Year Joined MKLM: 2017
Project(s): St. Patrick’s Dispensary
People Served: 40,000-50,000 people living at poverty level in the slum settlement known as Bangladesh. The dispensary provides 4,000 visits for babies & toddlers to receive immunizations each year and an additional 3,000-4,000 visits for routine outpatient services.
Project Goals: To provide holistic healthcare to the poorest of the poor – those living in marginal conditions and experiencing diseases of extreme poverty.
“I am exactly where God wants me to be at this stage in my life”
Kathy is a nurse at “St. Patrick’s Dispensary,” the only facility providing quality, caring, health services in the midst of Bangladesh. She serves outpatient and mother-child care, antenatal care, and a nutrition program, as well as treatment for tuberculosis & HIV+ patients. Through patient education, social support and an emphasis on independence, she strives to compassionately promote a foundation for a healthy lifestyle, and give hope and empowerment to single parents, to those living with chronic diseases and to those who are feeling there is no way out of their poverty.
Kathy grew up with the Maryknoll Magazine in her home. As she was getting ready to graduate from nursing school, she felt the call to become a Maryknoll Lay Missioner. She applied but before the process was finished, she changed her mind. The time was not right and Kathy opted instead to remain closer to her aging parents and gain experience as a nurse. She began her nursing career with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, working in a hospital that provided care to veterans. During this time, she also obtained her Masters Degree in Nursing and she started going on short-term mission trips – two to Haiti, one to Tanzania and two to Ethiopia. At the end of each trip, thoughts of long-term mission service lingered.
In 2012, having over 32 years of federal service, Kathy retired. She enjoyed retirement but the pull to long-term mission was still there. After checking out Peace Corps and other organizations, she always came back to Maryknoll. Finally, after five years of retirement, she decided it was now or never, and she applied to Maryknoll again – 34 years after her first application. Kathy says, “The time now was right. All the gates have been opened for me to do this… I am exactly where God wants me to be at this stage in my life.”
Kathy was born and raised in Wisconsin. After high school, she joined the US Navy and served as a hospital corpsman. Following that enlistment, she worked at an Indian boarding school in Chamberlain, South Dakota, which was run by the Sacred Heart Fathers. She then returned to Wisconsin and worked as an oral surgery assistant before deciding to pursue higher education as a registered nurse.