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Donlevys given tribute at CHAC conference

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski


SASKATOON — The national annual conference of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada (CHAC) May 6 - 8 in Saskatoon was the setting for a local tribute to two longtime Catholic health advocates, brothers Urban and Rod Donlevy.

Urban, who was in palliative care at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon at the time of the tribute, and who died May 24, and Rod, who died Christmas Day 2014, were recognized for their many contributions to Catholic health care in the province.

Most recently, the brothers were instrumental in the development of two new facilities constructed by Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan: Samaritan Place, a long-term care facility, and Trinity Manor at Stonebridge, a 174-suite seniors’ independent and assisted-living complex in southeast Saskatoon.

In the presentation prior to the CHAC conference banquet May 7 at the Sheraton Cavalier in Saskatoon, Scott Irwin of Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan, and Bishop Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, described the years of service undertaken by members of the Donlevy family.

“The parents of Urban and Rod Donlevy and their siblings set the bar high, embedding an understanding that it was right and good to use your gifts and energy, your intelligence and skills, at the service of others in need, the common good, and the church,” said Bolen.

“Catholic health in the province of Saskatchewan and in this country has been the recipient of this generous service, and tonight we feel privileged to be able to publicly honour Urban and Rod.”

Rod Donlevy had a passionate concern for Catholic health care, said the bishop. He served as vice-chair of the Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan and chair and director of St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon. He was always willing to put his legal skills at the service of the community, of Catholic institutions, and those less fortunate, Bolen said.

Irwin added that Rod Donlevy had a strategic mind and a selfless generosity in sharing his time and expertise. “His commitment and his passion were almost unparalleled,” said Irwin. “He had an immense spot in his heart reserved for religious, both men and women, but particularly the sisters.”

Urban Donlevy provided skills and energy that matched and complemented Rod’s strengths, said Bolen.

Urban served as chair of the St. Paul’s Hospital board, as well as on the boards of the Saskatchewan Catholic Health Corporation and the Catholic Health Council of Saskatchewan. “In fact, he played an instrumental role, along with his brother Father Paul Donlevy, in the creation of the Catholic Health Council of Saskatchewan — the precursor to the Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan,” noted the bishop.

“Urban’s systematic, methodical and skilled way of proceeding in any project, meant that when Catholic health undertook a project, it would succeed,” said Irwin. “That determination and commitment was directly behind the building of Samaritan Place and Trinity Manor here in Saskatoon, and they are a visible and life-enhancing tribute to Urban and Rod.”

Bolen announced that stained glass artwork by Toronto artist Sarah Hall will be displayed at both Samaritan Place and Trinity Manor with a dedication to Rod and Urban Donlevy “for lifelong contributions to Catholic health ministry in Saskatchewan, with great affection, and deep gratitude.”

The national CHAC conference in Saskatoon explored the theme, Standing Together at the Margins: Creating a Circle of Compassion.

A pre-conference workshop May 6 featured Micheline St-Hilaire and Dawn MacDonald focusing on spirituality as a source of health and healing, through the screening of a film and discussion about compassion.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Brian Goldman, an emergency room physician and CBC Radio host of White Coat, Black Arts, on empathy in health care; CHAC chair Daniel Lussier and vice-Chair Dianne Doyle speaking on a shared vision for Catholic health care in Canada; and Dr. Philip Berger, medical director of the inner-city health program at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, speaking about The Heart of Catholic Health: Heritage and Contemporary Attention on the Vulnerable.

Researcher Dr. Eugenia Oviedo Jones addressed ways to assist those with addictions, while Rev. Thomas Nairn, OFM, the senior director of ethics for the Catholic Health Association of the United States presented a keynote entitled The Catholic Social Tradition: Building a Culture of Justice and Compassion.

Ethicist Rev. Mark Miller, CSsR, provincial of the English-speaking Redemptorists in Canada, presented Bioethics as Caring: 20 Years Experience of Listening and Learning as a Bioethicist.

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