U.S. bishops may appoint nun as head of review board, sources say


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was planning Saturday to appoint a nun to the lay review board on sexual abuse, reported the Washington Post.

USCCB spokesperson Msgr. Francis Maniscalco would neither confirm nor deny the possibility of the appointment, saying that it is a confidential process.

A board of 12 laypeople was appointed as a watchdog panel two years ago to compile a report and make recommendations to the bishops following the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. Church that erupted two years ago.

Anne Burke, an Illinois judge and the board's chairman, referred to the plan in a Sept. 20 speech at Loyola University Chicago.

Several board members said the bishops' administrative committee deviated from the expected appointment process last week by choosing Sister Carol Keehan, former president of Providence Hospital in Washington, to fill one of at least four openings on the all-volunteer board.

Although the bishops are not bounded by the national review board’s proposals, they complain Keehan was not among nine nominees submitted jointly by the review board and the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse.

Keehan, who moved to Pensacola, Fla., this year to become chairman of a group of Catholic hospitals, said yesterday that she had not realized she was under consideration. "I have not been offered a position, and I'm not sure whether I would accept," she said. "I'd have to sort out whether it would be divisive or positive . . . because it's very important to me that the review board be successful."

Sister Carol has held many influential healthcare leadership roles, and for 15 years was president/chief executive officer of Providence Hospital. Prior to that, she was president/chief executive officer of Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland, Md., a position she accepted after having served three years as that hospital's vice president for Nursing and Pastoral Care.

She began her healthcare career as Supervisor of the Sacred Heart Children's Hospital and Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center in Pensacola, Fla.

Sister Carol also plays an influential role in the governance of a variety of healthcare, insurance and education organizations. Among her current appointments are the boards of the District of Columbia Hospital Association, of which she is a past chair; Providence Hospital; DePaul Foundation; Niagara University; and 2004-05 chair of the Catholic Health Association board of trustees.

She holds an Honorary Doctor of Science from Catholic University of America and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of South Carolina School of Business in 2000, as well as the American Hospital Association's Trustee Award in 1999. Sister Carol earned her bachelor's degree in nursing from St. Joseph's College, Emmitsburg, Md., where she graduated magna cum laude, and her master's degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina.

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