St. John Auxiliary Celebrates 65th Anniversary

TULSA, OKLA. (Oct. 27, 2016) — The St. John Auxiliary celebrated its 65th anniversary at the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum's Travis Mansion on Oct. 26. St. John Health System administrators, Auxiliary members, members of Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and other guests came together at this special event to reflect on 65 years of service and dedication to St. John patients, guests and associates.

On Nov. 1, 1950, a group of women gathered for a benefit to raise funds to build the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. This shrine, affectionately called "The Grotto," is still located at the corner of 21st Street and Utica Avenue. About a year later, on Nov. 5, 1951, this group signed a charter to become the St. John Medical Center Auxiliary. As volunteer services grew to include St. John Owasso, St. John Broken Arrow and St. John Sapulpa, the name changed to the St. John Auxiliary.

"After every shift, I think about how blessed I am to have good health, and I'm thankful that I have the ability to help and serve others," said Ferne Howell, who has been an active member since 1969, volunteering in surgery waiting, at the information desk, in patient dismissals and as a member of the Auxiliary board of directors.

Howell said the Auxiliary's nearly 400 members stay active physically and mentally and leave with a sense of joy because they have served the less fortunate and made a positive impact on the lives of others. Volunteers serve in 75 different areas, including surgery waiting, information/guest services desks, gift shops, patient dismissals and transport, emergency rooms, flower delivery, and various nursing and patient units. The Auxiliary has worked closely with St. John leadership to introduce youth to careers in health care through the junior volunteer program, internships and Club Scrubs.

The Auxiliary has embraced the values of St. John — service of the poor, reverence, integrity, wisdom, creativity and dedication — by helping to fund numerous projects over the years. The Auxiliary opened its first gift shop in 1960. The gift shops now serve as the primary driver of funds. Projects have included building improvements, hospital rooms furnishings, X-ray machines, digital mammography equipment, a newborn nursery, wheelchairs, cardiac equipment, a dialysis machine, emergency crash carts, a fetal heart monitor, microscopes for laboratories and surgery, a stained glass window the St. John Medical Center chapel, wayfinding computers, a security card reading system, upgrades to the da Vinci Surgical System, and scholarships for nursing students.

The Auxiliary also participates in many St. John fundraising campaigns, such as those for the United Way, the American Heart Association Heart Walk, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and St. John's Holiday Angels program. For more information, please contact St. John Volunteer Services at 918-744-2198 or visit

St. John Health System is a part of Ascension, the nation's largest Catholic and nonprofit health system.

Photo caption: From left, Jeff Nowlin, St. John Medical Center president and chief operating officer; Bill Flynn, St. John Auxiliary president; Sister M. Therese Gottschalk, executive advisor to Robert Henkel, FACHE, Ascension Health president and CEO; Becky Brungardt, St. John Health System volunteer services director; and Page Bachman, Ascension Health vice president of human resources for the ministry market, attend the 65th anniversary celebration for the Auxiliary at the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum’s Travis Mansion on Oct. 26.

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