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Adventist Hinsdale Hospital volunteer chaplain: ‘I feel blessed’


Hinsdale – When Mary Potter was starting her work as a volunteer chaplain at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, she found herself on the elevator with a surgeon who was chief of the medical staff.


“I said to him, ‘I’m just a volunteer chaplain,’” Potter recalled. “He told me I wasn’t ‘just’ a volunteer. He said that we volunteers did the important work. It was affirming for me.”


That was 16 years ago. The La Grange Park resident is still volunteering at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, and has contributed more than 1,700 hours of service over the years. She recently was recognized as the hospital’s volunteer of the month.


“We can’t cure people, but I believe there is healing through prayer,” Potter said. “Even though I’m not ordained or a professional chaplain, I believe in the power of prayer and I wanted to bring what gifts I could to help those who are ill.”


Potter has been involved in prayer groups and visiting shut-ins through her church, Christ Church in Oak Brook, where she was also trained as a Stephen minister, a non-professional caregiver. She has also had training at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, and she meets with her supervisor there for guidance.


“Every patient has a story,” Potter said. “I especially enjoy ministering to older people. Sometimes I just sit and listen as they share their memories. I offer a prayer. If they don’t want to spend time with me, I still pray for them after I leave their room.”


Esther Jarrette, executive assistant in the pastoral care department, commended Potter for her commitment to caring for patients even when they are out of sight.


“Patients are not forgotten by Mary at the end of a visit,” Jarrette said. “She continues to uplift them in prayer and, on subsequent visits, she’s diligent in following up with the ones who are still hospitalized.”


Potter and her husband, Reg, are the parents of a son and a daughter. Potter began volunteering at her children’s school when they were growing up. A native of La Grange, Potter earned a degree in liberal arts at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. The couple has a long affiliation with Adventist Hinsdale Hospital; Reg and his two brothers and his sister were born there and recently they visited a great-great niece who was born there. There were four generations in the room.


“The hospital has a wonderful pastoral care staff; it’s a privilege to work with them,” Potter said. “I feel blessed to be able to serve in this way. I hope that God is using me in some small way as a channel of healing.”


Adventist Hinsdale Hospital offers various volunteer positions. For information on volunteering, call Sher Fox at (630) 856-4000.


Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit


Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-856-2354