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The youngest of seven children born to Joseph and Katherine Pozdol in Chicago, young Harriet Pozdol was education by the CSFNs at Holy Trinity School in that city. After her 8th-grade graduation in 1931, Harriet entered the Congregation in Des Plaines, IL, attending Holy Family Academy as an aspirant.
After her novitiate and as a temporary professed sister, Sr. Honesta entered the three-year nursing program at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital, Chicago, graduating in 1941. She earned her B.S. from DePaul University in 1944.
Her earliest experiences in nursing involved the care of newborn and premature infants, having received a certificate in pediatric nursing from St. Mary’s in 1938. She advanced to supervisor at St. Joseph Hospital in Clayton, NM. After four years there, she returned to Chicago, earning a master’s in nursing education and teaching in the nursing program at St. Mary’s in Chicago. It was the first of several opportunities to educate and influence a new generation of nursing students.
After 25 years of nursing, Sr. Honesta resumed her professional studies, earning a master’s in hospital administration in 1962 from St. Louis University. Subsequently, she was appointed administrator of Bethania Hospital in Wichita Falls, TX, serving from 1962-71. She moved to Tyler, TX, where she served as administrator of Mother Frances Hospital through 1980. At the start of her tenure, Mother Frances had 700 employees and recorded 12,000 patient visits per year; during her 10 years at the helm, the hospital doubled in size. In all quarters – patients, family members, hospital employees and the larger healthcare community -- Sr. Honesta was recognized for both her compassion and leadership skills.
Sr. Honesta’s dedicated service on the Foundation Board of Mother Frances Hospital was a key component in the 1987 designation of Mother Frances Hospital as the East Texas region’s Children Miracle Network hospital, enabling the hospital to provide specialized technology and services for pediatric patients. In her role as advisor to the executive committee for the Auxiliary at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital System, Sr. Honesta was declared by all who knew her as one of the kindest people, a caring friend to all with only the best things to say about others.
Sr. Honesta’s administrative talents were broadly utilized within the Texas healthcare community. At various times, she served as chair of the Texas conference of Catholic Health Facilities and the east Texas and Midwestern divisions. She was a regional director for the Texas Hospital Association and a Life Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, where she continued to demonstrate her talent for balancing quality patient care with financial stability.
She tirelessly served her community and the healthcare profession until her retirement as hospital vice president in 2002, transferring from Tyler to Jesus the Good Shepherd Convent in Grand Prairie, TX. Sr. Honesta was an enthusiastic participant in community life, even after a toxic lump necessitated the amputation of one of her legs. A few years later, the other leg was amputated, but still, Sr. Honesta maintained her genteel, caring spirit. She loved being with people, reading – and spending quality time with “Impy” the cat who parked himself in her lap as Sr. Honesta sat on the patio, saying her prayers.
Asked once how she was doing, Sr. Honesta replied, “I enjoy my life. I cannot wish for more.”