JACKSON – St. Dominic’s is pleased to announce that Sister Mary Dorothea Sondgeroth, O.P., has been named a 2017 recipient of the Catholic Health Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to a leader of the health ministry who has inspired and mentored many others and whose leadership extends past the Catholic health ministry to influence and impact the local community and beyond.
“Sister Dorothea has dedicated her life to service and we, in Jackson, have benefitted from our association with her,” said Claude W. Harbarger, President of St. Dominic Health Services, Sister Dorothea’s successor and a St. Dominic’s employee of 30 years. “Sister Dorothea is the embodiment of kindness and compassion and a wonderful selection for this honor.”
After 36 years of overall service and 17 years of serving as president of St. Dominic Health Services, Sister Dorothea retired from her position in 2011 and has since worked as the associate executive director of the St. Dominic Health Services Foundation. At the start of Sister Dorothea’s tenure in 1995, the system held two subsidiaries: the hospital and an organization for community-based services. When she retired from that position 17 years later, the role had grown to include oversight of seven subsidiary organizations comprising a 571 bed hospital with more than 500 affiliated physicians, a large continuing care retirement community (St. Catherine’s Village) and oversight of more than 3,000 employees.
In the Jackson community, she has been recognized with roles in numerous community organizations, including the United Way of the Capital Area, Safe City Initiative, the Rotary Club of Jackson and Fondren Renaissance. She is a laureate of the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame and in 1997 was named the top businesswoman in the state in Mississippi Business Journal’s Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women awards. In addition, in 2005 Sister Dorothea was selected for a Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service. This national award honors “unsung heroes who encounter problems in their communities, believe they can help and create innovative solutions.”
In April of 2012, Bishop Joseph Latino awarded Sister Dorothea the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross, the highest medal Pope Benedict XVI bestowed on non-clergy. The Pope confers this recognition to those who have given distinguished service to the Catholic Church and their communities.
Sister Dorothea will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Catholic Health Association Annual Assembly in June.