Mary Ringstad awarded excellence in Pastoral Care

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) honours Mary Ringstad with the national Award for Excellence in Pastoral Care 2015.

Mary, who is the Pastoral Care Manager at Calvary Mater Newcastle, was presented with the award at CHA’s National Conference in Canberra last week. The award recognized Mary for over 17 years of dedicated service, ensuring spirituality remain a cornerstone of the provision of Catholic health care.

Widely recognised as an outstanding provider of sensitive and compassionate pastoral and spiritual care, Mary and her dedication to her mission is not only valued by staff and patients at Calvary Mater Newcastle, but by the greater Newcastle and Hunter Region communities.

Mark Green, National Director of Mission at Calvary, said

“We are very proud of what Mary has achieved and her leadership not only at Calvary but also in the Catholic sector.”

‎”Mary’s capacity to be immersed in the full breadth of our community’s life, in the things that matter to our people, is inspirational and moving. Her insight that our hospitals and aged care facilities are full of people carrying heavy emotional loads is a poignant reminder of the potential for cognitive and emotional overload. We need to look after one another.”

Katherine Clark, Director and Area Director of Palliative Care, Calvary Mater Newcastle and Conjoint Professor, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, has described Mary’s care as being ‘unparalleled’, stating:

“Mary brings enormous wisdom and warmth to interactions between team members while all the time gently teaching us that if we truly wish to practice patient-centred care, then our patients’ (and their families’) stories must be front and centre. On that note, I believe the compassion with which she supports the patients and families under our care are unparalleled.”

When addressing delegates at the Conference on Wednesday morning, Mary spoke of the vital role pastoral care plays in both the physical and spiritual wellbeing of patients.

“Pastoral care is the human face of health care. It’s the human encounter that changes peoples’ lives. We need uncompromised commitment to pastoral care in Catholic health facilities. We need to be confident to enter the lives of those who enter our facilities – we need to open our hearts and our minds.”