When Sister Jean Mohl passed on March 23, she left behind a health care legacy.
"She was a visionary woman," said Sister Joanne Bednar, delegate for religious in the archdiocese, Newark, N.J. "She saw what was coming in health care long before it arrived."
Bednar succeeded Mohl as president of the Providence Health System Foundation when Mohl retired July 1, 2002.
Sister Jean Mohl, above center, sits in the former emergency room at Divine Providence Hospital in 1984, the year she started as vice president. One year later, she became its president and chief operating officer.
Mohl mentored Bednar when they worked together at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill. They worked together again at Divine Providence Hospital, where Mohl continued to mentor Bednar.
"Her assistance was just invaluable to get me started in administration and health care," Bednar said.
A mass will be held at noon on Wednesday in Divine Providence Hospital to honor Mohl.
One of Mohl's accomplishments at Divine was creating a Department of Mission Effectiveness, meant to keep the purpose of the Sisters of Christian Charity alive. She recommended Bednar take the position.
"I'm forever grateful to her," Bednar said. "Her insight and her vision to see that, it was a very new position at the time. Today most corporations have a mission person."
Bednar described Mohl as a person who could see what was coming and plan for it.
In 1984, Mohl was named vice president of Divine Providence Hospital. Just a year later, she became its president and chief operating officer.
In the 1980s, hospitals competed against each other, but Mohl wanted to bring about an alliance among Divine, Williamsport Hospital and Muncy Valley Hospital to be more efficient.
Ultimately, the three united as Susquehanna Health System. In July 1994, she became the first chairwoman of its board of directors.
"She surrounded herself with good people, with good advisers," Bednar said. "With all the good ideas she herself had, as well as the people that surrounded her, you have today what we call Susquehanna Health."
Steve Johnson, president and CEO of Susquehanna Health, said it was an honor to know and work with Mohl.
"She shaped the delivery of health care in our region," he said. "She had the foresight to help bring our hospitals together to form Susquehanna Health.
"Above all, her concern for each individual and our community was her priority. She was compassionate and exemplified sound, thoughtful leadership. We will miss her greatly but pay tribute to her each time we use the skills she taught us, guiding us in our mission."
Mohl's biggest accomplishment is the health system alliance, Bednar said.
"I think she took the best of both health systems and put them together in a superior, superb health system," Bednar said. "She retained the Catholic identity of Divine Providence and Muncy and put that together with the professionalism and great quality of Williamsport Hospital and made it work with the people she worked with."
When the alliance came around, it was hard for the nuns to accept at first, said Sister Marie Zurinsky, retired director of nursing. She worked at Divine Providence at the time of the alliance.
"She could see what the future held for both the system and the community," Zurinsky said. "She was very instrumental with the alliance, which really turned out to be the best thing for the community."
Many of the nuns did not want the alliance.
"We were in a competition with Williamsport," Zurinsky said. "They couldn't see that she could see what was best for us."
The alliance absolutely was best for the community, she said.
"(I could see) how much better it was when the alliance cut down on the cost of health care for our community," Zurinsky said. "It stopped duplication of services and equipment. At first, (the public was) really upset about the emergency room closing at Divine. I think people realized it was in their best interest."
Zurinsky knew her from when Mohl started at Divine Providence in 1984 until she retired in 2002.
Upon her retirement, Mohl said, "Throughout the years, our hospitals have grown in our mission to care for our community through faith and trust in one another and now, it is time for me to continue my calling within my religious community (Sisters of Christian Charity).
"I thank all of those individuals who comprise our Health System family ... whose support and generous contributions of time, talent and treasure have made Susquehanna Health System, our partnership, the most successful alliance in Pennsylvania, and perhaps the country."
When Mohl retired from nursing, the nuns collected money to put toward a Sister Jean Mohl Award. One of the criterias involved in the award is the person has to be involved in the community.
"We put that in because Sister Jean was so involved in the community," Zurinsky said. "The person that gets that award has to be community-minded. She did not know (we made it) until we presented it to her before she left."
The award is the most desired one amongst the nursing staff.
"It's a real honor to get that," Zurinsky said. "I was fortunate enough to get it one year and it meant a great deal to me."
Mohl had an insight and compassion for people, from her fellow administrators, to staff and to patients, that Bednar recognized.
"I'm very proud she's my friend," Bednar said.