A recent story from “The Journey,” magazine of the Sisters of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Recently, Mary Susann Gobber, SCN, celebrated 60 years as a Sister of Charity of Nazareth, with most of those years in health care ministries. She was also recognized for decades of dedicated care to patients in hospital and geriatric care facilities, as a nominee for one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s 25th Annual Governor’s Service Awards.

A ball of energy, Sister Susann is a familiar and much-loved member of the St. Joseph Health Care family. After decades of being in ministry at the hospital, she retired but continued in ministry at the Lexington, Kentucky institution as a volunteer. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sister spent over 800 volunteer hours helping in admissions and escorting patients to procedures. 

Sister Susann would also visit physicians and members of their office staff to pray for them, a ministry she continues from home now. She says throughout her life, she has truly felt God’s blessings and presence. With a lifelong ministry in health care, her calling to this path began not long after entering the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 1958. In 1962, Sister Susann began ministry as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), serving patients in a number of capacities over the years. In 1974, she began studies to become a Physical Therapy Assistant and ministered in this role from 1976 until 2004.

After joining the Saint Joseph Hospital family in 1994, her primary assignments included the Sub-Acute Care Unit as well as in-patient rehab. Nancy Fister first met Sister Susann in 1997 at St. Joseph’s. The two were on the same unit offering physical therapy. They are close and Nancy describes her as gifted with patients. Adding, she’s become a dear friend and over the years has been “a true reflection of God’s love, grace, and mercy.”

Sister Susann has been drawn to ministry most often with the geriatric population in multiple settings, including skilled nursing facilities, retirement homes, hospitals, and home health.  

A native of Frankfort, Kentucky, she was one of six children. Sister Susann attended Good Shepherd grade and high schools in Frankfort. Her interest in becoming a Sister grew through the examples of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who taught there. She was also inspired by her mom, a woman of faith and a nurse. Sister Susann’s ministries included St. Joseph Infirmary; St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock, Arkansas; Maria Hall at Nazareth Home, Louisville; St. Mary’s Convent in Greenville, South Carolina; Green River Area Development in Owensboro, Kentucky; and Community Health Services at Nazareth Home. She has also had many opportunities to travel and visit with SCNs in Belize (1988), India and Nepal (1990). She visited The Holy Land (2011), Medjugorje (2012), and Guadalupe (2017) as well.  

In 1997, Sister Susann began the three-year Ministry Formation Process through the Catholic Diocese of Lexington. She was commissioned as a Lay Minister in 2000 and until recently she was a member of the Newman Center. She was also deeply involved in BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington by Direct Action) and a centering prayer group. After retirement from Saint Joseph Hospital in November 2004, in addition to volunteering at the hospital, she ministered at the Center for Creative Living Adult Day Health Care.  

Sister Susann is much loved and always on the go. She also enjoys learning new things having taken Spanish lessons, piano lessons, and exercise classes through the Lexington Senior Center.  

Recently, Sister decided to move back to the SCN Motherhouse in Nazareth, Kentucky. 

Friends say Sister Susann is a joy to all with whom she comes in contact. They describe her dedication, compassion, and sincerity. Her friend, Nancy, and others say Sister Susann has truly lived a humble life, a life of service. Sister Susann, uncomfortable with all the compliments, just says she was listening to God’s call.