Sister M. Emily (Demuth), CSC, was named the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Service Award with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC).
The award recognizes outstanding dedication and service to the NACC or to the field of chaplaincy by a member of the NACC and was given at the organization’s national conference in June.
Sister Emily has been in health care for 70 years, with 40 of those years in chaplaincy. During her time with the organization, she has worked in regional leadership, participated in dozens of certification and renewal of certification committees, and certified and mentored chaplains.
“I felt very humbled to receive the award. I felt that of the 300 chaplains in attendance at the ceremony were many chaplains also deserving of the award. I am thankful for my own family, for my Holy Cross family and for the members of the NACC who supported me along the way,” noted Sister Emily. “I thank God for this call of ministry and feel honored to have received this award for my years in health care ministry. The years I am spending as a chaplain have been, for me,
Her mother told the story that Sister Emily wanted to be a religious sister from the first grade and that, even as a child, she always had a desire to visit the sick—even on summer vacations if there was a hospital nearby.
Sister Emily received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. As a nurse, she was drawn to the more critically ill patients and their families. She entered the Congregation in 1948 from Lincoln, Nebraska. As a sister, she felt a desire to stay with the patient and family members when a patient was dying, and this was not always possible as a nurse. When chaplaincy departments were formed in medical centers, Sister Emily entered a new ministry, receiving a degree in pastoral ministry from Seattle University and her Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.
Currently, she is an active member of the NACC, assisting in the certification of chaplains, attending conferences, and participating on the nurse chaplain networking conference group and the palliative care and hospice group monthly conference calls. Sister Emily ministers as a chaplain in the intensive care unit and emergency room, assists as a peer reviewer in the recertification of chaplains and supports training of spiritual care volunteers and CPE students.
The NACC advocates for the profession of spiritual care, and educates, certifies and supports chaplains, clinical pastoral educators, and all members who continue the healing ministry of Jesus in the name of the Church.