> Ministering in the Time of COVID – Sister Catherine Michael Napier

Ministering in the Time of COVID – Sister Catherine Michael Napier


Sister Catherine Michael Napier has been on staff at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, New York for 40 years, first as a nurse and now as quality professional, working to improve patient outcomes and financial efficiency. Since COVID-19 required that she work from home, she has maintained a regular work and worship routine.

“Except from attending meetings with my Quality Department and attending meetings with the Anesthesia Department, working at home does not differ much from what I do at the office,” she says. The hospital provided Sister Catherine Michael with a computer at her home. “I can review the mortality cases at the hospital, and I am reviewing the quality care that the providers give our patients. I listen in on the safety huddle from the hospital every morning.” Safety huddles are regular meetings for sharing information about potential or existing problems that could impact patient and hospital staff safety.

Her work day doesn’t begin, however, until she has said her prayers and recited the Franciscan office. She also depends on the internet for daily Mass. (“I like the Catholic Network,” she notes). Sister also exercises with a daily walk around her block, making sure to keep her distance from others who might be doing the same. Her biggest challenge in working from home?

“Doing my own cooking,” she says. “I usually get all of my meals from the hospital and now I can’t.”

Happy to be able to continue her ministry, Sister Cather Michael still looks forward to a life outside home.

“I am looking forward at the end of this quarantine to visiting with friends and family,” she says. “To seeing my co-workers and friends at the hospital.”