By Katrina Genereux/Staff Writer, OND
Sister Juli Caron, a Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille, was honored by YWCA of Cass Clay at their 44th annual Women of the Year awards event held May 1 at the Delta by Mariott in Fargo.
According to YWCA Cass Clay, more than 800 guests attended the event which honored 28 women and five businesses. Thirteen women, including Sister Juli, were honored with Women of the Year awards in 13 categories. Sister Juli was the Woman of the Year Faith Community category recipient. According to YWCA Cass Clay, the award is given to a woman who, “has made a significant contribution in bringing the mission and vision of the faith community to life by invigorating others to do ministry through her leadership.”
Sister Juli said she was surprised to be nominated for the award, but she was even more surprised to receive it.
“I didn’t realize that people were recognizing what I was doing or even noticing, so it means a whole lot to me,” she said.
Sister Juli has been a chaplain at Sanford in Fargo for more than 20 years. She works with patients, particularly those who are dying, and children.
“It’s such a privilege to serve at the bedside of someone who is dying,” she said.
She also provides support for nurses. As a nurse for many years, she has a particular understanding of what their jobs demand.
“I’ll do a reflection with them and allow them time to talk about what they’re feeling,” said Sister Juli.
“In her ministry, Sister Juli Caron has touched the lives of thousands of patients and shown all around her how to love and accept people of all faith traditions. Her nominators spoke beautifully of the care, guidance and presence she brings to extraordinarily complex situation,” said Tami Rust, the Relationship Manager at YWCA Cass Clay, and organizer of the annual awards event.
“The faith category of the Women of the Year program also highlighted Sister Juli Caron as a true leader in shaping the way Sanford health provides comfort and care for patients, including the dying. Besides touching the lives of many, she has been a mentor and role model,” Rust said.
Lois Ustanko, Director of Health Ministries for Sanford, nominated Sister Juli for the award. She said it is not unusual for former patients or their family members to stop in to see Sister Juli.
Sister Juli walks with people and their families down some very difficult roads when they may be questioning their faith in God, Ustanko said.
“Sister Juli has the capacity to be a non-anxious presence for people and help them to discern where God is in spite of all of this ... I think that is a really special gift and talent,” she added.
Sister Juli has worked to train Spiritual Care Volunteers at Sanford who support patients and families. She also works with Clinical Pastoral Education interns as they learn the art and skills of pastoral and spiritual care. She also developed the No One Dies Alone program at Sanford Health. The program trains and provides volunteer companions to be present to dying patients who would otherwise be alone.
“As a Catholic chaplain, Sister Juli Caron not only personally embraces the mission of the Church, which is to work to create a world that reflects the innate, God-given dignity and worth of every human being, but teaches others to do the same,” Ustanko wrote in her nomination of Sister Juli.
“The main thing I want is that Jesus would be honored through this whole thing,” Sister Juli said. “The other good thing about it is to recognize sisters, that we are out and about doing things.”
YWCA Cass Clay serves women and children in the North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota by operating an emergency shelter, a comprehensive education and employment program, providing children’s services, a community nurse, supportive housing, homelessness prevention and a food pantry.
For more information about YWCA Cass Clay, visit www.ywcacassclay.org.