Sister Pat Mokler, Pastoral Care Chaplain at CHI Health Immanuel in Omaha, NE received the Award of Hope on April 8, 2016 in honor of the Deaconesses who founded and served that hospital since 1887. This award was presented during Immanuel’s annual “Night of Celebration” event, a fundraiser for the hospital’s new chapel. The program included a video of Deaconess service over the years, interviews with those who knew some of the deaconesses, and the presentation of the Award of Hope, an award given to people who have given their lives in service to the hospital. Previously given to physicians who were instrumental in the hospital mission and formation, the Award of Hope was presented to Sr. Pat Mokler on behalf of the work of all the deaconesses involved in the hospital’s history. The award will be sent to the office of the ELCA Deaconess Community in Chicago.
CHI Health Immanuel was founded as “Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Association for Works for Charity” on October 8th 1887 by Pastor E. A. Fogelstrom and a handful of deaconesses. The first few deaconesses did everything in the hospital, including caring for patients, cooking, cleaning, laundry–even building furniture. Later called “Immanuel Medical Center,” other people were hired, and deaconesses mainly headed the different departments. Immanuel Medical Center merged with Bergen Mercy Health System to become “Alegent Health” (now Catholic Health Initiatives—CHI) in June, 1996. As Ann Schumacher, the president and CEO of Immanuel says, “We are a Catholic Hospital with Lutheran roots.” Hospital administration has always valued the contributions of the many deaconesses who have served Immanuel over the 128 years of existence.
The deaconesses serving Immanuel most recently were ELCA Deaconesses, Sister Ingeborg Blomberg and Sister Pat Mokler. Sr. Ingeborg served the hospital in a variety of administrative leadership roles from 1953 to her retirement in 1987. Sr. Pat served in the area of pastoral care from 1974 until her retirement on Dec. 31, 2015. Sr. Pat continues to work one day a week as a chaplain.