Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Local Medical Mission Sister Celebrates Diamond Jubilee

By Special To The Message
Sister Phyllis Backer

Philadelphia, Pa. – Medical Mission Sister Phyllis Backer, a native of Ferdinand and graduate of the Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of her First Profession of Vows on Aug. 15 at her Community’s North American Headquarters in Philadelphia.

            Before entering the Medical Mission Sisters in 1955, Sister Phyllis received her R.N. degree from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Evansville.  She made her First Profession of Vows in 1957, then served as supervisor of the Pediatric Department of St. Vincent Hospital in Philadelphia.  In 1958, she was missioned to Holy Family Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, where she served as a nurse supervisor.

            Sister Phyllis served in Pakistan for almost 30 years as Director of Nursing Services, Director of Community Health Service and Midwifery Supervisor in Karachi and HFH Rawalpindi, and at St. Teresa’s Hospital in Mirpurkhas.

            After returning to the United States in 1987, Sister Phyllis conducted a study of nursing and community-development opportunities in the Midwest and Western U.S.  From 1989 to 1991, she was a nurse at Joseph Richey Hospital in Baltimore, Md.; and from 1991 to 1995, she served as coordinator of Anna Center, a respite care center for sick, homeless women in Washington, D.C.  Sister then worked at the Infirmary of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and in the Outreach Program of Corpus Christi Parish in Baltimore.

            In 2000, Sister Phyllis became Residential Care Coordinator for older Sisters in Philadelphia, a position she held for nearly 15 years.  In this role, she visited and coordinated care for Medical Mission Sisters in assisted-living or nursing-care facilities.

The Medical Mission Sisters are an international Religious Community of women committed to a mission of healing in areas of need throughout the world.  Founded in  

1925 by Austrian-born Doctor Anna Dengel, they are the first Roman Catholic Sisters tocombine the practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics with Religious life.  The Community’s more than 500 Sisters and 100 Associate members today serve as a healing presence in 17 countries around the world.