A blessing, a gift, a measure of hope

Three gracious recipients accepted their Sisters of St. Joseph Awards on March 20

In front of a crowd of about 100 at the Sisters of St. Joseph Awards for Excellence ceremony, Jodi Beswick did something very unusual. She told everyone the password for her workplace computer.

Why? The setting was fitting, the award recipient explained. “It struck me how relevant it is to everything I feel and everything I think this day represents.”

Her password is simply “by grace”, (plus all the stringent hospital requirements to make it work).

Often befuddled by the string of letters, numbers, special characters she needed to remember  – “some days I would find myself singing to it, begging for acceptance” – Jodi made her password something personally meaningful, something she needed to read, see and hear every day.

“Grace to me is defined as undeserved favour, a blessing, a gift, a measure of hope,” says the electromyography (EMG) technician at St. Joseph’s EMG Clinic. “It is by grace that I am part of the EMG Clinic family. And it is by grace that I’m part of this larger St. Joseph’s family. I’m part of a community of people who work tirelessly day in and day out to make the lives of others better.”

Jodi is among three recipients of the 2017 Sisters of St. Joseph Awards for Excellence presented annually by St. Joseph’s Health Care London. The awards recognize staff, physicians and volunteers who share the same remarkable attributes of the Sisters, that of excellence, positive attitude, reliability, honesty, efficiency, creativity, respect, caring, compassion, empathy and appreciation for the work of others. Recipients are nominated by their colleagues. Without knowing anyone’s identity, an awards selection committee with representatives from across the organization selects the recipients. To be nominated and to be a recipient is a distinguished honour.

Jodi is joined by Clara Koczi, food service technician with Food and Nutrition Services, and Donna Thompson, primary care partner at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care, as this year’s recipients. During the often-emotional awards ceremony, each recognized their co-workers as well as the patients and residents they serve.

“I have come to realize that the human condition that walks through the doors of our EMG lab every day is universal,” said Jodi. “It is a person who is broken in parts, wounded in places and always in need of healing. I’ve learned by listening, observing and being fully present with each of these individuals that there is very little difference between the person in the room who is wearing the blue hospital gown and the one who is not. ….I come to work every day and I don’t save lives, but I intersect with lives. I think that when we meet the needs of a patient and that matches with our desire to alleviate suffering, we are saving each other.”

Representing the Sisters of St. Joseph at the ceremony, Sister Patricia McKeon remarked on the very different roles of the three recipients and what the awards say about each of them.  

“They all have ordinary jobs in the hospital but they function in an extraordinary manner,” said Sister Patricia.  “All three have a huge influence on St. Joseph’s Health Care London. I feel a very deep gratitude to these women – for what they bring to this institution, for being employees here. I thank you Clara, Jodi and Donna for being part of us.”

In accepting her award, Clara praised her colleagues in Food and Nutrition Services for all they do. “I’m honoured to be part of the Sisters of St. Joseph legacy of caring for others.”

Donna also thanked her colleagues and referred to the residents she looks after as “the most caring people you can work with” and “the reason I am here.” St. Joseph’s, she said “is a wonderful place to be.”

To her colleagues, Jodi said “It’s so very interesting to me that we all enter human history in all the same way. And at our appointed time we all leave in more or less the same way. For me one of the largest distinguishing features that sets apart any one individual is how we fill that space in between those two points of time. I’m so very grateful that the large portion of my space has been filled with people like you.”

Having started as a volunteer at Parkwood Institute (then Parkwood Hospital) in 1988, Jodi says she has been given “nearly three decades of experience, knowledge and stories of courage and resiliency that can hardly fill one human heart. That’s grace.”

Learn more about why each of the recipients are standouts worthy of receiving a Sister of St. Joseph Award for Excellence.

The Sisters of St. Joseph Awards for Excellence were presented on March 20 to Clara Koczi, bottom row left, Donna Thompson and Jodi Beswick. Presenting the awards were Sister Patricia McKeon, top row left, John Callaghan, representing the St. Joseph’s Board of Directors, and Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s.

Sisters of St. Joseph Awards 2017 - presenters and recipients

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