Consecrated Life Series: The East Peoria Franciscans

Photo Caption: The Motherhouse of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis is located at 1175 St. Francis Lane in East Peoria.

By: By Sister Rose Therese Mann, OSF

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a monthly series featuring religious communities and other forms of consecrated life around the Diocese of Peoria. Pope Francis has called for a special year dedicated to consecrated life, which will begin the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30, and run through Feb. 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated Life.

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We hear a lot about health care today: major ethical issues, amazing inventions, high costs, new research, government pressures, medical errors. Most people in the Diocese of Peoria have heard about OSF HealthCare, about some new building, or a hospital joining the system, or some other news.

How is OSF managing to navigate these challenging waters? It is through the skill, care and expertise of many employees and other collaborators, which OSF calls its community of caregivers. It is through the generosity of its benefactors. It is through the care, discernment, and guidance of a small band of religious Sisters, The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Ultimately, it is by the providence of our good God.

The Sisters are not new to living in challenging times. Their first hospital, St. Francis in Peoria, was started with just six Sisters. They worked in dangerous situations, with scant food and supplies, and too few Sisters to do the work. Although the challenges today are more complex, the solution is as simple as it has ever been: faithfulness to God, confident prayer, loving care for others, collaboration, and generous self-giving.

It is the Franciscan Sisters’ love of God and their faithfulness to the life they have professed that keeps them passionate in their service. It is:

— A life guided by their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

— A life centered on Christ, in the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass, and prayer.

— A life lived in community with their Sisters and as faithful daughters of the Church.

“We are a community actively engaged in caring for the sick, the poor, the injured, the aged, and the dying,” says Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, major superior of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. “This legacy was entrusted to us by God and our founders, Mother M. Frances Krasse and Bishop John Lancaster Spalding, over 137 years ago. It is the sacred ground where we encounter Christ and love and serve Him. This is the source of our greatest joy! From the words and legacy of Mother Frances we know what God asks of us. We are called to care for all God sends to us, to turn no one away, and to serve them with the greatest care and love.”

The Sisters persevere in their mission, not to merely heal the sick, but to draw them to Christ. They serve in imitation of Christ, who loved and healed the sick with great compassion for their suffering, showing them the merciful love of God.

If you would like to meet the Sisters or learn more about their life, please join us for:

— The annual Motherhouse Fall Bazaar on Friday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will be selling baked goods, fresh doughnuts, plants, crafts, Christmas ornaments, used items, and religious articles. The Motherhouse is located on Access Road 14 off of Illinois 116, just west of Germantown Hills.

— A Women’s Discernment Retreat, which will be held from Friday, Nov. 14, through Sunday, Nov. 16. It is designed for single, Catholic women, ages 18 to 45, who are discerning their vocation. For more information visit
franciscansistrespeoria.org or contact Sister Rose Therese, OSF, at (309) 655-2645 or vocation.info@osfhealthcare.org.

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The Sisters of the
Third Order of St. Francis

Founded: July 16, 1877, in Peoria
Founders: Mother M. Frances Krasse, OSF, and Bishop John Lancaster Spalding
Major Superior: Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF
Members: 24, all serving in the Diocese of Peoria
Charism: The special and most outstanding spirit of our community is the loving simplicity which our holy father St. Francis practiced to a very high degree.
Apostolates: Our primary commitment is to serve the sick and the poor. OSF HealthCare includes nine acute care hospitals in Illinois and Michigan, as well as Children’s Hospital of Illinois at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

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“Dear Sisters, keep yourselves in strict accord with the rules and statutes. Live in meekness and obedience. Nurse the sick with the greatest care and love, then will God’s blessing be with you.”
Mother M. Frances Krasse
Last words to her Sisters

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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