Flowing From His Side Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George
Making the merciful love of Christ visible to the poor, sick, and needy of every condition.
Winter 2011 When our foundress, Mother M. Anselma, began the work and life of our Congregation in a rural village in northern Germany in 1857, she and her co-Sisters found themselves in the midst of great need. Poor agriculture, harsh elements, and little industry led to poverty on many levels for the people of that region. The spirit of our Congregation was forged in times of physical and spiritual need. Our history is laden with stories of the sacrificial service of Mother M. Anselma and our first Sisters. They stayed at the bedside of the sick and dying, nursing and praying with them; they opened their doors to the children orphaned by epidemics; they built a nursing wing for the long-term sick who could no longer be cared for in the home; they received teaching certificates so that the children would have proper Our Sisters at Saint Anthony’s Health Center, Alton, Illinois education; and most of all, they went to the Chapel before the Blessed Sacrament, learning from His Most Sacred Heart that God loved them with a powerful and consuming love, a love they could share with every person they served. So what does this mean for our apostolic work in health care today? To care for others, especially those who are sick, always entails a gift of self. We not only care for our patients, we participate in their suffering through our work, which may bring many demands upon the individual Sister and the religious Community. In the spirit of Mother M. Anselma, we spend ourselves for the sake of others and, in this way, give witness to the value of life, which can be taken for granted in our present society. May God continue to bless the work He has entrusted to us that we may continue to “See in the sick our Lord Himself.”
Our Sisters at Mother of Good Counsel Home, St. Louis, Missouri
Flowing From His Side Dear Families and Friends of our Sisters, Pax et Bonum! From the very beginning of her work in Thuine, Germany, where our Congregation began, our Foundress, Mother M. Anselma, was involved in two apostolates: care for the sick and the education of children. In this quarterly edition, we are featuring articles on our health care apostolate—primarily on our Saint Anthony’s Health Center, a fullservice, acute-care hospital in Alton, Illinois, and our Mother of Good Counsel Home, a skilled nursing facility in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1925, now 85 years ago, we followed the Holy Spirit’s guidance to Left to right: Sister M. Juliana, Sister M. Dolorosa, Alton where we took over the administration of the Nazareth Home, a Sister M. Clare, and Father Paul Kersgieter facility for the elderly. We soon transformed it into a hospital that today from Mother of Good Counsel Home is known as Saint Anthony’s Health Center. Here 15 Sisters and nearly 1,000 staff members and volunteers are committed to witnessing to Christ’s merciful love by providing quality health services motivated by respect for the people we serve. In 1932, the Sisters went to St. Louis to take over the care of the elderly in a facility that today is known as the Mother of Good Counsel Home. Here 13 Sisters and our dedicated staff continue to fulfill the mission of Mother M. Anselma through our round-the-clock care of the nearly 75 elderly men and women entrusted to us. Drawn by the spirit and work of Mother M. Anselma, we strive to build a Culture of Life through the health care apostolate. In the Joy of Jesus and Mary,
Mother M. Regina Pacis, FSGM Provincial Superior
By Sister M. Beata, FSGM (Assistant to Administrator of Mother of Good Counsel Home )
Sister M. Beata and Adele Magee
In the world of nursing homes, marketing our services can be a very difficult task. The service that we offer is one that no one wants to need. In fact, during times of strength and stamina, many people make their children promise never to send them to a nursing home. But the need exists for there to be places in which skilled nursing care is provided to those who are in need of it and this is what we offer.
The description of our service has been, for many years, “Where quality and love meet.” There is no better way to illustrate this than by a thank-you note written by one of the daughters of a current resident. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the exceptional care you have given my mom this past year. It is people like you who make this nursing home a very special place – a little bit of heaven on earth!”
By Sister M. Mikela, FSGM (Vice-President of Mission Stewardship)
By October 1924, our five pioneer Sisters had spent almost a whole year in the United States working in Father Dunne’s Home for News Boys in St. Louis, Missouri. The Sisters prayed and discerned that they needed to look for a new assignment. The Sisters began to pray to St. Thérèse, the Little Flower, to help Saint Anthony’s Hospital in the 1930s them. They learned that the Precious Blood Sisters, who had been caring for the sick at the Nazareth Home in Alton, Illinois, were leaving the area. On October 3, 1924, our Sisters visited what was to become our future Provincial Motherhouse and our first health care apostolate in the United States. Saint Anthony’s front entrance today The Sisters relied on prayer, especially on the intercession of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, for the many needs of the Nazareth Home. It was the desire of the Sisters for the Home to become a hospital. Through the generosity of friends and benefactors, their dream was realized. One year later, on October 1, 1925 (the year of the canonization of St. Thérèse), an open house was held for the new Saint Anthony’s Infirmary. On October 2, the first medical staff met, consisting of 47 physicians. The doors officially opened for patients in November of that year. Since our beginning, many of our Sisters have served the poor and suffering through our ministry at Saint Anthony's Health Center. There are innumerable stories of friends and Sister M. Ignatia (staff nurse) benefactors whose generosity allowed us to keep our doors caring for a patient open and continue our ministry. We have seen Saint Anthony’s grow into a full-service community hospital where the Catholic witness to Christ’s healing ministry can be manifested with integrity and care. Saint Anthony’s is known not only for its medical excellence, but it is also a place where all people are cared for with dignity and love. The Health Center is directly attached to our Provincial House, giving witness to our enduring commitment to God’s people. Today we are grateful that 15 Sisters work directly in the health center in a variety of areas, including administration, laboratory, nursing, supportive living, physician support, pastoral care and hospitality. Our 85 years of history continues and, with thankful hearts, we strive to serve Christ in His people! Sister Mary Jude (CNA and Senior Nursing Student)
“When I entered the convent, I did not know I wanted to be a nurse. I did know that I wanted to serve Christ as His bride. Through the discernment of the Community, Christ has given me the gift of seeing Christ in the sick by serving the Lord Himself.” Sister Mary Jude is a Senior nursing student at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
Sister M. Anastasia (left) and Sister M. Mikela with “Christmas Angels”
Flowing From His Side By Sister M. Mikela, FSGM
“Peace and Goodness” is the representative sign of Saint Anthony’s Health Center where the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George have served for 85 years. With a faith-filled desire to bring Christ’s merciful love to the sick and needy of every condition, the Sisters serve the southern Illinois Community. Currently 15 Sisters, including three of our postulants, work in the health center, striving to be faithful to the healing ministry of the Church and its strong Catholic identity.
Our Sisters singing carols for the residents at Saint Clare’s Villa
Saint Clare's Villa is a Supportive Living Facility for Seniors ages 65 and older. The Villa offers residents their own private apartment and many services that remove the stress from their daily lives. We are not a nursing home - our goal is to keep our residents out of a nursing home for as long as possible. We offer services that Sister M. Jacoba (Director) and Villa resident, Robert Baird help make life easier for Seniors.
Sister M. Rosalinda (staff nurse), Joe and Brenda Shelton
“My truest call is to meet these individuals on a level beyond their physical needs, as children of God with inherent dignity and value. I strive to treat each patient with the same care that I would desire for a family member or loved one, with the same love with which Christ has loved me. As I embrace our charism to bring Christ’s merciful love to the world, I find myself serving Jesus.” Sister M. Renata, FSGM
By Sister M. Mikela, FSGM
Joe Shelton was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. After his diagnosis, Joe was hospitalized for over five months. Sister M. Renata (CNA) administering care to a patient
Joe’s wife, Brenda, described Saint Anthony’s as a “home away from home.” She said that the people are precious and the doctors, outstanding. They will never forget Sister M. Rosalinda, a registered nurse on 2 West. “We are Baptist and tried to convert her,” Brenda and Joe laughed. On Christmas Day, Sister learned that Joe’s favorite carol was “Little Drummer Boy.” Sister returned with enough Sisters to fill the room singing his favorite Christmas song. “They sounded like angels,” Brenda said with tearful eyes.
For more information about our health care apostolates, refer to the following: Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George: www.altonfranciscans.org
Saint Anthony’s Health Center: www.sahc.org
Mother of Good Counsel Home: www.mogch.org
By Sister M. Beata, FSGM
On any given afternoon, barring rain or snow, a tall figure walks through the park in the backyard of the Mother of Good Counsel Home. He stops at the statue of the Sacred Heart, makes the Sign of the Cross, and offers up the prayers in his heart. Around the bend he goes, pausing to feed Buddy, our dog, a treat from his pocket. His smile is bright, his chuckle friendly, and he never misses a “Hi, Sister.” Mr. Tom Rowane is a second generation resident of the Mother of Good Counsel Home, which is endearingly known as “The Home.” In 1975 he and his family implored their good friend, Bishop Joseph A. McNicholas, to ask the Sisters to accept their mother as a resident. She came to the Home, and the family has been part of our family ever since. In 2009, Tom’s sister, Mary Farrell, came to the Home as a resident, saying that she desired Mary Farrell and to be nowhere else. Two months later, Tom followed. Each Tom Rowane evening after supper, they would sit together and tell stories, watch television, and visit. Their love and concern for each other was so apparent. Mary died in July of 2010, and Tom continues to make this his home. The Rowane family is one of many families who have second or third generations as residents. At least 25% of our residents have had family here in the past. It is a sign to us that the Lord has allowed this place to truly become a home for those who live here, so much so that the daughters and sons who have parents here often remind us to save them a bed! Onward continues the legacy of the Home, for generations to come.
“Awesome – kind – caring – happy – thoughtful – loving – these are all words to describe you ladies on the 3rd floor. Every time I visit my mom, I am always greeted with a smile. It is no wonder that my mom truly loves where she is and proudly tells her family and friends the same.”
Sister M. Stephanie (Administrator) with Margaret Friedhoff Sister Mary Elizabeth (Director of Nursing) with Nella Boyd
“One of the outstanding things I think about Mother of Good Counsel Home is the incredible care given to each resident and all the visitors who are treated with the respect that would be given to Christ Himself. This flows from the spirituality of the Sisters who communicate that to the staff. The dignity of the human person is really at the heart of everything they do.” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann (Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas) (The Archbishop’s grandmother was a resident at the Home.)
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St. Francis Convent 1 Franciscan Way P.O. Box 9020 Alton, IL 62002-9020 Office of Mission Advancement (618) 474-6193 firstname.lastname@example.org Office of Vocations (618) 463-2757 email@example.com www.altonfranciscans.org Return Service Requested
“Veni Si Amas” Discernment Retreat “Veni Si Amas” means “Come if You Love” Do you love Jesus? Do you desire to give Him everything? Do you long to know the deepest desire of your heart? You are invited to come join other young women encounter the Heart of Christ and His love for you! When: February 11-13, 2011 Where: St. Francis Convent ~ Alton, IL Who: Single Catholic women ages 17-30 Contact: Sister M. Consolata in the Office of Vocations
We are an international Congregation with about 1,300 members. In our American Province St. Elizabeth, we have 123 Sisters: 89 Final Professed Sisters 25 Junior Professed Sisters 5 Novices 4 Postulants 50% of our Sisters are under the age of 41. We have 17 convents. We are in 13 different Archdioceses and Dioceses. Illinois Provincial House and Novitiate ~ Alton (established 1925) St. Michael Convent ~ Springfield (established 1980) St. Anselm Convent ~ Rock Island (established 1991) Mary, Queen of the Universe Convent ~ Champaign (established 1995) Missouri Mother of Good Counsel Home ~ St. Louis (established 1932) Mater Dei Convent ~ Wildwood (established 1998) Oklahoma St. George Convent ~ Tulsa (established 1984) New Jersey St. Elizabeth Convent ~ Somerset (established 1987) Nebraska St. Joseph Convent ~ Lincoln (established 1987) St. Sixtus Convent ~ Hastings (established 1992) Ohio St. Clare Convent ~ Steubenville (established 1988)
Sisters praying the Divine Office in our Provincial House Chapel
Washington, D.C. ~ Apostolic Nunciature (established 1995) Wisconsin Mater Redemptoris Convent ~ La Crosse (established 2000) Pennsylvania Mater Misericordiae Convent ~ Philadelphia (established 2004) Kansas John Paul II Convent ~ Kansas City (established 2005) Italy Mater Divinae Gratiae Convent ~ Rome (established 2009) 11 Convents in our Mission in Brazil (established 1972) Cruzeiro do Sul, Eirunepé, Ipixuna, Envira, Mâncio Lima, Guajará, Thaumaturgo, and Apui 1 Convent in our Mission in Havana, Cuba (beginning January 2011) American Sisters serving in our other Provinces Sister M. Hannah ~ teaching English in Sapporo, Japan (since 2002) Sister M. Adrienne ~ pastoral work in Delvinë, Albania (since 2009)
FSGM Newsletter Winter 2011