Mission Experience: Franciscan Sister Novice Visits Nebraska

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

February 24, 2024

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Novice Sister Catherine Peter Logan reflects on her recent experience at St. Francis Convent, West Point, Nebraska. Sister Louise Hembrecht, Sister Joy Rose and Sister Elizabeth Ann Miller serve here in various ministries at Franciscan Health Care and Guardian Angels Central Catholic.

I then ventured to the winter wonderland of West Point, Nebraska for my Mission experience. You know your trip is going to go well when you can spend time with Jesus at the airport on the way. How great that the Atlanta airport has a tabernacle in their interfaith chapel.

When I arrived in West Point I shared I was missing the snow of the Colorado mountains but I guess I forgot to push the stop button. We had about two feet of snow by the end of the week with subzero temperatures. My experience started off with a Green Bay Packer party as the Sisters continue to try to convert the locals in West Point to become cheeseheads.

It was wonderful to have an opportunity to get to know Sister Louise, Sister Joy, and Sister Elizabeth Ann throughout the week. For us in Formation here at the Motherhouse, we don’t really have ample opportunities to get to know the sisters on Mission so this is a special part of the experience that I look forward to each year.

To have a chance to join them for prayer, meals, recreation, and of course this week … shoveling snow.

Sister Louise took me to where she works as the Assistant Director of Mission at St. Joseph’s Retirement Community and St. Joseph’s Hillside Villa nursing home which are beautifully decorated and have a great home-like feel to them. The staff and residents were all so friendly and you could witness the wonderful care. I had a chance to call BINGO followed by indoor snowman building with real snow from the abundance that mother nature provided.

The building of mini snowmen turned into a playful snowball fight and lots of laughter by all. I then went with Sister Joy to see her ministry and to learn about the different parts of her work as Director of Mission at the hospital including attending an orientation and yearly mission refresh. The hospital facility, Franciscan Healthcare, is modern and decorated in a manner which brings a sense of peace with the Catholic and Franciscan foundation highly visible for all to see. I had a chance to attend a meeting where all the departments come together in the morning to give updates of what is happening in their areas.

Many staff had called off due to dangerous road conditions due to snow but even being short staffed there was a spirit of joy and care in the air. A real family work type of atmosphere. While I saw the snow falling I had hoped for sledding and before I knew it I was joining CEO Tyler’s kids to go sledding at a local park. There was about a foot of snow at that point and lots of fun was had by all. I also had a chance to go to Guardian Angels Central Catholic School with Sister Elizabeth Ann.

How amazing to see classrooms filled with kids throughout all of the grades from elementary through high school. I had a chance to share my vocation story to different classes from 8th grade to 12th and then I was able to sit in on one of Sister Elizabeth Ann’s classes. All of the teachers, staff, and students I met were so friendly and you could sense a true joy through the school as well. 

Throughout the week we attended Masses at St Joseph’s Retirement community and Hillside Villa, Franciscan Healthcare, and Saint Mary’s. The chapels were all so peaceful and the church was beautiful. At Saint Mary’s with Father Weeder presiding, the Sunday Bilingual Mass was filled with families and so many children. Such a blessing! It was also so heartwarming to witness and hear how much the West Point community cares for our Sisters and the impact our FSCC community has made in this city for over 138 years. This mission experience was definitely one that I will not soon forget. Thank you to all for the generosity and hospitality and kindness extended to me.



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