Susan is originally from Urbana, Illinois, in the Diocese of Peoria. After participating in mission trips to Appalachia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, she decided to become a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in 1984.
Susan currently works for the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa and this picture was taken with the clinical officer of Kikambala Dispensary which she visits each month.
During her 30 years serving the people of Africa, Susan has worked in three countries:
Susan began her ministry service in Tanzania where they renovated the outpatient department at Kowak bedded dispensary and remodeled the convent to become a 32 bed hospital. They also began community outreach clinics to combat and eventually control measles and other infectious childhood diseases.
In Sudan she worked in the Diocese of Torit. Her original ministry was to start primary health care services in Torit. However the war displaced everyone to Nimule (1991-1997) where she began a tuberculosis treatment program that cared for over 500 patients before is was closed due to the war. She also assisted with primary health care in two camps of displaced persons totally 30,000 at one point.
In 1997 she moved to Toposaland and set up the first modern medical services provided among the eastern Toposa, a nomadic indiginous group of people in a semi-arid environment.
In 2003 she moved to Kenya to work in the Diocese of Kitale. She worked at Kimini Cottage hospital which they renovated from a 19 to 32 bed unit. The medical team trained Kenyan Family Medicine resident doctors during their one month community medicine rotation. They also did community outreach clinics to Kolongolo and Matisi clinics. During the post election violence in 2007-2008 they assisted in the provision of medical care for 9000 people displaced from Mt. Elgon to Kiminini environs.
In 2012, Susan was awarded the Medal of Valor by the American Medical Association in recognition of her life-long work and "courage under extraordinary circumstances." See her acceptance speech here.
Susan works as the assistant to Sr. Salome Kamene, the Kenyan Diocesan Health coordinator. Together, they try to improve the standard of care in the 21 health units overseen by the archdiocese. Susan moves around to the different units to teach, and to provide supervision and consultations for patients that the health care workers are not able to manage. She is also assisting in the design and renovation of dispensaries and she assists with the employment of personnel and development of plans and programs in the health department. Susan’s medical skills and extensive experience in Africa make a valuable contribution to the healthcare needs of the people in Mombasa.
Susan's work is impossible without your support!
Please consider making a financial donation to support Susan's work in Kenya. Tax-deductible donations can be made below, over the phone (1-800-867-2980), or by mail (Maryknoll Lay Missioners, P.O. Box 307, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0307).
Also be sure to visit the Maryknoll Lay Missioners web site where you can read more about Susan and the other lay missioners
Finally, please pray for us! We believe in the power of prayer, regardless of your religious or spiritual persuasion. Remembering us in your prayers means everything, and we'll remember you in ours.
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