On this Feast of Mary…

Dear Friends of AOR,

Earlier in the week, I shared this poem with a group of senior health care leaders whom I have the privilege of teaching this semester.  On this Feast of the Immaculate Conception, may you find blessing here, too.

As the Christian Church turns itself toward the Season of Advent this weekend, I offer you a poem that I hope that you will take time to reflect on as well. Our focus has been on Jesus, and rightly so. This poem invites us to reflect on the one human being who made the manifestation of Jesus in the flesh possible. As you consider the poet’s words about Mary, I invite you to think about Advent as a season were we are all invited by God’s messengers, unlikely angels perhaps, who approach us with surprising news, impossible offers, and possibly the one opportunity to bear into the world a light we did not know we could bear…

May you be blessed,

 Sr. Colleen Mary

(Denise Levertov)

‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’ (From the Agathistos Hymn, Greece, VIc)

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.


Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
More often
those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.


She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.

Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
only asked
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:

to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sun of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.




CML Cohort 3

Our newest Cohort members for the Certificate in Mission Leadership are Alysha Berger and Frank Ruelas from Sisters of Mercy at SJHMC in Phoenix, Ebony Brown from Saint Francis Healthcare in Wilmington, Delaware, Toni Conley and Grant Rice from Trinity Health, Becky Heitkam from Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta and Elizabeth Meehan from Catholic Health of Long Island.

Cohort #3 came to Aquinas for their Opening Orientation and Retreat on the first week of September. We all got to know each other a little bit and our new Cohort members were able to familiarize themselves with the tools and resources they will use throughout their time in the program.







Congratulations to CML Cohort 2

We are pleased to present our most recent CML Cohort Graduates: Cohort 2: Kathy Armijo Etre, Denise Ewing, Joy Huff, Pablo Iwaszewicz, Katie Kerr, Lydia Kreil, Holly Lyman, Cassie McCarty, Khoa Ngyuen, Adrienne Presnell, Katie Rudi, Kathie Schell, Owen Seatz, Tom Tostenson, whose Closing Retreat was in June.

You will always remain a valued part of the AOR Center Community! Our AOR Graduates bring their transformational education and leadership to meet the future needs of Catholic Health Care.

New Student Testimonial Video: Why You Should Choose AOR for Mission Leadership Advancement

Please help us to spread the word by sharing this on your social media outlets or with someone you know who might be interested in our AOR programs for advancing the skills of Catholic health care mission leadership.

Tracie Loftis EMAHCM Testimonial from Tom Bushlack on Vimeo.


Many thanks to Tracie Loftis for sharing her reflections on her experience at AOR and in the Executive MA in Health Care Mission!

Mount Saint Joseph Seeks Director of Pastoral Care and Mission

Clark Phinney, Director of Human Resources for a 138 bed skilled and long term care ministry in Central Maine founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyon and currently sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of West Hartford, sent the following announcement:

We have a critical opening in our leadership team for a Director of Pastoral Care and Mission that I am hoping you can assist me with by way of posting on any job opening boards that you may have online and on campus as well as via contacts you may have with students or graduates looking for employment.

Additionally if you are aware of any other sources that I should connect with to help spread the word please do not hesitate to let me know.    Thank you again for your time and assistance in helping us fill this vital member of our team.


Mount Saint Joseph Residence and Rehabilitation in Waterville is seeking a Director of Pastoral Care and Mission. Our 138 bed facility offers assisted living, licensed skilled post acute nursing and rehabilitation, long-term care, memory care and behavioral health in a holistic environment.

Mount Saint Joseph is a holistic care community founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyons and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of West Hartford provides a competitive compensation and benefit package that complements this opportunity for personal growth and professional advancement. Mount Saint Joseph is a Trinity Senior Community.

The person in this position is responsible for the day-to-day leadership and oversight of the Pastoral Care Department. The Director develops and manages services designed to meet the religious and/or spiritual needs of residents and their families as well as facility team members. Supervises a team of chaplains both staff and volunteer in meeting the purpose and goals of the department. The Director of Pastoral Care and Mission serves as a member of the OPS management team and as an internal consultant to the ethics committee. This position supports the mission and core values of Mount Saint Joseph by serving as an ambassador and collaborates with the senior leadership team in determining priorities for spiritual grounding and Catholic healthcare ethics. Additional responsibilities include ensuring that the mission and values of Mount Saint Joseph are present in all aspects of daily work. Position involves a high level of collaborating with the direct care workers and all ancillary departments. Must be able to build consensus and foster collaboration among workgroups. The Director plans and leads various religious services, events, studies and observances within the Mount Saint Joseph community on a regular basis. Ability to function within a faith based organization and ensure the spiritual needs for Catholic, Protestant and Jewish residents are actively cared for and fostered.

Minimum of 3 years of management experience in a chaplaincy or pastoral care setting. Clinical Pastoral care or chaplaincy certification in good standing. Minimum of 3-5 years of active ministry experience preferred. Prior experience in long term care a plus. Membership in the National Association of Catholic Chaplains strongly desired.

Mount Saint Joseph offers a full benefit package to colleagues including: Medical, Dental, Vision, supplemental insurances as well as a generous unified bank leave time policy. We are a 100% tobacco free campus.

Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent direct experience.

To Apply

Submit a current resume and cover letter to jobs@mtsj.org for immediate consideration.

Thank you!

Clark Phinney

Director of Human Resources

Mount Saint Joseph Residence & Rehabilitation

7 Highwood Street

Waterville, ME  03901

(207) 873-0705  ext 218

Congratulations to Tracey Biles, (MAHCM, 2016)!

Tracey Biles, who just graduated from the MA in Health Care Mission in December 2016, wrote the following note:

“Just wanted to share with you that I have accepted a VP of Mission position with Saint Thomas Health System (part of Ascension) in Tennessee.  I’ll be joining the Senior Leadership Team of Saint Thomas Rutherford in Murfreesboro, TN which includes the main campus as well as four smaller hospitals in neighboring communities.  I’ve been overwhelmed with the hospitality and warm welcome extended to me by the team in Murfreesboro so I’m really excited about this transition.  I’ll be working some in Ada over the next 30+ days but will also be using several PTO days to put my house on the market and find a new home in a new state.  My first day in Murfreesboro will be March 6th.

Thank you for being an important part of my 10 years at Mercy.  I look forward to when our paths will cross again.  If you’re ever in Tennessee, please come visit me in the ‘Boro’!”

Tracey now joins two other current students, Greg Pope and Andrew Ochs, at Ascension’s St. Thomas Health System.

Congratulations to Tracey from all of us at the Ashley-O’Rourke Center and the Aquinas Institute!  We continue to be proud of the accomplishments and successes of our graduates.