Franciscan Sisters Assembly Contemplates Sponsored Ministries

November 19, 2014

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie shares good news of the recent Sisters’ Assembly organized by the FSCC Sponsored Ministries Inc. Office. A portion of her talk Sponsorship-Yesterday, Today and the Future is also attached.

Good morning! This past weekend we had a blessed experience with the Sisters who minister in our sponsored entities.

Franciscan Sister Laura Wolf and Sister Natalie Binversie lead Sponsorship Sisters AssemblySister Roberta Doneth, O.S.F., a Tiffin Franciscan, was our guest speaker who presented insights on “Dealing with aging, diminishment – becoming a wise woman.”

Sister Laura also gave an excellent PowerPoint presentation on Sponsor Presence Representatives.

I spoke on Sponsorship – Yesterday, Today and the Future.

There have been requests to have my talk available to the Community.  You will find it attached.

I want to especially thank Sister Laura, Sister Louise and Sister Martin who did much to organize the weekend.

A special thank you to all the Sisters who have ministered in any way in our sponsored entities over the years.

Thank you to every Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity – Everyone is a witness to Living the Gospel in Joy and Serving God’s People.

Each Sister represents the Community, place of ministry and the Church. God is with us.

Sponsorship-Yesterday, Today and the Future

Franciscan-Sister-Consecrated-Life-includes-service-to-poor-and-sufferingSponsorship begins in a call to serve and a heartfelt response to that call. From a call marked by God’s urging and recognition of need, responses have taken form in service to those in need. The original responses were most often carried out by individuals or small groups. We know this to be true from our own history. Teresa Gramlich said yes to the request of Father Joseph Fessler to teach catechism in Clarks Mills. Others joined her and thus the ministry of education began in our Congregation. We know that leadership in our Community responded to the needs of the time, meeting the demands of educational requirements. Thus Holy Family College was established to insure that the Sisters were well prepared when they went into the classroom. In time the doors were open to educating lay women for ministry in nursing and in education and eventually the College responded to the broader community and became co-ed.

Our roots of health care ministry in Manitowoc go back to the 12-bed St. Mary’s Hospital in 1881. After this hospital closed in 1888 the need for a hospital grew with developing industry and increased population. Mother Alexia was approached. After being told of the need she was asked to consider building a hospital. And we know the rest of the story of how our Sisters worked to raise funds to build and furnish hospitals not only in Manitowoc, but in Zanesville and in West Point. Later Kaukauna would be a part of our health care service….and of course, we cannot forget St. Rita Health Center and Holy Family Health Clinic.

Franciscan Sister Christine Stoller shows digital table to Silver Lake College of the Holy Family student.Sponsorship had a natural beginning without our Sisters knowing it. These ministries of education and health care were characterized by the presence of our Sisters in every aspect of the organization from administration to nursing and teaching and other forms of service. As such, no one really questioned who owned and operated the hospitals/health care facilities or the College. We did, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. We had direct ownership of the property and active presence of many Sisters on staff in our healthcare facilities and in Holy Family College. In a sense the sponsored organizations operated as though it were a family business. The Sisters served as owners, trustees and executive leaders.

Time passed and changes happened and we as a congregation were also affected.

As health care needs increased and health care methods became more sophisticated, the organizations grew and developed. This was true in the institutions of education as well. Cultural, ecclesial, educational and medical trends in the 1960’s led to profound changes in religious communities, ministries and the leadership within these ministries. The ministry of health care in particular became increasingly complex and difficult and required additional professionals to lead it. The Second Vatican Council affirmed the important role of the laity in the life of the church and recognized that there is one universal call to holiness that is received by all persons through Baptism. This change in thinking opened the doors for more laypersons to become invo

FranciscanSister Shirley serving as sponsor presence at Holy Family Memorial

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