Bears or not, Franciscan Sister Joy Rose ‘blessed’ to be back

Paul Keggington

September 24, 2013
Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Joy Rose was recently welcomed back to Franciscan Care Services, West Point, NE. Willis Mahannah, editor of the West Point News, shares this interview.

Bear hunting season began last week in Wisconsin, so forgive Sister Joy Rose if she has a touch of home sickness the next couple of weeks.

Franciscan-Sister-Joy-RoseThat’s because the new Director of Mission for Franciscan Care Services (FCS) in West Point is a hunter and won’t have an opportunity to shoot a black bear in Nebraska.

“I was raised in northern Wisconsin and hunting is what we did,” she said. “I’ve hunted turkeys, ducks and bears.”

The bear she was tracking escaped, however, and her permit expired before she was able to bring it down.

“The game tracking camera caught the bear,” she said. “It took a nice photo of it when I was at church.”

If the name Sister Joy Rose has a note of familiarity to it for some in the West Point area, it’s because this isn’t her first stay here. It’s her third.

She worked as an LPN at St. Francs Memorial Hospital in the 1970s, left for a few years, and returned in the late 1980s and stayed through the mid-1990s as an RN.

During her second stay in West Point, Sister Joy began Franciscan Care Service’s Home Health program.

Since leaving West Point the last time, Sister Joy provided health care ministry at two other facilities with which the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are involved.

One was at Genesis HealthCare System in Zanesville, Ohio, where she began a paid parish nurse program.

She also served at a long term care facility in Kaukauna, Wis., where she started a community outreach program that included an adult day center and non-medical in-home program for the Fox River Valley area.

Sister Joy is now looking forward to giving life to new programs in West Point, too.

“I’m very excited to be back in West Point,” she said. “It’s such a friendly community. And it’s wonderful to see all the changes that have taken place, not just at the hospital but in the community. It’s amazing.”

Sister Joy said she feels blessed to be part of the Franciscan Care Services ministry and sees her role as a way of fulfilling the FCS mission, “to live and promote the healing mission of Jesus Christ.”

She said her experience as a nurse will help as she begins providing opportunities for FCS employees and patients.

“Healing isn’t just about the patient,” she said. “It’s the family, the friends and even the animals at home. Having been a nurse, I feel that I will fit in well here and be able to get things done for the community and Franciscan Care Services.”

She knows she won’t be doing it alone.

“We have a wonderful team here,” she said, adding that her predecessor, Sister Mary Beth Prinz, did wonderful things for the community and FCS.

“No matter where I go, people ask me about her. She left a wonderful legacy here,” she said of Sister Mary Beth, who, because of health reasons, is back with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, Wis.

Sister Joy said there was no hesitation on her part when asked if she’d like to return to West Point as Director of Misison.

“I see it as an opportunity to build on what’s here,” she said. “I have some familiarity with starting programs, but I want to hear from employees about what new programs they would like.”

Her role includes ensuring that the “caring” part of health care and the FCS mission is carried out through programs related to values, employee relations, ethics, leadership and customer service.

But because she can’t hunt bear, Sister Joy said her free time will be occupied with other loves: cooking, gardening and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

She hopes to find a spot for an herb garden.

“It’s good to be here,” she said. “I’m blessed to be here.”

Sister Joy Rose has returned to West Point, this time as Director of Mission for Franciscan Care Services.


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