Dr. Mae Tighe, Wilton resident and gastroenterologist with the Western Connecticut Health Network, was one of two recipients of the Father Rufin Kuveikis Compassionate Care Award during the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport's 24th White Mass Breakfast on Sunday, March 26. The breakfast took place at the Ridgewood Country Club in Danbury and was attended by more than 200 health care professionals and other guests. One of those guests was the Diocese of Bridgeport's Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, who presented the awards to Tighe and Norwalk resident Rose Taliercio. Tighe had the opportunity to sit with Caggiano at the breakfast and said he is "so deeply devoted to his role as bishop" and has "led our diocese with such wisdom and grace." The Compassionate Card Award is given annually to one physician and one health care volunteer in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Tighe was nominated for the award by Father Reggie Norman, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Wilton, where Tighe is a parishioner. After learning she had been chosen as this year's physician award recipient, Tighe said, she felt "deeply touched." "There are so many deserving individuals who give of themselves," she said. "I felt a little overwhelmed that I was chosen." A gastroenterologist of 22 years, Tighe has two offices in Ridgefield, one in Danbury, and one in Wilton at 195 Danbury Road. "I was in private practice and on the voluntary faculty at Yale New Haven Hospital until 2014, when I came to work at Danbury Hospital in the Western Connecticut Medical Group in order to be closer to home," she said. "While in New Haven, I was president of the New Haven County Medical Association and served as president of the medical staff and chief of GI at Milford Hospital, where I received the Healing Hands, Caring Hearts Leadership Award." Tighe is no stranger to volunteerism and helping others. She is a member of the Order of Malta - a worldwide lay religious order of the Roman Catholic Church - and has helped its medical team bring chronically and terminally ill people to Lourdes, France, for healing during its annual Lourdes pilgrimage. Tighe has also been a Girl Scout leader in Wilton for about 10 years, worked as a service unit manager for Wilton Girl Scouts for several years, and "volunteered extensively over the years for the schools and other organizations," she said. Physician and priest Father Myles N. Sheehan was the featured speaker at this year's White Mass Breakfast, and Tighe said he gave a "wonderful" lecture about Pope Francis' message of compassion "and how that ties in with our role as physicians in today's challenging health care environment." Over the years, Tighe said, she has "come to realize what a great gift a career in medicine has been." "We have the opportunity every day to show compassion when we take the time to listen to our patients' concerns, ease them through an uncomfortable procedure, or even just lift their spirits with a smile or a hug," she said. "To me, that may be even more important than my knowledge base or technical expertise. It's an honor to serve others during what can be the most difficult and vulnerable moments of their lives."