By Margaret Palliser, OP
On April 29, Sparkill Dominican Sister Margaret Theresa Oettinger, OP, received the 2013 Saint Catherine of Siena Award for Leadership and Excellence in Catholic Health Care. The award honors those who have made significant contributions to Catholic health care through excellence in leadership, education and distinguished service.
Sister Margaret is director of pastoral care at The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). The award was presented by the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry following a special Mass at the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena. His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, made opening remarks to the audience which included physicians, hospital administrators, nurses, chaplains, sisters, volunteers, friends and family who gathered to honor the men and women who care for the sick. The Eucharist was celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, who was also honored that evening. After the Mass, attendees gathered together in celebration at a dinner reception.
A true “daughter” of the Dominican parish of Saint Catherine of Siena, Margaret was baptized there, grew up in the parish and even worked in the priory as a teenager. Her life and ministry as a Dominican has come full circle with her 23 years of ministry at HSS, working closely with the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry, and her celebration of her golden jubilee as a Sparkill Dominican last year.
According to Margaret, the goal of the HSS Pastoral Care Department is to offer spiritual, cultural and emotional support to HSS patients, family and staff. Over the years, she and her team at HSS have put numerous programs in place to accomplish this. The work that she and the Pastoral Care Department do supports the HSS mission of providing the highest quality of care to patients; this includes caring for the spiritual needs of each patient. She remarked, “I am humbled and grateful to be with our patients, families and staff at HSS. At the end of the day it is I who am blessed by my encounters with each person I meet and work with.”