Friends, Former Co-Workers Celebrate the Life of Sister Crescentia Mulvehill, CSJ
Medical Center ‘Stands as a Memorial and Tribute’ to One of its Founders
Jefferson Hills, PA - January 20, 2010
More than 100 former and current Jefferson Regional Medical Center administrators, medical staff and board members, employees, auxiliary members and volunteers were among those who gathered at a Service of Remembrance for one of its founders, Sister M. Crescentia Mulvehill, CSJ. The service was held on Tuesday, Jan. 19, on the Medical Center campus in Jefferson Hills.
As a former executive vice president and chief operating officer (1977-87) for South Hills Health System, a consolidation of the former Homestead Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital in South Side that led to the formation of Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Sister Crescentia had a major impact on its growth. In 2002, South Hills Health System was renamed Jefferson Regional Medical Center.
She continued her service to the health care facility as executive vice president from 1987-1992. During her tenure, she oversaw construction of Jefferson Hospital, in addition to a home health agency and a large mental health program with many locations, two emergency departments, a personal care residence and a skilled nursing facility. She served as health consultant from 1992-1995 before retiring to the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Baden.
Sister Crescentia, 92, died on Dec. 27, 2009 in the 77th year of her religious life as a Sister of St. Joseph of Baden.
Also attending the service to celebrate Sister Crescentia’s life of service to the community were some 20 Sisters from her religious order.
Sister Nancy Hupert, CSJ, consultant for Jefferson Regional, said the Service of Remembrance was a good way “to recall days gone by,” adding, “We are thankful for the happiness we knew with Sister Crescentia with whom we loved, worked and laughed.”
Sister Gerrie Grandpre, CSJ, member of Jefferson’s board of directors, said Sister Crescentia embraced whatever she was asked to do, whether it was teaching, formation of novices, hospital administration or home care “and she did it all with class. She served the people of Pittsburgh for nearly 30 years as a hospital administrator. During that time, she was a mentor to many of us – and a model to all of us.”
John Echement, also a member of Jefferson Regional’s Board of Directors, fondly remembered Sister Crescentia’s “forcefulness, will, dedication and belief that made this consolidation come together. This hospital (Jefferson Regional Medical Center) stands here today as a memorial and tribute to her.”
Also offering a remembrance was David Hartman, MD, of Jefferson Regional’s medical staff, who said Sister Crescentia was responsible for “planting and nurturing the seed” for many of the Medical Center’s good qualities, including its close relationship between administration and medical staff.
Speaking on behalf of employees, Joseph Cvitkovic, PhD, director, Behavioral Health Services, said Sister Crescentia had a profound belief in community.
“She lived and breathed community,” he said. “We were all inspired by her compassionate and dedicated leadership, and she understood the holistic approach to health care – mind, body and spirit – that is still with us today in our values at Jefferson Regional.”
Also participating in the memorial service were Sister Marguerite Coyne, CSJ, member, Jefferson Regional board of directors; Rev. Paul Edwards, D.Min, BCC, chaplain, Spiritual Care, and Charlene Frederick, director, Marketing and Communications, soloist.
In the photo: Robert Frank, executive vice president and COO, left, and Thomas Timcho, president and CEO, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, right, with Sister Bridget James O’Brien, CSJ, and Sister Mary Pellegrino, CSJ, at the Service of Remembrance for Sister Crescentia Mulvehill, CSJ.
About Sister M. Crescentia Mulvehill
Sister M. Crescentia Mulvehill was the daughter of the late Walter and Adelaide Ager Mulvehill, Sister Crescentia entered the Congregation from St. John Gualbert Parish in Johnstown, PA.
She ministered as a teacher from 1936 to 1947 in the Pittsburgh and Altoona/Johnstown Dioceses. Sister Crescentia then served in the Formation Program of the Congregation from 1949 to 1963. After studying Health Care Administration at George Washington University, Washington, DC, Sister completed her Administrative Residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, in 1965. She then took the position of Assistant Administrator at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C. Sister Crescentia became the Administrator of St. Joseph Hospital, Pittsburgh, from 1967 to 1977. She also served on the General Council of the Sisters of St. Joseph from 1967–1973.
Sister Crescentia was a key administrator in the merger of St. Joseph Hospital and Homestead Hospital in 1973. She served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the newly-formed Jefferson Regional Medical Center of the South Hills Health System from 1977 to1987. From 1987–1992 Sister continued as Executive Vice President, and from 1992–1995 she served as Health Consultant.
Sister Crescentia’s ministry was marked by her leadership skills, her administrative expertise, and her warm interpersonal skills. She received a number of awards, including: Person of the Year, Brentwood-Whitehall Chamber of Commerce, in 1991; “Who’s Who Among American Women” in 1973; “The World Who’s Who of Women” in 1975; and named one of the 10 top women in Pittsburgh Leadership, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, in 1970.
Reflections from those who knew and worked with Sister Crescentia:
Thomas Timcho, president and CEO of Jefferson Regional, called Sister Crescentia “the visionary who put the whole plan together.” It was her foresight that led to the construction of private rooms in the new hospital building in Jefferson Hills, an amenity that the Medical Center’s patients still appreciate. Sister Crescentia believed in the dignity of the person and that all persons should have the ability to heal in a private setting. She was adamant that the hospital should be built with all private rooms.”
John Echement, a member of Jefferson Regional’s Board of Directors, said he remembers Sister Crescentia as “a person of great character who cared deeply for what she was doing, who expected excellence from everyone including herself, who genuinely cared about other people and was bigger than life to those who knew her.”
Sister Gerrie Grandpre, CSJ, also a board member, said Sister Crescentia was a faith-filled woman whose life was guided by gospel values and the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph, which is “profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction. Sister Crescentia was a wisdom figure and a visionary leader who inspired, motivated, listened empathetically and allowed people the freedom they needed to be themselves. She empowered others to be the best they could be.”
Sister Crescentia often said that her ministry as Directress of Novices from 1949 to 1963 was the best preparation she had to be a hospital executive, according to Sister Gerrie.
“She said that counseling the novices taught her to really listen to people so that she could understand not only what they were saying, but what they were feeling. At Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Sister Crescentia incorporated her trademark ‘people skills’ into her management style.”
Candice Douglas, manager, Administrative Operations, Food & Nutrition Services, said Sister Crescentia was a great leader at Jefferson Regional “because she knew our primary goal was to serve patients and their families and she could inspire others to work together to achieve those goals. We felt an immediate connection to her and knew that she recognized our efforts. She loved people and people loved her,” she said.
Eleanor Davis of Sun Lakes, Ariz., formerly of Pittsburgh, said she remembered meeting Sister Crescentia when she came to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where Mrs. Davis was active with the Auxiliary and her late husband, Earle Davis, MD, worked as a clinical pathologist. “I followed her to Homestead and Jefferson hospitals working with the auxiliaries in those hospitals. She was a great leader and she will be greatly missed by her order, her hospital and her friends.”
Mr. Echement said a resolution enacted in 1997 by the then Health System board, of which he was chairman, that bestowed the honor of Consultant Emeritus on Sister Crescentia best expresses the feelings of those who knew and worked with her:
In part, it read: “Whereas, we will eternally remember Sister and her value, and want her to forever be a part of the South Hills Health System,” now Jefferson Regional Medical Center.