Perseverant, compassionate, obedient, focused and open to new opportunities—these are all qualities that Margaret “Molly” Collins Beran ’97 admired in Catherine McAuley. Catherine’s life, to this day, inspires the successful Omaha physician, wife and mother.
“Catherine was a radical and her own person. She ran into a great deal of opposition in trying to do her amazing work. She pushed the boundaries of society for her time, passionately forging ahead, always obedient to the will of God to see her mission through of caring for women and young children,” Beran said.
Beran sees glimpses of Catherine in herself—both personally and professionally.
“ You have to be your own person, try things and be intentional about what you what to achieve,” she said.
Molly, an academically gifted student, followed the footsteps of her older sisters, Coralie Collins Kroll ’86 and Mary Collins Wolf ’88 in attending Mercy High School. She was involved in soccer, volleyball, theatre, swing and honor choir. Her favorite subject was English and she recalled the impact teacher Sherri Hoffman, had on her and how perceptive the teacher was.
“ I remember taking my first English test. It was a three-question essay test and I was so focused on writing the most thorough answer to the first question—I ran out of time. I was devastated because as an over-achiever my confidence was shaken. I went to see the teacher after school. This wise teacher reassured me that she knew I understood the material—I just hadn’t managed my time well and not to worry. She reinforced the confidence I had lost in myself,” Beran said. That moment and approach to education is something she still remembers to this day. Like so many teachers at Mercy, Hoffman understood how to invest in a student to be her best self.
True to her Catherine’s nature of openness to new opportunities, Beran tried several courses of study at Creighton University. She pursued pre-med, English and even obtained her paramedic license. She also was “overinvolved” and played soccer for four years, did theatre, sang in the chorus and pledged a sorority. She did well on the MCAT and decided to enroll in medical school in 2001, graduating from University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2005.
“When deciding on my specialty, my connection with Catherine came full circle. Catherine knew the power behind educating women for the good of our society. I decided on obstetrics and gynecology because of the importance of educating women about all aspects of health and the difference that can make,” Beran said.
She also aligned herself with a medical practice, CHI Health Alegent Creighton that had its history and values closely aligned with the Sisters of Mercy.
The busy physician and mother of three is expecting another child in January with her husband, Casey.
She continues to invest in Mercy financially and personally when her busy schedule allows. She helped plan her 15th Mercy class reunion several years ago and also created a special Facebook page to reach out to classmates. She hopes in the future to connect more with Mercy friends and to continue to embrace the qualities of Catherine.