Sr. Ann McHugh: Pastoral and Spiritual Ministry
Sr. Ann McHugh, now retired from years of Pastoral Ministry in Hospice Pastoral Services, began her early apostolic life as a teacher in Catholic schools both in New York and Connecticut from 1957 to 1975. In 1975, Sr. Ann’s ministry took a new direction, Spiritual and Pastoral Ministry, when she joined the Retreat Team in the Mt. St. Ursula Spiritual Renewal Center in Oyster Bay Cove, NY, where she served until 1979.
Sr. Ann, equipped with degrees in Education, History and Political Science, earned an M.A. in Pastoral Ministry, leading her in new pastoral directions. She served as a Pastoral Minister in parishes in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. This afforded her opportunities for Hospital Ministry where she became a Pastoral Visitor and often coordinated the Pastoral Visitor Teams of volunteers. A major turning point in Sr. Ann’s later ministries came with her CPE training in the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven, CT. She became the first Ursuline of Tildonk in the US Province to become a Board Certified Hospital Chaplain. From 1985 on, she was primarily occupied in Hospital Chaplaincy. Sr. Ann served as a Staff Chaplain in several Suffolk County Hospitals on Long Island.
One of the most rewarding positions was as coordinating the teams of volunteers for pastoral services in St. Charles, Mather, and Stony Brook University Hospitals. For this work she was recognized and honored in Port Jefferson (NY) area as 1996 Woman of the Year in Religion. From 1999-2000, Sr. Ann served, on behalf of the Rockville Centre Diocese as Chaplain for Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, NY. Eventually she moved in the direction of Pastoral Care in Hospice Ministry. From 2000-2007, she served for 3 years as full-time Director of Pastoral Care in the Brookhaven Hospital Hospice (Patchogue, NY), and during her last three years was available for part-time Pastoral Visiting with the Good Shepherd Hospice and Brookhaven Hospital Hospice.
After retiring from years of serving in hospital and hospice chaplaincy, Sr. Ann recognized there was a need for women to be able to gather together and share their stories. She created the Woman’s Sacred Journey group. Woman’s Sacred Journey is a spiritual sharing group where women gather together on a weekly basis in an open and sharing environment. They pray together and share their sacred journeys.
One participant commented, “I feel we are truly blessed to have come together and have formed beautiful friendships, looking out for one another, understanding hurts and sharing what we can from the heart and above all being able to laugh at ourselves and with each other.”