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Conway School

Conway School of Nursing: Answering the Nursing Call to Duty


“I had always felt called to care for others…After September 11th, I felt called in a particular way to be a nurse and to serve my country.”

I can still remember the exact moment that I decided to become a nurse. The moment is frozen in time, as I recall being a 17-year-old senior with Seton Home Study School, on the phone with a neighbor who had called to ask me to babysit. The neighbor stopped mid-sentence and said, “Oh my gosh, turn on the news! A plane has flown into the World Trade Center in New York City!”

As my mom and I watched in horror that September 11th morning, a burning desire to help those in need kindled in my heart. Doctors, nurses, police officers, and firefighters ran into the fray when the rest of the world ran away. I knew that the passionate call to help others, especially in times of chaos and panic, had become my new vocation in life.


Having been homeschooled from 3rd grade through high school, community service and acts of charity were part of the very DNA of my childhood.

I had always felt called to care for others, and growing up in my Catholic family, I knew that either teaching or nursing would be perfect professions for me. After September 11th, I felt called in a particular way to be a nurse and to serve my country.

See Christ in Every Patient

I became a Navy Nurse following my four years at Villanova University. I was fortunate to be stationed all over the world, including Europe and the Middle East.

Nursing is an excellent profession for those who wish to serve but in a spiritual way. It is an opportunity to love others as Christ loves and to see Christ in every patient.

As a young nurse, I found my deep faith in our Lord to be the framework in which I was able to process many challenging patients, situations, and long hours.

Still, in a much more substantial way, it helped me to persevere through new and challenging medical ethical dilemmas. The world has shifted since my early nursing days, and the challenges Catholic nurses face now are even more difficult to navigate.

Because of this changing culture, I selected a graduate school where I could continue my quest for truth and be able to deepen my faith, as well.

The Catholic University of America is where I found my academic and spiritual home for both of my graduate degrees.

As a university dedicated to advancing the dialogue between faith and reason and faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ, as handed on by the Church, Catholic University fed the hunger in my soul for how to deal with the new world I faced as a nurse.


After working as a nurse for well over a decade, Catholic University allowed me to pursue my other passion: teaching.

The transition from nurse to faculty member was an easy one: as a nurse, you are always learning from others and teaching those who come after you.

Gift of Teaching

To be able to teach undergraduate students is a gift I take very seriously. Additionally, it has afforded me the flexibility to spend time with and be fully present to my husband and our small children.

While I hope the world never sees another September 11th, I do pray that those in high school who feel drawn to serve others will consider nursing as a profession.

And whatever moment that inspires you, from a sick relative who needed care or a nurse who was once kind to you, I hope you will be willing to answer the call to love others as the Lord loves you.

About Dr. Maura Adams Wenzel

Dr. Maura Adams Wenzel
Dr. Maura Adams Wenzel is a Clinical Associate professor at the Catholic University of America’s Conway School of Nursing. As a former US Navy nurse, Dr. Wenzel has experience in many fields of nursing, including surgical, emergency, and perioperative nursing. Dr. Wenzel is passionate about nursing, nursing education, and weaving the Catholic Faith throughout her courses. She and her husband and three young children live in southern Maryland.

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