Franciscan Sister of Mary Connie Fahey receives Dominican award

MADISON, WIS.—Franciscan Sister of Mary Connie Fahey was singled out for distinguished service to humanity by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Sinsinawa, Wis. She was recognized during the annual awards convocation at her former alma mater, Sisters’ Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart in Madison.

Sister Connie was honored for more than 60 years of distinguished ministry in health care. Many of those ministries were in the Diocese of Charleston, beginning with her assignment in 1977 to the Franciscans at St. Eugene Hospital in Dillon. While there, she established a School of Medical Technology and directed the Pee Dee AHEC educational program for health professionals working for McLeod Regional Health System in Florence. At the request of Bishop Ernest L. Unterkoefler, she spearheaded the establishment of Mercy Hospice to serve Horry, Marion and Georgetown Counties.

From 1981 to 1995, Sister Connie served as a leader in her religious congregation and its SSM Health Care System. Returning to South Carolina in 1995, she became executive director of Mercy Hospice and Palliative Care, now based in Conway. Franciscan Sisters of Mary Eleanor Krieg and Sandra Schwartz served there with her. She was also president of the diocesan organization of women religious and established the parish nurse program at St. James Church in Conway, where she served as organist and director of the Hispanic choir. She helped found a transitional home for homeless women in Myrtle Beach and was active in several non-profit organizations serving the marginalized in Horry County.

Upon retiring from Mercy Hospice, Sister Connie collaborated with Franciscan Sister Margie Hosch to establish the Wholeness Holiness Retreat ministry. They led these retreats throughout South Carolina and offered them to women religious in Zambia, Africa. At the invitation of Bishop Charles Kasonde, they presented the retreat to the priests of the Diocese of Solwezi, Zambia.

In 2010, Sister Connie moved to Janesville, Wis., and offers spiritual direction, assists local parishes, is an advisor for St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital, and continues fundraising and other support activities for several African missions.

Submitted by Father ‘Rick LaBrecque