August 4, 2016

Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine name Caritas Service Award recipient

The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine (CSA), founders of the Sisters of Charity Health System and its ministries, will present the Caritas Service Award to Dee Dee Chewning RN, SNP, NCSN of Lexington, South Carolina. The Caritas Service Award is given every four years to an individual who demonstrates generosity, untiring service, joyful witness of the love of God, and a commitment to the ministries of the Sisters of Charity in health care, social services, pastoral ministry or education.  

“We are very pleased Dee Dee is the recipient of the 2016 Caritas Service Award,” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. “Dee Dee has given tremendous gifts of her time and talents to many of our ministries and their devotion to healing individuals, families and communities.”

In 1992, Chewning became the first director of a program established by Providence Hospital that was then known as “Seeing is Achieving.” The program was created out of concern for children who had no insurance and no way to pay for eye exams and glasses. She stayed at the helm for 13 years, working tirelessly for children living in the Midlands of South Carolina as the program grew to become Health Reach and now Healthy Learners, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. Prior to that, she was a school nurse for 15 years.

After retirement in 2005, Chewning joined the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina Board of Trustees, serving nine years on various committees and eventually serving as board chair. She remains on the foundation’s program committee. She is the recipient of numerous community and professional honors.

Those who nominated Chewning shared a number of positive thoughts, including:

  • “She truly embodies the CSA charism. She has a loving heart and is present to all she meets in a deep way. She is humble and often sets aside her own needs to seek the greatest good for others.” 
  • “She serves wherever called, giving of herself using her leadership skills in living the heart of the mission by caring for those in need.” 
  • “Dee Dee was always devoted to CSA and was enthusiastic for her mission at Healthy Learners. She is loved and respected by co-workers and those who know her.”

The award will be presented in September at the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine’s annual Founder’s Day celebration in Richfield, Ohio. In addition, there will be the celebration of the 70th Jubilee of Sr. Elizabeth Schur, CSA, who ministered most of her adult life as an art teacher at St. Augustine Academy.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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