Remembering: Sr. Eileen Catterson, DW

Sr. Eileen of our Lady
March 22, 1935 - January 15, 2019

Friends of Wisdom we are saddened to report the passing of Sr. Eileen Catherine Catterson, DW, MD, 83, (Sr. Eileen of Our Lady). Sister passed peacefully into eternal on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Sister would have been 64 years professed in February.

Sister Eileen began her ministry in the health care in 1955 as a student in Maryview Hospital School of Nursing in Portsmouth, Virginia and left as a clinical instructor in 1962 before going off to mission as an instructor at St. Joseph Hospital in Malawi, Africa. There she also served as a head nurse and headmistress of nursing. In 1967 she returned to the United States to pursue studies in the medical field, and later to do a residency in pediatrics at Akron Children’s Hospital, Ohio. She then went to West Virginia through the National Health Service Corps. She became a Doctor of Medicine in 1974, earning her degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and completed her Pediatric Residency at the Children’s Hospital of Akron, Ohio. In 1977 she was licensed to practice in West Virginia, and in 1979 she became a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics.

Following her first assignment in Raleigh County, West Virginia in 1977, she served as a Pediatrician and established the Rhodell Pediatric Clinic, bringing healthcare closer to the people of the community; and in 1985 she established and became the medical director of the Pineville Children’s Clinic. With the nearest hospital 60 miles away, she was the only board-certified pediatrician in rural Wyoming County providing comprehensive and compassionate care to thousands of patients a year, including nutrition education, early childhood education, and special education initiatives such as a clinic for children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. In addition, she rallied for the provision of fluoride in drinking water after witnessing rampant tooth decay amongst her youngest patients, making way to fluoride supplements for all children.

A member of West Virginia Board of Medicine, Charleston, and the Board of Directors, Council on Aging in Itmann, she was held as a vital part of her community, and was involved in a wide range of social services and programs from the care of children with disabilities, to nursing programs, and the Council on Aging.

Some of her former patients, mostly women, went on to study medicine and became medical doctors. And a scholarship fund was set up in her name by the Beckley Area Foundation, of Beckley, WV through The Children’s Healthcare Fund. Known as the Sister Eileen C. Catterson, M.D. Scholarship Fund it is for qualified college females in southern West Virginia pursuing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a health science field. Sister served as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, West Virginia University in Morgantown, and the West Virginia School of Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Students from all three of these schools of medicine and students from physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs benefited from rotations set up by her in her clinic. She served for many years on the Headstart Health Advisory Committee in Wyoming County and on the Board of Directors of the McDowell/Wyoming Child Protective Team.

She was a member of the Raleigh County Medical Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Irish American Pediatric Society and the Federation of State Medical Boards. She served as president of the West Virginia State Board of Medicine and chaired the Department of Pediatrics at Raleigh General Hospital.

Among the awards she received were the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services Community Service Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from West Virginia Wesleyan College, the “Pediatrician of the Year” award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, West Virginia Chapter, and the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross from Pope Benedict XVI. The latter award is the highest that can be bestowed by the pope on members of the laity or religious community that have advanced the life and mission of the Church. The naming of the Tug River Catterson Health Clinic in Pineville is a tribute to her 30 years of service.

Aside from her involvement in the medical and social justice fields, Sister also held a Master’s degree in Theology from Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling West Virginia and was an instructor of RCIA for St. John the Evangelist Parish, Mullens, West Virginia.Born in New York City, NY, a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Long Island City, and a Graduate of Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School, Brooklyn, NY, Sr. Eileen retired in 2014 and returned to New York and resided at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent until the time of her passing. Sister will be greatly missed by the Daughters of Wisdom, her beloved sister, Cathy, and brother in law, Mike, her niece Eileen, nephews Joseph, Will, grandniece, Mia, and many colleagues and friends.


WAKE: Monday, January 21, 2019, 2 – 5 PM, Moloney Funeral Home, Port Jefferson, New York

FUNERAL MASS: Tuesday, January 22, 2019, (Time to be announced) St. Louis de Montfort Church, Sound Beach, New York.

Donations can be made HERE.

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