In October St. Gianna Physician’s Guild president, Thomas McKenna, traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to speak about St. Gianna and the Guild. He conducted an enshrinement of a large picture with a relic in Saint Thomas Hospital. He also gave presentations on St. Gianna and the Guild at Vanderbilt University, the Cathedral of the Incarnation and to the sisters at the Mother House of the Nashville Dominicans.
The visit was organized by Dr. Rachel Kaiser, an emergency room physician at Saint Thomas Hospital and an active Catholic pro-life advocate. She had heard about St. Gianna and contacted Mr. McKenna months earlier to learn more about St. Gianna and the work of the Guild. She then contacted Bishop David Choby and received his enthusiastic support and blessing to organize events.
The programs began with a lunch hour lecture to medical students at Vanderbilt University on October 17. The lecture was sponsored by the student organization the Society of Saints Cosmos and Damian. The Society was recently formed by Catholic medical students who wanted to bring their faith into their medical formation. Fr. John Baker, the Catholic chaplain on campus, Dr. Wesley Ely who teaches medicine as well as other students not studying medicine also attended.
Mr. McKenna told about the life of St. Gianna and how she can serve a model for students studying medicine. He highlighted how St. Gianna had had many difficulties throughout her life and presented her as an intercessor for medical students confronted with the moral challenges they will confront. The pictures of the saint, her family and places where she lived that Mr. McKenna showed, gave a vivid insight the life of the saint. Questions and answers followed and all of the students received a copy of the booklet written by Mr. McKenna on her life. Fr. Baker also made arrangements to acquire a framed picture and relic of St. Gianna and plans to enshrine it in the Catholic student center for students to venerate.
Later in the evening a program of enshrinement was held at Saint Thomas Hospital. When Dr. Kaiser first learned of the enshrinement program she had contacted Mr. Jerome Kearney, Vice President of Mission at St. Thomas Hospital. They discussed enshrining a picture of St. Gianna in the hospital. Mr. Kearney was very supportive of sponsoring such an event and saw it as an opportunity to further the Catholic mission of Saint Thomas Hospital, the only Catholic hospital in Nashville.
That evening Bishop David Choby presided over the enshrinement. Mr. Kearney began the program by welcoming everyone and thanking them for their presence for the special event. Bishop Choby then opened with a prayer and thanked Mr. McKenna and the Guild for conducting the programs in Nashville. He invited Mr. McKenna to give a presentation on the life of St. Gianna.
Following the presentation Mr. Kearney took the picture and relic of St. Gianna from the easel in the conference room where everyone was gathered, and carried it to the main lobby of the hospital. Bishop Choby and everyone present followed in procession behind the picture. In the lobby the ceremony resumed and the picture was hung. Bishop Choby blessed it and prayed the final prayers. The picture will hang on the wall outside the chapel in the main entrance to the hospital for everyone coming and going to see. Mr. Kearney commented that “it was a great honor for Saint Thomas Hospital to participate in the program.”
The next day Mr. McKenna gave a presentation, open to the general public, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. Later in the day he was invited to speak to the sisters at the Mother House of the Nashville Dominicans about St. Gianna. At all the venues the faithful had the opportunity to venerate a pair of gloves that the family of St. Gianna had recently given to the Guild.
For more information or to organize a presentation please contact the guild.