Merging Faith and Reason

Praised be Jesus Christ! This statement is how it all begins. It’s been my experience that people often separate faith and reason. Faith in the belief that God loves me and each one of us, and reason being a cause or use of logic. As a Sister of Saint Francis of the Martyr Saint George with a biomedical engineering degree, it seems as if there would be a collision between faith and reason. And there has been, but in the best sense, it’s been deepening for me.

As one of the newest biomedical engineers working for Jump Simulation, it’s my role to contribute to the Advanced Imaging and Modeling program, create task trainers clinicians will use to hone their skills and help build curricula for the STEAM program in schools and in the hospital. This program gives middle through high school students hands-on exposure and experiences solving real-world problems in anatomy, physiology, nursing and emergency medical services, technology and of course engineering.

It is in this position I have been able to help remind our beloved Mission Partners daily why we’re here and why we do what we do, for the greater honor of God. We merge our rational brains with the faith of the Church and OSF HealthCare to improve care, impact the whole person and make a difference in the communities we serve. Every Mission Partner is serving the Lord by applying the skills and knowledge He has given us in the service of others using compassionate competence to treat the whole person, body and soul.

A Gentle Push

Growing up Catholic and entering our religious community in September 2013, through grace, it’s relatively easy now to understand the connection between faith and reason. But this wasn’t always the case. As a child, I was interested in science and math and considered becoming an engineer or a physician, getting married and raising a big family. I thought that’s how I could help make a positive difference in the world.

In spite of all my plans, at just seven years old, I first felt the Lord’s tug on my heart to be His and a religious Sister. My first reaction was, “No. This isn’t the right path for me.”

Life continued, I grew up and I was accepted into the biomedical engineering program at Purdue University in Indiana. During my sophomore year of college, I began to own my faith and get more involved in our Newman Center, St. Thomas Aquinas. As I attended daily mass and prayer hours, Christ and I began deepening a relationship and that’s when I started experiencing the gentle tug to be a religious Sister again.

Still unsure of His will for me, I continued pursuing my bioengineering degree where I rotated taking classes for certain semesters and working to build my skillset with a medical device company during other semesters. After much prayerful discernment, a trip to the Saint Louis area in 2011, over a long weekend helped me understand His call and start saying yes to His plan for our future.

A close friend and I decided to put together a “nun run” where you visit multiple groups of religious Sisters on the same trip. We were able to squeeze in six communities (hence the run). On that first visit with our Sisters in Alton, Illinois, I knew that He was calling me to be His and spend the rest of my life loving and serving Him and the Church with this Community.

Everything Falls into Place

I continued with my studies until I graduated in December, 2012. But with over $60,000 in school loan debt, I had to join the workforce before I could enter the Community. In the meantime, I lived in Alton just down the street from the convent where I could pray with the Sisters and work at Saint Anthony’s Health Center (now a part of OSF HealthCare) as a biomedical engineering technician. In this role, I worked to maintain medical equipment and do some troubleshooting when needed.

I also sent out letters in hopes of raising funds to help me pay off debt. Before a single letter was sent out, I received over $20,000 from a friend who is now a priest. Since the Lord at times works in threes, like the Trinity, the second third of the money was raised through fundraising and the last third, I paid off from working. Forever grateful to my generous benefactors, I put in my two weeks’ notice after nine months of work and entered the convent on September 24, 2013. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

After first profession of vows, I went to our Community’s nursing home in Saint Louis, Mother of Good Counsel Home, where I cared for the elderly, their families and our staff. Then in early 2018, I was asked to use my skills as an innovation engineer at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center. When I entered, I gave the gift of my degree to the Lord, honestly never really expecting to use it again. But the Lord is always full of surprises!

I know the Lord is with us on each step of the journey. Mine was to complete my biomedical engineering degree and then become a Sister. Here at OSF HealthCare, we use the knowledge we obtain and work together here at Jump, merging faith and reason to build the future of health care and make the world a better place!
Categories: Advanced Imaging and Modeling (AIM), Augmented Reality (AR), Bioengineering, Innovation, News and Updates, Task Trainer, Virtual Reality (VR)