OSF Saint Paul Medical Center in Mendota dedicated, blessed

Photo Caption: The transition from Mendota Community Hospital to OSF Saint Paul Medical Center took nearly a year.

By: By Jennifer Willems

MENDOTA — With a new president on deck and generous helpings of thanks, prayer and holy water, Mendota Community Hospital became OSF Saint Paul Medical Center here on April 1. The dedication and blessing made it the 11th acute care hospital in the OSF Healthcare System.

“I truly believe that it is God who has brought our two organizations together into one family for his own very special reasons,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, who chairs the board of OSF Healthcare System. “I believe that he has plans for how he wants those who call Mendota and the surrounding communities home to be cared for. He knew we could accomplish that even better together.”

Dr. Gerald McShane, president and CEO of OSF Medical Group, praised the physicians, nurses and staff at OSF Saint Paul as people who care not just about the physical, but about the social and spiritual parts of their patients’ lives, too.

“They have a kind and gentle demeanor. They are professionals and it shows,” he said in remarks preceding the rite of blessing. “That combination makes for a great future.”

Representing Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at the festivities was Msgr. Paul Showalter, vicar general. He said that while The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis had expanded their health care system, one thing that hadn’t changed is their “exceptional commitment to the healthy care of the community and the communities they serve.”

“They understand human caring is the most powerful medicine of all, especially when it’s joined with faith and prayer,” Msgr. Showalter said. “The Sisters and all who work as part of the OSF system integrate that in an eagerness to provide OSF caregivers with the best of technology and tools for superior patient care.”

Joining him in blessing the facility were Father Bo Schmitt, pastor, and Father Tom Otto, parochial vicar, of Holy Cross in Mendota, St. Theresa in Earlville, and Sts. Peter and Paul in Peterstown. Also taking part were Msgr. Thomas E. Bales, pastor of St. Patrick in Amboy, St. Flannen in Harmon, and St. Mary in Walton, and Father Randy Fronek, parochial administrator of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sublette, and St. Mary in West Brooklyn.

Among the people introduced by Kevin Schoeplein, CEO of the OSF Healthcare System, was Jennifer Junis, who started her work as the new president of OSF Saint Paul Medical Center on April 1.

Junis comes to Mendota from OSF Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee, where she had served as chief nursing officer since 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and started her health care career in 1996 as a registered nurse at Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon.

“My desire has always been to lead a mission-centered organization that is driven by excellence in quality health care with a team of high-performing leaders who have a deep commitment to patients,” she said in a statement provided at the ceremony. “I am very thankful now to have that opportunity at OSF Saint Paul Medical Center and look forward to serving Mendota and the surrounding communities.”

OSF Saint Paul is part of the I-80 Region of OSF HealthCare. The regional CEO is Dr. David Gorenz.

The facility has 25 licensed beds and is served by a medical staff of 85. The medical center employs 297.

“On behalf of our Sisters, I want to warmly welcome the OSF Saint Paul Medical Center, your physicians and your volunteers and all of your associated programs and services into the OSF Healthcare System family,” said Sister Judith Ann. “I know God is smiling on us today and blessing us as we walk into our future now together, united in a commitment to truly serve our communities and do it with the greatest care and love after the example of Christ.”

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