Celebrating Caritas Colleague Mary-Beth Desmond

May 2024

We wish to celebrate and honor our Caritas Colleagues and share their contribution and commitment to Caring Science. This month we are celebrating Mary-Beth Desmond, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, Caritas Coach®, Caritas Leader®, and WCSI Caring Science Postdoc Scholar.

My Journey

Forty years ago, I began as a rehabilitation nurse where holistic care and time with patients was plentiful. I was drawn to spiritual care and received a Master of Arts in Spirituality. I worked at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital which was on the Magnet® journey. I learned Dr. Jean Watson’s Caring Theory and the “Caring Moment” in my MSN program, a turning point for me. We aligned Watson’s Caritas Processes to Scripture, which was selected to guide nursing practice at the faith-based hospital. Dr. Linda Ryan, WCSI Faculty, was our MSN project preceptor, Incorporating Caring Theory into Personal and Professional Nursing Practice to Improve Perception of Care.

I began the Caritas Coach Education Program® and graduated in 2012. The hospital earned Magnet® status and we hosted Watson’s 19th International Caritas Consortium, truly a miracle.

I received my PhD in nursing focused on caring presence and spiritual care for a veteran. I participated in the co-creation of an educational program, Prevention of Community-Acquired Pressure Injury in Spinal Cord Injury, incorporating Watson’s Caring Science in Module 3 Relationships posted on the Paralyzed Veterans of America website.

My most meaningful moments with Dr. Watson were on my postdoc Caring Science Scholar journey as she guided and bore witness to the unfolding of my project, co-creation of a Mary Garden, which became a place of beauty, rosary meditation, and Caritas Communitas.

Dr. Watson and all those I have met through WCSI have illuminated my path with caring, compassion, wisdom, and love inspiring me to plant Caritas seeds, and bloom and grow in Caritas-Veritas.


I have served in nursing faculty and leadership roles in academia integrating Caring Science. I am an Associate Professor at St. Xavier University College of Nursing, Chicago. I was a guide in the inaugural WCSI Caritas Leadership Program™. In 2023 I took a sabbatical completing one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education as a nurse-chaplain intern honored to have patient visitations, provide spiritual care, and minister to those in need. I am grateful to begin my Caritas Coach® faculty role with Dr. Gayle Casterline my Caritas Coach.

Areas of Expertise

Caring Science, Spirituality, Spiritual Care, Spiritual Well-Being, Spiritual Distress, Faith Community Nursing, Veterans, & Spiritual Direction


Chicago, Illinois USA

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