A Sister to All – Sister Tricia Cruise
Meet Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Tricia Cruise. The president and CEO of Healthy Moms & Babes, S. Tricia has been leading the organization for the past three years. Celebrating its 30th year in operation in 2017, Healthy Moms & Babes was started as a collaborative between four religious congregations in the health care systems that they were part of: the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, the Sisters of Mercy, the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor.
Can you tell us a little about your ministry and role at Healthy Moms & Babes?
As president and CEO, my role is to provide our staff with everything they need to serve their clients out in the community. Thirty years after its founding, the collaborative that was started between four different religious congregations is still alive and well – serving pregnant women who have a need for access to health care and prenatal care.
What makes your ministry special and why do you love it?
This ministry is special and I love what we do here at Healthy Moms & Babes because we are an agency full of women serving women in the community that need our help.
You are a Sister of Charity, how do you characterize SC values?
As we all know health care in our country continues to be complicated, and those that are left behind are mostly women and children, especially in our community here in Cincinnati. Cincinnati has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, and on top of that, one of the highest child poverty rates in the country; that is where Healthy Moms & Babes fits in. In actuality most of our staff were our clients at one point. They have been able – with the help of Healthy Moms & Babes and many other agencies in the city as well as Good Samaritan Hospital – to get themselves out of that poverty and now they are the ones that are going out and spending time with and walking in solidarity with women who find themselves pregnant, with no support, sometimes homeless and nowhere to go, and with no access to health care. If we can provide that access to health care, give them the services that they need to break through some of those barriers, then we will have a chance to have a healthier community right here in Cincinnati – babies born healthy, babies born full term, moms healthy and we move on from there.
When you think of a brave woman, who do you think of?
When I think of a brave woman, I think of the community health workers that work here at Healthy Moms & Babes. They are going out in the communities – in not such nice neighborhoods – every single day knocking on doors, working with moms, getting pregnant women out of situations where they find themselves not being able to take care of themselves or their children. It takes a lot of guts; it takes a lot of savvy; it takes a lot of passion and compassion. Women who work at Healthy Moms & Babes are the bravest women I know.
What would a world that is truly just look like?
A just world is one where everyone feels as though they are cared about; that they are loved; and that who they are and what they are is important.
What drew you to become a Sister of Charity?
I did not know the Sisters of Charity until my first teaching job. I met them and fell in love with what they did. They never really pushed me; rather, encouraged me to at least think about religious life which I had never done before. From there I came down to Cincinnati and my heart has never left the Sisters of Charity even though I have lived in many different places across the country. Because of the SCs, I have been given the opportunity to do what I do best and that is to provide opportunities for the people on the ground to really do their work.
What is it like to be part of the sisterhood?
As far as my ministry is concerned, most of my life as a Sister of Charity has not been in Cincinnati, but I always know that this is my home and this is where the Sisters are who care for me and pray for me every single day.
Religious life has been a gift to me. My personal belief is that each one of us lives that in our own individual way even though we are one congregation. For the most part I have not had the opportunity to live in community with others. Sometimes you struggle with being away but I also know where I belong and where I come from. No matter where we are or what we do, I know that I am a Sister of Charity, and I know that the Sisters of Charity support me and my ministry– whether it’s in this country, or Canada or Latin America. I’ve been given the gift of having the opportunity to be immersed in different cultures and in different ideas and seeing the poorest of the poor in this world. And as hard as that is, I can go home at night and know that here in Cincinnati someone is praying for me that we can continue to do our best.