Michelle O’Rourke is a registered nurse with an extensive background in Emergency Nursing, Parish Nursing, and Hospice Palliative Care. She also holds a Master’s in Pastoral Ministry and enjoyed many years in parish ministry and diocesan leadership, while helping to develop a national education program for training Parish Nurses.
Thesis work for her graduate degree reflected her interest in spirituality and palliative care and was subsequently published. Befriending Death: Henri Nouwen and a Spirituality of Dying has sold over 6,500 copies worldwide. Studying Henri’s life and writings impacted her deeply, both personally and professionally, which led to her second book, Embracing the End of Life: Help for Those Who Accompany the Dying, co-authored by Eugene Dufour. In 2020 she released her third book, Healthy Caregiving: Perspectives for Caring Professionals in company with Henri J. M. Nouwen.
A highlight of her career was being chosen to oversee the design and development of a ten-bed residential hospice. She continued to serve in a shared role as the Program Coordinator for both the Chatham-Kent Hospice and the Palliative Care and Oncology Departments at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, until her retirement. She now has more time to focus on what she truly enjoys – speaking, writing, consulting and self-care! Her areas of focus include palliative care, resilience, and caregiving.
Michelle is the mother of four, and she and her husband Tom live in Chatham Ontario. They enjoy travelling and spending time with family and friends.
Toronto Star Nightingale Awards – Honourable Mention and presentation, May 2016
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Tri-Board Award of Excellence – Mission/Staff Category – November 2013
Catholic Press Association (of North America) first place finish in the Pastoral Ministry category for Embracing the End of Life: Help for Those Who Accompany the Dying, June 2013
One of 100 graduates of Assumption University, Windsor ON, honoured with Alumni of the Century, Sept. 2012