Dianna Jaronik is a woman with staying power. She was recognized for 40 years of service with the Sisters of the Holy Cross during the Employee Service Awards in January. But that’s not to imply that for all these years Dianna simply stayed put. During her long-tenured career, Dianna has taken on varied roles, each a valuable step toward to her milestone achievement.
Dianna, who currently works as secretary and receptionist for Resident Services Administration, began working with the sisters in 1976, when her two daughters were toddlers. She started out in the emergency room registration department at Saint Joseph Hospital in South Bend, where she gathered and recorded incoming patient information. “It was a fun job,” she says, recalling the time a man approached the registration counter carrying a foam mannequin head. “When I asked where he lived, he answered, ‘On the streets of Loredo!’” Despite some scary moments, Dianne adds, “I loved it. We had a great group of people and great camaraderie.”
In time, she moved on to other roles within the hospital. As a patient financial counselor she felt the strain and discomfort of having to discuss payment options with uninsured individuals who often were very sick. And later, as a staff coordinator, she was on call 24/7, for two weeks at a time, handling schedules for five departments with 72 staff members. “That was tough,” she recalls.
Dianna then took a position at Holy Cross Resources in 1999. Her first day on the job, her husband Gordan handed her the newspaper: The headline announced the merger of Mercy Health Services and Holy Cross Health System, Corp. Within two years, “about 85 of us lost our jobs,” Dianna says.
Before her last day in April 2001, she heard from one of Gordan’s childhood friends who worked at the Congregation’s mother house. Rozanne Nowacki—who also was celebrated during the recent service awards program for 35 years of employment —told Dianna about an opening at Saint Mary’s.
But by the time Dianna applied for the position, the interviews were closed. A few days later, during her regular lunchtime walks with her director and former Saint Joseph Hospital co-worker, Pat Sheyka, Dianna mentioned what had happened. “The next thing I know, I get a call from Human Resources here, asking me to come in for an interview…and I got the job.”
Dianna still credits her friend for getting her that interview, though Pat never admitted her involvement. “Sometimes I think, ‘What if we hadn’t gone for a walk that day?’ Talk about providence, right from the very start,” Dianna says.
After 15 years in her current job, Dianna still finds herself overwhelmed by her journey. “This is the prize,” she says, her eyes teary with gratitude. She rolls off some perks of her position: the autonomy, the professional growth, the appreciation she regularly receives, the relationships. She fondly recalls daily visits by Sisters M. Joseph (Sullivan) and Patricia Ann Thompson. “They were like a comedy routine, so funny and quick-witted. They would start my day with laughing.”
When asked about retirement, Dianna brushes aside the idea. “I love being here. I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love the sisters. Why would I give it up as long as I can do a good job?” Through ideal and challenging work experiences, Dianna says she has always fallen back on her mother’s guidance and her faith. “My mother taught me that it was a privilege to have a job, and that you should treat it as such, no matter the job.” In relating with others, she adds, she tries to treat others the way she would like to be treated. “We can choose to be negative or positive, and as my mother told me, two wrongs do not make a right. I tell myself that this is the road that God has put me on, and it is up to me to do the best that I can.”