|As the third oldest of 14 children living across the street from the Catholic rectory, Sister Dominic Haug learned the value of a spiritual life at a young age.
While a senior in nurse's training at St. Francis in Topeka, Sister Dominic thought God might be calling her to serve as a Catholic Sister. After graduation she worked in the newborn nursery and continued praying to know God's will for her. "The call from God just kept getting louder and louder," Sister Dominic grins, noting she heeded the message and contacted the Dominican Sisters in Great Bend. "My first assignment was to teach at the school of nursing," she recalls. "I had never taught, never worked in that hospital, and I didn't even know how they did things."
A woman of determination, Sister Dominic dived in, teaching at the Dominican School of Nursing in Great Bend, and later working in various supervisory positions at St. Catherine's in Garden City and at Central Kansas Medical Center in Great Bend. During her teaching years she acquired a bachelor's degree in nursing education from St. Mary's in Leavenworth.
"In 1977 I attended Texas Women's University to obtain a master's in nursing," she explains. "While there, my interest in home health, a fairly new service, continued to grow." For her master's thesis she did a survey in Great Bend that showed a need for home health services for the aged residents of the area. Thus encouraged, Sister Dominic, with the support of her Dominican community, started a home health agency, serving as the director.
Sister Dominic remained in her home health role until 1992, then took a year's sabbatical during which she worked as a volunteer with the Edmundite Fathers Ministries in Alabama. A short time after leaving Alabama, she was invited to return to be the director and nurse of a small rural clinic that served the truly poor. During her four years with the Edmundite Ministries, she merged two clinics and directed them both.
Sister Dominic's return to Kansas brought her to a different career path, that of pastoral ministry. In 1998 she joined the staff at Via Christi Village in Manhattan as director of pastoral care. At the village, Sister Dominic presides over Catholic communion services unless a priest is present to say Mass. She coordinates various religious activities, including Protestant services and Bible study. She visits each new resident to determine his/her spiritual needs and desire to participate in religious activities, and she tries to get acquainted with family members and give them support as needed. She also gives special attention to those in the last stage of life.
"It's all rewarding," she says. "I find it a privilege to assist people when they are dying. It's a sacred, holy time, and I try to make it that for the resident, family and staff. It can be a time for celebrating the earthly life of the past and the future life in eternity." Sister Dominic feels blessed to have had so many careers where she had the opportunity to touch the hearts of others.
"Our vocation and where we go are inspired by God," she reflects softly. "If we pay attention, he directs our lives in so many ways."