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February 24, 2019
Welcome and thank you for joining the National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A.

You are a member of an association with a proud legacy. Catholic nurses associations in the United States began meeting in 1909 with the establishment of the “Guild of St. Radegone for Nurses” in Boston, Massachusetts. This was followed by the formation of the International Guild of Nurses (ICGN) founded in 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin under the spiritual direction of Fr. Edward J. Garesche, S.J. Nurses from across the world met at international congresses that were held in Lourdes (1933), Rome (1935) and London (1937) forming the International Committee of Catholic Nurses and Medico Social Assistants (CICIAMS). (Note MedicoSocial Assistants is the title for Advance Practice Nurses in Asia.)

At the 1935 International Congress, His Holiness Pope Pius XI encouraged all nurses to belong to Catholic associations of nurses. In 1937 Pope Pius XI, through his spokesperson, G. Cardinal Pizzardo, encouraged the bishops to organize local associations of Catholic nurses according to the needs of their respective diocese and nurses to come together to sustain and fortify each other in their professional and Christian formation.

The purpose of these associations was explained by G. Cardinal Pizzardo addressing the 3rd World Congress in London in 1937 on behalf of His Holiness Pope Pius XI:

Pope Pius XI

“…The exercise of the profession of nurses is surely one of those which offer the greatest possibility for the apostolate, but we must not forget that the nurse, in the exercise of the profession, has to employ all sorts of technical means, and lives in a materialistic atmosphere, exposed

to the danger of a limited interior piety only, dissociated from the profession and exterior practices enjoined by the Church. Furthermore, modern theories seek to penetrate the minds of Catholic nurses and to make them become unconsciously strong agents for the propagation of eugenics and neo-Malthusianism [population control]. It is necessary, then, to protect them by means of Catholic Action, which has for one of its duties to sustain and fortify them in their professional and Christian formation.”

By 1940 there were at least 42 local councils in 16 states. From these councils, the National Council of Catholic Nurses (NCCN) was formally organized by Cardinal A. Stritch in Chicago on June 10, 1940. The longest existing local councils have existed in the Diocese of Albany (1946), Chicago (1954), Fall River, Youngstown, and Joliet. In 1993 the NACN-USA was formed under the auspices of the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, with the permission and spiritual advisement of Bishop Joseph L. Imesch. NACN-USA is a full voting member of CICIAMS (International Committee of Catholic Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants) ( Through CICIAMS, Catholic nursing is represented at the World Health Organization and at the United Nations. In October 1996, NACN-USA was approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for inclusion in the Kenedy Directory, the “Official Catholic Directory.”

Several of the NACN-USA members serve at the international level. One of the NACN-USA members, a past president of both NACN-USA and CICIAMS, was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 to serve on the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance of Health Care Workers which she did until it was consolidated within the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (IHD) in 2017. This member continues to attend the Dicastery meetings and was invited by the IHD to coordinate the North American discussion at the November 2018 International Conference on Opioids and Addiction. Four NACN-USA members attended this meeting. Five NACN-USA members, along with the CICIAMS International President from Ireland, represent CICIAMS at the United Nations and have presented statement before the UN Commission on Population and Development in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. See to read and view testimonies. Three other NACN-USA members serve in positions with CICIAMS (Pan American Representative, Chair of the Ethics Committee and Member of the Committee on the Family). Additional information, including the NACN-USA newsletters, is available at:

Forming local and regional councils of Catholic Nurses is an integral initiative of our Association. Interested in starting a local council? Please contact your Regional Director directly or through

On this date as the transition to the new president occurs, may we sincerely thank those who have gone before who dedicated many hours to the success of NACN-USA. May nurses of the United States continue to come together to sustain and fortify each other in their professional and Christian formation. May the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. wrap her mantle around all members and lead and guide us to do her Son’s will. I wish each of you many blessings.

In Jesus’ Holy Name,
Diana Ruzicka, RN, MSN, MA, MA, CNS-BC
(Nursing Administration & Oncology, Strategic Studies, Theology)
President, National Association of Catholic Nurses-USA
C: 256-655-1596 | H: 256-852-5519 | |