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Sister Mary Pat Burger

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I was born in St. Cloud MN the oldest of three siblings and went to Holy Spirit grade school and Cathedral High School. The summer after graduation I entered the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls. All young women in formation attended our community’s junior college taking lots of theology courses. As junior professed sisters a group of us went to the College of St. Teresa in Winona, MN. I received my BSN from there doing my clinical at St. Mary’s in Rochester, MN. During that time, St. Mary’s Hospital was working with IBM to develop a way to do continuous measurement of the heart chambers pressures after heart surgery.

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We would measure the pressure manually at different times to check to see if the computer was measuring and recording the proper pressure. It had not yet been perfected enough for us to rely on it to give us continual accurate readings. That tells you how old I am. From Rochester I moved to a small hospital in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. It was quite a contrast. It was there I learned that nursing isn’t all science, but it is an art. Under the tutelage of some of our experienced Sister nurses I learned the art of nursing. I appreciated their patience and skill as we worked side by side with limited resources.

I went to Duluth with a group of our Sisters to learn more about Francis and his way of life and took a job in a Nursing home. It was a time when there were lots of nurses around so I had heard of this job through the Unemployment office. I had applied at the hospitals in Duluth but they had no openings. I completed my hands on nursing career in Brainerd, MN.

My religious community asked me to be on staff at a personal and spiritual growth program we sponsored. After that I completed my Clinical Pastoral Education, became certified at an advance level and was a chaplain at a hospital in Chicago, IL. Eventually I became the Director of Pastoral Care and then went on to be the Vice President of Mission Effectiveness and Risk Management. After twenty years in Chicago I came home to be a member of the Leadership team for the Franciscan Sisters.

I took a few months break and then assumed the role of Executive Director for the Franciscan Sisters a position which evolved into Transition Coordinator and from which I retired. I am currently living in a country parish and doing odds and end jobs and not having any responsibilities. I can say it is absolutely wonderful. I am learning lots about the struggles and joys of modern day farming. The faith community of this little parish is strong and vibrant and I feel privileged to be a part of it. We also have many lakes around here and I hope to get out on them more this year.