Second-year novice Sister Naomi Assuah, CSC, has notably contributed to local community and ministry life in Boise, Idaho. Welcomed by the local Holy Cross sisters, this novice had a three-month ministry experience living and serving with the sisters in Idaho. “We have appreciated having one of our young and newer members of the Congregation with us for these weeks,” said Sister Madeleine Marie (Clayton), CSC. “Our lives have been enriched through having Sister Naomi here, bringing her different culture and approach to things—not only to our [local congregational] community but to those with whom and to whom we minister.”
Joining a health care legacy
Sister Naomi’s main place of ministry was Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. In her volunteer work there, Sister Naomi carried the torch of a 129-year ministry. Called upon to build and deliver reliable and compassionate health care in Idaho during its earliest years, the sisters founded the Boise health center in 1894. The assignment provided her important ministry experience as a novice and included interactions with staff and patients. “Some days are busy when there are many patients who need help getting from their rooms to the exits where family members pick them up when they are discharged, or when flowers need to be delivered to patient rooms. Other times I help in the office,” Sister Naomi said.
Photo by Duane Garrett; Historic American Buildings Survey
Other hospital experiences Sister Madeleine arranged for Sister Naomi included: accompanying chaplains on their rounds, going with patient transport staff, holding babies while their mothers attended classes, helping environmental and nutrition services staff, observing some surgeries, accompanying a nurse with post-surgical patients, and the list goes on.
Becoming part of the local community
At Tuesday practices and Sunday Mass, Sister Naomi also lent her soprano voice to the choir at St. Mark’s Catholic Community Church.
She accompanied Sister Mary Louise Wahler, CSC, at St. Vincent de Paul conference meetings and during a visit with a neighbor assisted by the organization. “I learned there are poor people in this country and city,” said Sister Naomi, “which I would not have known if I did not have this experience.”
Ministry experience as a novice is an important step in a sister's vocation discernment process. This time not only connects her with other Holy Cross sisters as they live in community, it also provides her with real-life opportunities to serve as a woman religious.
“We made sure Sister Naomi had some experiences in beautiful outdoor Idaho too,” shared Sister Elsbeth Mulvaney, CSC. “We will think of her the next time we take a walk in a park and she is not with us!”
Sister Elsbeth Mulvaney, CSC