Pope Francis has praised the work of Sister Carol Keehan, whose crusading work in U.S. health care led her to defy the U.S. bishops’ conference to support President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, as someone “continuing the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”
Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, served as CEO of the Catholic Health Association, the largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the nation, from 2005 to 2019. In that capacity, she worked closely with the Obama administration beginning in 2009 to support legislation that would expand access to health care for an estimated 20 million Americans.
Sister Carol Keehan, then president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, holds up a pen at the 2010 CHA convention in Denver. The ceremonial pen was one of 20 used by U.S. President Barack Obama to sign the Affordable Care Act into law.
Sister Carol Keehan, then president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, holds up a pen at the 2010 CHA convention in Denver. The ceremonial pen was one of 20 used by U.S. President Barack Obama to sign the Affordable Care Act into law. (CNS/Courtesy of Catholic Health Association/Matt McClain)
On May 25, Keehan was honored with the 2022 Spirit of Francis Award by Catholic Extension at a dinner at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. During the gala celebration, she was presented the letter sent to Catholic Extension’s chancellor, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, and signed by the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
“His Holiness willingly associates himself with this recognition of her many years of dedicated leadership in continuing the healing ministry of Jesus Christ through the provision of quality healthcare for all, especially those most in need,” read the letter.
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