Sister Mariana Koonce, RSM, MD, was appointed director of Health Services for the Diocese of Knoxville in 2012, and she officially joined the diocese in October.
In her position, she will lead the new diocesan ministry to provide health care to underserved areas across the diocese and the new St. Luke Guild. Sister Mariana joined the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Mich., in 2008.
She was raised in Mayfield, Ky., in the western part of the Bluegrass State. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1990 and then from Tulane Medical School in 1994. She attended medical school on a Navy scholarship and served seven and a half years in that military branch, during which she completed a residency in family medicine and did two shipboard tours as a Navy physician.
Sister Mariana left the Navy in 2001 to enter private medical practice in the state of Washington, where she worked for six years.
“And then I asked God what He wanted,” she said. “I have a variety of experiences that are suitable for doing this (the mobile clinic and the St. Luke Guild). But this still is a daunting task.”
Sister Mariana is encouraging parishioners who are in health care to enroll in the St. Luke Guild through its website, www.stlukeguild.org. Sister Mariana can be contacted directly at the Chancery at 865-584-3307 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any parish interested in hosting an information night on the St. Luke Guild and the diocesan plans for extending Catholic health care should contact Sister Mariana in the Office of Health Services.
The Office of Health Services is planning to host a bioethics seminar in 2013 as well as a retreat.