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Governance award for Sister Caritas from LeadingAge North Carolina

Hibernian Award

Sister Sister Mary Caritas Geary (above, center), affiliated with St. Joseph of the Pines Health System (SJP) in N.C. since 1969, is the recipient of LeadingAge North Carolina’s Governance Award. The award was presented May 8, 2019, during the organization’s Annual Conference and Trade Show in Myrtle Beach, S.C.


Sister Caritas, whose most recent term on the SJP Board started in 2013, had this to say about receiving the award. “I was very surprised and honored just to be nominated because it was so unexpected.” She added, “I’ve spent my entire career in health care and have been happily devoted to St. Joseph of the Pines for a long time. I’m a firm believer in the community-based services and programs that SJP provides in addition to providing excellent care to its residents.”

SJP is an aging services network offering a full continuum of retirement housing, health care and community-based services for older adults, as well as community outreach to those in need. SJP is a Trinity Health Senior Community continuing the legacy of the Sisters of Providence.

Extending gratitude
SJP President Tim Buist could think of “no one more deserving” of the award than Sister Caritas. “She has always been a strong proponent of our ministries, especially those for the poor. Her leadership has been instrumental in helping St. Joseph of the Pines fulfill its mission. Our gratitude can be seen, in part, at (SJP’s) Caritas Center, a special care unit at our assisted living building that houses residents in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”

While serving her first term on the SJP Board from 1969 to 1971, her vision led to SJP’s current focus on the long term care of older adults rather than on maintaining SJP’s former position as an acute care hospital. Sister Caritas served a second term on the SJP Board from 1977 to 2000, during the time period that included SJP’s construction of its Belle Meade campus in Southern Pines. Belle Meade is a nationally accredited Life Plan Community (continuing care retirement).

Buist added, “We are extremely thankful for her outstanding leadership over the past five decades. Despite her success,” he continued, “Sister Caritas remains humble, using her wit, charm and humor whenever she shares her life experiences with others and how she has seen the providence of God leading her life. We are truly blessed to have her as an advocate.”

Sister Caritas was one of four LeadingAge North Carolina award recipients from St. Joseph of the Pines this year. The others included: Cassandra Craven, recreation and wellness coordinator at The Coventry, for Service Excellence; Kimberly Morton, director of assisted living, the Emerging Leader Award; and SJP’s new TeleHealth Services program at The Health Center received the Excellence in Innovation Award.

“We are extremely humbled to be recognized by our peers,” Buist concluded, and “…proud that our colleagues have been honored for their hard work and dedication to our residents and to our mission of being a transforming and healing presence within our community.”


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