Bishop's Story

Bishop Rickens walking through chapel

When knee and leg discomfort affected Bishop David Ricken’s duties at the Green Bay Diocese and also the degree of his happiness, he knew it was time to consider total knee replacement surgery. For decades, worsening knee pain limited his walks, time on his feet connecting with colleagues and parishioners and even the act of genuflecting at mass.

“Several members of the Green Bay Diocese, including staff, recommended a Prevea orthopedic surgeon to me,” said Bishop Ricken. “Multiple people expressed how pleased they were with the results and urged me not to put off the surgery any longer.”
Rickens kneels before altar in chapel

Bishop Ricken consulted with Dr. Mark Schick of Prevea Orthopedics. A board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Schick cares for patients at the Prevea Oconto Falls Medical Services Building and performs surgery at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls. X-rays revealed deteriorating cartilage, bone spurs and arthritis in the bishop’s knees were contributing to his worsening condition.

“Dr. Schick mentioned that total knee replacement surgery teamed with a disciplined physical therapy routine, could offer me relief,” said Bishop Ricken. “I think my sister, who is also my personal assistant, gave Dr. Schick the confidence I could go through the steps of rehabilitation with her help. I am so thankful to God, for the gift of family.”

In July of 2022, the bishop had his first knee replacement surgery on his right knee with Dr. Schick at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital. He describes those who cared for him as “the dream team”, consisting of doctors and nurses who were friendly, helpful and continually offering a blueprint for not only how his surgery would play out but also how his road to recovery would look.

“I know a good team when I see one and the men and women who cared for me consistently ensured that I was in good hands,” said Bishop Ricken. “They let me know that I wasn’t just a number and I never got the impression they were rushed. It was the time they spent with me before and after surgery which made the trip to Oconto Falls well worth the quick drive from Green Bay.”

Bishop Ricken chose to get his knee replacement surgery at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital not only because Dr. Schick was so highly recommended from friends and colleagues, but also because he wanted to receive care at a rural, Catholic-based, nonprofit hospital.

“HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital’s commitment to providing health care rooted in their faith is an inspiring example of missionary discipleship,” said Bishop Ricken. “I am so grateful to everyone who cared for me and humbled by the experience.”

One year following his successful knee replacement surgery, Bishop Ricken decided a procedure for his other knee was the best course of action. Once again, he turned to Dr. Mark Schick of Prevea Orthopedics and HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital.

Rickens prays in chapel“I shouldn’t have waited so long to get surgery,” said Bishop Ricken. “I really look forward to being able to move even more freely, taking more walks, having more face-to-face conversations with friends and better connecting with folks. One of the core values we have at the diocese is connecting with people to inspire, and when I can’t have person to person contact regularly and in comfort, it can be challenging to inspire others.”

Today, Bishop Ricken is genuflecting in church once again and continues to gain confidence and excitement about his increased mobility. Walks in nature, more cardio, and additional opportunities to take in the sun outdoors are just some of the blessings he most looks forward to, thanks to the care he received from Prevea Orthopedics, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital and all of those who prayed for his recovery.

“I am truly blessed and thankful for all of the love and support so many people have offered me,” said Bishop Ricken.