Dr. Fernande Marie Pelletier
Dr. Fernande Pelletier went to Africa in 1961 as a Medical Mission Sister. A graduate of the Georgetown University Medical School, she was thirty years old when she left home to begin her service. Her destination was the city of Berekum, Ghana, where she has now lived and served for over forty years. Throughout her service, Dr. Pelletier has had to overcome language, technological, and cultural barriers. She learned the local dialect, Twi, so she could talk directly with her patients, and the midwives and nurses she has trained over the years. She immerses herself in the local culture, trying to understand the ways that her patients think about their illnesses. Her dedication to her work has been celebrated by the Ghanian Government, who awarded Dr. Pelletier the Grand Medal for outstanding rural medical work. In addition to medical supplies, Dr. Fernande Pelletier provides AIDS education, home visits to new mothers, and training for new medical health workers. Using the Holy Family Hospital Outreach Vehicle for travel, she reaches remote areas without hospitals and doctors, caring for her patients’ needs in any way she can. Dr. Pelletier respects the spiritual beliefs of her patients and concentrates on relieving their illnesses or injuries. She explains, “By our action, we express our religious belief. Not ’I heal you and now you join my religion’... But by action; by healing people out of love and making them whole. That, I think, speaks louder.” Dr. Pelletier continues to serve the goals of the Medical Mission Sisters, making good health care accessible to poor patients in remote areas.