By RENEE WEBB
The new president of Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City was presented with a Bible and crucifix during her commissioning ceremony held July 17 at the hospital.
Bishop Walker Nickless, who led the ceremony for Beth Hughes, said, “As a sign of your commitment to Mercy Medical Center and leading it into the future with fidelity to the Gospel, we now present you this Bible. We also present this crucifix, a symbol of your duty to continue the compassion, healing ministry of Jesus Christ and to transform the health of our communities.”
As he commissioned her, the bishop told Hughes she was called to lead Mercy in an important way that integrates the mission, vision and values in all aspects of health delivery.
In his reflection prior to the commissioning, Bishop Nickless said he joined the staff, board members and community in offering prayers and congratulations to Hughes as she assumes her role as president of Mercy Medical Center.
“Not long ago, I had the privilege of meeting Beth and I was immediately struck with her personality, her values and her dedication to the work she was about,” said the bishop. “She is competent and a worthy person dedicated to serving the needs of others. You can always see that and feel that when you meet someone.”
He reminded those present at the commissioning, that Hughes is called to carry on the work of the Gospel – to care for the least among us and to be a light of truth and goodness.
“Mercy Medical Center has been a gift in the Diocese of Sioux City and to the communities that surround us,” Bishop Nickless said. “As Beth assumes this office today, we promise her our prayers and support. Our Catholic tradition constantly reminds us of the value of each and every human life from natural conception to natural death.”
As the ceremony got underway, Sister Maurita Soukup, Mercy Executive Board Member, offered the welcome and told Hughes that they entrusted her with “leading our ministry forward in a way that represents and builds upon the past, yet transforms us for the future.”
After Scripture readings and the reflection by the bishop, the chairman of Mercy Board of Directors, Milt Avery, introduced Hughes and presented her for commissioning.
Hughes addressed the crowd and thanked the bishop for his presence as well as the board, search committee and medical staff leadership for the faith they have placed in her to lead the ministry.
Since her first exposure to health care as a volunteer position in the 1980s to her first paying job as an ER registration clerk, she noted, “I have felt a compulsion and a passion to make this my life’s work and to make a difference. I have felt from the beginning that the work done in healthcare is special, is important and it is a gift.”
Witnessing the compassionate work of hospital staff through the years who have dedicated themselves to the healing of others, Hughes knows “it is sacred work.”
She vowed to dedicate herself to carrying out the mission of all that Mercy has done in the past, all that they will do in the future to serve as a compassionate and transforming presence in the community. Hughes said Mercy was blessed to have a talented medical staff with great leadership.
Hughes most recently served as vice president of hospital operations and strategy at The Advis Group in Mokena, Ill. She brings more than 27 years of experience in health care to Siouxland.