August 18, 2015, Henderson, Nevada – Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP, currently a chaplain at the Siena Campus of St. Rose Dominican hospitals, recently renewed her vows as an Adrian Dominican Sister in the presence of Adrian Dominican Sisters and her new family from St. Rose.
“It was a very simple and beautiful celebration during an evening prayer service,” Sister Xiomara recalled. Presiding was Sister Kathleen Klingen, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Dominican Midwest Mission Chapter based in Chicago. The service was followed by an informal gathering to continue the celebration.
Sister Xiomara came to St. Rose on January 2, 2015, after completing the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago. During this time, Sister Judith Benkert, OP, then Chapter Prioress of the Dominican West Chapter, invited her to serve as chaplain at one of the two hospitals sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
While visiting Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals, Sister Xiomara said, she “fell in love with the quality of the care and the beautiful facilities in Henderson, and I was so proud of the work our Sisters have achieved here in our ministry.” Although she loved Chicago, Sister Xiomara added, she felt called to serve at St. Rose Dominican to be part of the Adrian Dominican presence there.
As chaplain at the Siena Campus, Sister Xiomara ministers to patients in about half of the campus facilities, including neo-natal intensive care, the pediatric unit, and surgical units. She is also on call twice a month, responding to emergencies at all three campuses, including Rose de Lima and the newest campus, San Martín.
Sister Xiomara also offers her pastoral presence to family members of patients, as well as to the staff members. “The staff is always appreciative of our support because they are affected by their work,” she explained. “This is a very vulnerable work and everybody’s exposed to this vulnerability.”
She gave the example of an incident that took place on the night of her Renewal of Vows, when a nurse came to her in great worry over a colleague, a nurse who had worked at the hospital for 10 years and was now in intensive care because of cancer. The next morning, she visited the nurse and “took time with everyone who needed it – nurses and people on staff.”
“It’s a privilege to be with them,” Sister Xiomara said. “It’s not just being a chaplain. For me it’s an honor and a commitment to serve as the compassionate presence of God as St. Dominic asks of us.”
Along with loving her new family at St. Rose, Sister Xiomara is enthralled by the “unique beauty” of the area and amazed by the wetlands that are found in the desert. The water runs beneath the desert surface, she said, and plants have to develop deep roots to get to that water. “It was a beautiful metaphor for me,” she said. “To survive you have to develop deep roots. The longer the roots, the more beautiful and fruitful.”
A native of the Dominican Republic, Sister Xiomara first met the Adrian Dominican Sisters in her home country in 1994. She earned her Licentiate in Industrial Arts at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in 2002 and a master’s degree in industrial sewing from Instituto Nacional de Formación Técnico (INFOTEP), Santo Domingo in 2006. Before entering, Sister Xiomara owned a fashion design business and taught fashion design.
Sister Xiomara entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 2008 from her home parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. She was an Adrian Dominican Associate for three years before her entrance.
August 7, 2015, Henderson, Nevada – The Siena Campus of Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals expanded its ability to serve the community of Henderson, Nevada, with a special July 30 dedication of its new St. Dominic Tower. The five-story, 220,000-square foot facility includes a cardiology center; six operating rooms; an additional 96 private rooms; an oncology unit; 56 treatment bays for the emergency room; and more space for such services as admitting, pharmacy, lab, and radiology.
“This expansion project is so important for the community the Siena Campus serves,” said Brian Brannman, senior vice president of operations for Dignity Health Nevada and president of the Siena Campus. “With this new tower, St. Rose will have the ability to care for more individuals who need it most, using the latest equipment and with a focus on delivering an outstanding patient experience.”
Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, of the Adrian Dominican Sisters General Council, addresses the gathering. Photo by Edyta Sokolowska.
“As I look to you, our St. Rose Dominican community, and look at this magnificent building, I can only imagine the smiles upon the faces of our seven Dominican Sisters who founded St. Rose in 1947,” said Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, during the dedication ceremony. “Since that humble beginning, St. Rose Dominican has continued to respond to the needs of the people and to grow accordingly.”
Sister Corinne noted St. Dominic’s work: reminding the people of his day of “God’s magnificent love and passion for wholeness” and following in Jesus’ mission of healing, liberation, and love. “Embracing this same mission, we are called to be a healing touch and loving presence in the lives of many who come to St. Rose Dominican. …The Adrian Dominican Sisters, those gathered here and those throughout the world, are grateful and honored to walk in mission with you as co-creators of God’s love, healing, and peace,” she concluded.
Sister Corinne is a member of the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, sponsors of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.
Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe, Bishop of Las Vegas, led the blessing ceremony. Other events celebrating the new tower included a public preview on Saturday, August 1. A special, more exclusive tour of the building will be held for specially invited guests on Friday, August 14.
Ground was broken for the tower on February 28, 2014, and funds were raised through the efforts of Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican and the Partnership for Compassionate Care Campaign. The St. Dominic Tower will enhance the hospital’s ability to care for the health needs of the public. Watch an interview with Dr. Robert Pretzlaff, Chief Medical Officer, and Mike Walsh, Project Director about the project and its impact.
The four-year expansion and renovation project also included a new parking garage and an expanded neonatal intensive care unit. The projects were overseen by the design and building team of Orcutt ӏ Winslow Partnership and Kitchell.
The second of three St. Rose Dominican campuses, the Siena campus was opened in 2000. The other campuses are Rose de Lima, the original, built in Henderson in 1947, and San Martín, opened in Las Vegas in 2006. St. Rose Dominican Hospitals is part of the Dignity Health, a health care system of 9,000 physicians and 380 care centers in 20 states.