Sister Anne Ralston SNDdeN
"Finding the goodness of God in the grief."
In the dark early hours of the day, when grief seems most intense, Sister Anne Ralston, is the one in the room who is listening with her heart. She is the social worker from the Office of Decedent Affairs, on the night shift at University Hospital in Cincinnati.
Sister Anne is often the one who makes the telephone call when a family member dies or when death is imminent. She is the first to raise the issue of an autopsy, or the need for legal advice. She tackles the tough questions like “why did this happen?” and “how do I tell the kids?”.
Sister’s top priority is to be present to others’ pain, and to help relieve the stress of such a difficult time—even when it happens nearly 300 times a year during her 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift.
The University Hospital is the country’s first teaching hospital. It was founded to provide care for the city’s aged and indigent, and is world-renowned for its state-of the art medical facilities. It is also the only Level I trauma center in the area that treats adult patients, which means Sister Anne’s ministry is rarely quiet.
Sister’s gentle compassion helps family members begin the process of grieving. When she was asked how she does it, she smiled and replied, “Only with the Grace of God.”