Does Mission Matter?

Last Wednesday, I was able to attend a CME (Continuing Medical Education) luncheon at the hospital. The title of the presentation caught my eye: Does Mission Matter? A Case Study of the Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza.

The presenter, a second year medical student from the University of Pittsburgh, shared her on-going research project - a study of the Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza (Home for the Relief of Suffering).

While the research project is still in its early stages, the goal is to examine how Casa’s mission influences it’s staff in their work of caring for the sick.

A few takeaways:

1) When St. Pio founded the hospital, he established parallel prayer groups. He believed that the hospital could not exist without prayer. This is definitely something I need to remember.

2) St. Pio often spoke of the “double encounter of Christ.” That is, when you meet someone who is sick, Christ is present in that person. But, if that person is also poor, Christ is present in a different (and double) way.

3) When the presenter asked the staff of the hospital what its mission was, she was always referred to one of three speeches St. Pio gave (at the hospital’s inauguration and it’s first & tenth anniversary). This is interesting, compared to the Catholic hospitals in the United States, who have very well thought-out and tightly constructed mission statements.

Upon a little investigation over the interweb, I found Casa’s website and an explanation of it’s mission. (Courtesy of Google Translate.)

… all these initiatives are driven by one aim which is the authentic and primary mission of the [work of St. Pio]: the relief of suffering.

I will be very interested to check in with the research project a year or two from now. I imagine it will widen our view of Catholic Healthcare around the world.

Michael Miller, Jr.