometimes-agonizing side effects of chemotherapy. LOS ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Francis of Paola
April 2: Francis was born at Paola, Italy and was educated at the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter