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Fr. Sam Receives Franciscan Award

Fr. Sam (third from left) after receiving Franciscan Service Award from Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center.

Our own Fr. Sam Maranto was honored with the Franciscan Service Award from Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center, where he has served as a chaplain in the Pastoral Care Department since 2011. The coveted award is bestowed on employees who exemplify the Baton Rouge hospital’s core values of service, reverence and love for all of life, joyfulness of spirit, humility and justice.

Fr. Sam’s colleagues nominated him for the award because he is a spiritual presence not only for patients, but also for the team: “He is consistently present, listening attentively to the staff and family’s expressed needs, and always stands ready to respond, interact and support – even in the most difficult of times.”

Fr. Sam humbly accepted the award as an acknowledgement of the work of the Pastoral Care Department; in memory of his mother’s dedication to the hospital, where she worked as a nurse for 34 years; and in memory of Redemptorist confreres who inspired him by their lives of faith, generosity, courage and integrity. “My mother would have taken a bullet for the hospital; what I’ve done shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same conversation.” Fr. Sam said.

Scott Wester, CEO of the hospital, praised Fr. Sam’s commitment to the marginalized, the poor and the disenfranchised, which “may have its origins in his Redemptorist training, but the Franciscans are the recipients of the fruit of his labor.”

I regard this award as the recognition of my Redemptorist training – individuals, ideals and ideas – and a transformation of consciousness.

“I regard this award as the recognition of my Redemptorist training – individuals, ideals and ideas – and a transformation of consciousness. My mind immediately goes to those confreres whose lives, ministry, zealousness, dedication to the poor and abandoned, holiness, and intelligence have left their mark on me. Most of their work puts the little I do to shame,” he said. “I really do stand on the shoulders of giants.  I could go on and on with all the Redemptorist virtuosi I have encountered in the almost 60 years since the journey first began.

“My training was getting to know these guys and drawing upon the example of their holiness, their zealousness, their work, their learning and their simple humanity, as I tried to serve the same cause (mission) to which they had given so much. Not one of these ever thought they could do more than they could do.

“They had no illusions about themselves, and did not regard themselves as supermen or saints. Through their own honesty and authenticity, they cast off the illusion that priesthood had endowed them with supernatural powers; that they were capable of any and all things. No, these were humble men who knew the worth of their own measure. They knew, too, that whatever they had – and didn’t have – was God’s gift, and that God’s gifts carry no regrets. It’s enough to be a small part of a legacy of compassion and sacrifice.

“I owe a great debt, and this is how I understand the significance of the Franciscan Service Award. How else does someone stand in the tradition of the one who called the Sun his brother and the Moon his sister?”