Sr. Victoria Segura, M.D., CBS
A physician seeks more in life
Before she became a Sister of Bon Secours, Sr. Victoria Segura, M.D., CBS, enjoyed her life as a pathologist in Long Island, NY. “I was doing what I wanted to do and single life was good for me, but I felt there must be something more to life than being a doctor,” she explains.
Raised in a Catholic family on a southern island in the Philippines, Sr. Vicky says her father, a dean of architecture, and her mother, a doctor in family practice, never thought their daughter would join a religious community and neither did she.
“Though I was educated in Catholic schools, I never considered religious life when I was young,” she notes. “It was not part of my plan.”
Instead, her parents expected her to take over her mother’s practice. But Sr. Vicky, one of five children, chose a different path. She became a pathologist and moved to the United States in the late 1960s at the age of 24 to do her internship at a hospital in Ohio. After she completed her residency at Nassau County Medical Center, she worked briefly as a medical examiner in New York City, and then began a career as a hospital pathologist.
During her years in residency, the thought of joining a religious congregation entered her mind and she explored some of her options, but wasn’t ready to make that big change in her life yet. “When I was working in Long Island, I began to consider religious life again and felt I should revisit the explorations I had done earlier. But I wanted to find a congregation where I could continue to practice medicine,” Sr. Vicky remembers.
God’s call comes from an unusual place
Sr. Vicky first encountered the Sisters of Bon Secours in a rather unusual place—an ad in the Journal of Laboratory Medicine. She didn’t act immediately, but hung onto the ad because she believed it could be God’s way of calling her to a deeper relationship.
After much thought, she says she summoned the courage to write to the sisters and was invited to visit them in Marriottsville. What appealed to her on her first and many subsequent visits was that the sisters were down-to-earth, real people. She felt comfortable when she was with them. Equally important was our strong commitment to healthcare ministry. “The charism and mission of the Sisters of Bon Secours spoke to my heart and allowed me to bring the gifts God gave me and express them to serve the people of God.”
Another change springs from her calling
After she joined the congregation, Sr. Vicky felt called to make another change in her life. She went back to clinical medicine and became a hospice physician. “I wanted to be in a ministry connected to our mission to caring for the sick and dying. That’s what drew me to the Sisters of Bon Secours and the connection had grown stronger. I only wanted to do this type of medicine,” Sr. Vicky adds.
She did a fellowship in AIDS/HIV and became board certified in hospice and palliative medicine (care provided to alleviate the suffering and improve the quality of life of people with life-threatening illness). Today she is Medical Director of Bon Secours Richmond Hospice and Palliative Medicine for the three, soon to be four, hospitals that make up the Richmond, VA Bon Secours Health System.
Sr. Vicky, who just had her silver jubilee, usually works a 12-hour day, starting at 7:30 in the morning and ending at 7 in the evening. In addition to attending meetings and serving as President on the Joint Hospital Board, she’s also on call 24/7 for consults and referrals from the teams in Hospice and Palliative Care. It’s a busy life, but one she loves and is committed to.
Life at home
Sr. Vicky shares a home near the hospital with the former President of the Sisters of Bon Secours, Sr. Anne Marie Mack, who is the Vice President of Sponsorship for Bon Secours Health System Richmond.
Life at their house is probably similar to your own. The women share chores and responsibilities like making repairs to their house, shopping, cleaning, and, Sr. Vicky’s favorite, gardening. Though it may seem hard to believe she has free time, Sr. Vicky is a master gardener and nurtures a beautiful garden behind her home.
When she first joined the Sisters of Bon Secours, living a communal life was the biggest adjustment for Sr. Vicky. “I was a very independent woman and I needed to shift gears and learn to be interdependent. Now I experience a sense of belonging. We sisters keep in touch by phone. We even have a book club we conduct by conference call. I see other sisters often and we get together for prayer and a chance to talk.”
“If something is missing in your life, there must be a reason.”
Sr. Vicky shares this advice with women who are considering religious life. “It’s important to know yourself well — to know who you are. If something is missing in your life, there must be a reason. That was the case in my own life. Consider if this could be a call from God to lead you to a different path. You can be very happy and fulfilled in a life of service.”