Dominican Sister of Peace Peggy Martin, O.P. Retirement Announcement

Dear Representatives and Major Superiors:   

Sister Peggy Ann Martin, OP, Executive Vice President of Sponsorship and Governance, a guiding light in the formation of both CommonSpirit Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, has decided to start the next chapter of her life and retire at the end of June 2020. Lloyd Dean and I are honored to have served alongside Sr. Peggy and have learned much from her about our sacred scriptures, canon law, and diplomacy. Please join us in celebration of her indelible legacy. 

A true visionary, Sr. Peggy was a member of the steering committee that founded Catholic Health Initiatives in 1996. She was instrumental in uniting four healthcare systems under Catholic Health Care Federation, the public juridic person first developed by Catholic Health Corporation in Omaha. A public juridic person allows an entity to operate within canon law similar to how public corporations operate within civil law. She helped define how to honor the Church, healthcare, and law in fulfilling the mission of our founding congregations.

After earning her licentiate in canon law, she joined CHI in 2000 serving as our Senior Vice President for Sponsorship and Governance, where she helped navigate complex issues while operating as a public juridic person, such as merging with other religious and non-religious entities. She also helped provide governance of the CHI Board of Stewardship Trustees throughout many years, and through the most recent merger of CHI and Dignity Health into CommonSpirit.  Her guidance helped CHI grow into the communities we serve today.

Beyond her work with CommonSpirit and CHI, Sr. Peggy was instrumental in 2009 when the Dominicans of Great Bend, Kansas, became one of seven founding members of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. With other representatives of the founding congregations, Sr. Peggy helped develop the constitutions for this new religious institution, fluently weaving together canon law and the Dominican Sisters of Peace’s unique vision and mission. She has served on the faculty of the Collaborative Formation Program for Sponsors of Public Juridic Persons, where she has helped inform and shape the future of Catholic sponsorship nationally. 

Sr. Peggy has a strong reputation for her ability to explain canon law to religious and lay leaders across industries and geographies. This is a testament to her early professional training and ministries in education. In March 2014, she was invited to speak to a symposium of financial officers of religious institutions in Rome, convened by Pope Francis. There, she helped hundreds of participants understand how their religious operations can best serve humanity with her presentation, “Public Juridic Persons: Advantages and Challenges.”

In 2015, Sr. Peggy received the prestigious Sr. Concilia Moran Award from the Catholic Health Association, one of the highest honors bestowed upon leaders in Catholic healthcare. She was recognized for her commitment to stewarding resources and knowledge to improve and expand Catholic healthcare. Her work and advocacy of public juridic persons has helped institutions care for the poor and vulnerable, defend human dignity, and promote the common good.

Mitch Melfi, Chief Legal Officer, will assume Sr. Peggy’s responsibilities and Sponsorship and Governance will begin reporting directly to him at the end of June.

Sr. Peggy’s passion and dedication is truly inspirational. While we will miss her wisdom, leadership and good company, we are sure that her legacy will live on in all we do. Please join me in thanking Sr. Peggy for all she has done for CommonSpirit, CHI and Catholic healthcare. Her spirit has helped define us and will surely thrive in her next endeavors.



Kevin E. Lofton, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
CommonSpirit Health