Veteran WDAF-Fox 4 medical reporter Meryl Lin McKean is the first TV reporter in the 95-year history of the religious group Sisters, Servants of Mary to actually go inside the group and chronicle its ministry to the sick and dying.
McKean, who has been with Fox 4 since 1985, was able to tell the story (BELOW) in a piece that ran nearly five minutes—extremely long for television.
McKean explained to Bottom Line how she was able to put together the story.
“We landed the story by chance,” McKean says. “I interviewed a woman earlier in the summer on an unrelated story. When she learned that I do only health reporting, she mentioned that she was a volunteer for the Sister, Servants Gala, and that I should share the Sisters’ story.”
“It really intrigued me since I had never heard of them in the 27 years I’ve been reporting here. She put me in contact with Mary Sullivan, another volunteer, who made the arrangements after receiving permission from the Mother Superior.”
McKean felt honored to be able to go into the home of the dying woman and chronicle Sister Catherine ministering to her.
“It was a privilege for Ron Kirsch, the photographer, and me to be present in the Shouse’s home,” she says. “There are so few TV stories about the dying and their caregivers, yet there are so many families who are in the same situation or will be.
“Sister Catherine and the other Sisters really do set an example for us all,” adds McKean. “I’ll never forget her patience, kindness and selflessness.”
The Sisters, who reside in KCK, are often referred to as “Angels” and go out each night and care for the dying. They care for anyone, regardless of their faith, or even those with no faith.
In fact, the 91-year-old woman being attended to in McKean’s piece was born a Lutheran, but never attended church.
McKean also interviewed the Creal family about the care provided by the Sisters when their college-age daughter was dying. The Men of Nativity group at the Church of the Nativity in Leawood picked up the Sisters each evening and delivered them to the Creal home and then drove them back to the convent each morning.
A benefit gala, “Serving From the Heart,” will be held on Saturday, October 6, at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park to help fund the work done by the Sisters.