By Paul McMullen
Dr. Marie-Alberte Boursiquot, president of the Catholic Medical Association for 2017 and parishioner of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, visits with the Catholic Review.
CR: What, and where, are your Catholic roots?
Boursiquot: I was born in Haiti, and was six weeks old when my mother and I emigrated to the U.S. I grew up in a very devout family in Brooklyn, N.Y., where I attended St. Catherine of Genoa elementary school, and Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School.
I taught CCD for seven years until I moved to Washington, D.C. to attend medical school.
CR: What inspired you to go into medicine?
Boursiquot: Everyone around me believed I would be a doctor, but I had other plans. I performed well in the sciences, had hoped to pursue engineering and perhaps become an astronaut. After graduating from New York University, I went to work as a research technician, but was miserable. I intensified my prayers and made a deal with God. I would submit the bare minimum application to medical school and if accepted, I would know that it was what he wanted me to do. If rejected, that would be the proof to everyone that I was not created to do this.
The rest is obviously history. My profession is my vocation.
CR: What brought you to the Archdiocese of Baltimore?
Boursiquot: I came here to complete my residency training at the Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital program in medicine. I had every intention of returning to New York after medical school, but on match day (when students learn where they will spend their residency), I again saw the hand of God in my life. I never imagined that I’d match at Johns Hopkins, which is what happened.
I’m an internist with the Crossroads Medical Associates in Ellicott City, and have been an active member of the basilica parish for about 22 years.
CR: What is the purpose of the Catholic Medical Association?
Boursiquot: The CMA is a physician-led organization, the largest association of Catholic health care professionals in the nation. We help our members to grow in faith, maintain ethical integrity and provide excellent health care in accordance with the magisterial teachings of the church.
Many of the ethical challenges we’re confronted with are religious liberty issues. These are fundamental rights, which no one should ever be put in a position of violating. Archbishop William E. Lori, who happens to chair the U.S. bishops’ committee for religious freedom, is one of the heroes of our organization. He also serves on the episcopal advisory committee of the CMA, an additional blessing for us.
CR: Favorite saint?
Boursiquot: That would be the queen of all saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Before my first holy Communion, my mother only let me wear the color blue in honor of Our Lady; it is no surprise that blue is my favorite color. My mother and paternal grandmother were instrumental in forming my devotion to Our Lady. Their silent witness, by faithfully praying the rosary daily, had a real impact on my life. Today, I do the same.