Called to be a Franciscan Sister, Teacher and Nurse

Franciscan Sister Adrianna Schouten shares a reflection on the life of Sister Marion Gilles. Read the entire reflection here: Franciscan Sister Marion Gillis’ Reflection

Marion Mary Gillis was born on September 30, 1930 to Albert and Lillian (DeBoth) Gillis. Marion was the middle child of five, with two older brothers and a younger brother and sister. She was baptized at St. Joseph Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin by Reverend A.J. Schueller on October 12, 1930.

The first three of years of school began at Chappell School about a mile from their home. For the remaining grade school years they attended the newly built St. Joseph School which had 8 grades and 8 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Marion attended St. Joseph Academy where she was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. After graduation in 1948, Marion worked for the Green Bay Food Company as a comptroller.

In a letter to Mother Edna, dated April 24, 1952 Marion wrote
“I can’t quite make up my mind if I want to be nurse or enter the convent…I have been working since I left high school. I am now 21 years of age… I am now hoping very soon to get some sign from God as to what my vocations is to be… If I meet the needed qualification I would like to give the convent life a try.”
Very Truly Yours, Marion Gillis.

In a letter from Sister Mary Ellen, Mistress of Postulants date April 29, 1952, Sister wrote
“You mentioned that you wondered whether to become a nurse or enter a convent. We have a suggestion – why don’t you do both…If you have the necessary qualification you will most likely be permitted to follow the nursing profession. Of course in religious life the will of God is made known to us by our Superiors… You will discover that your happiness will be a result of their choices.”

Sister Marion entered Holy Family Convent on August 23, 1952. She was received on June 13, 1953 and was given the name Sister LaSallete. She returned to her baptismal name in the late 1960’s.

Sister Marion attended Holy Family College. She taught grades 1-6 from 1955 – 1960. She entered the Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing and graduated from there in 1963. From St. Louis University she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1967. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing from University of Texas in Austin in 1973. Read more.: Franciscan Sister Marion Gillis’ Reflection

Franciscan Sisters Arizona Website Launched

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity serving in Arizona have launched a simple website. We invite you to click here and check it out. Why begin this initiative? It truly is meant to be a tool to  make life ‘simple’ for someone seeking to find us and God willing, called to be one of us. It is that simple.

Our love for Arizona began in 1931 when a parish priest invited us to come and help teach children. Since then we continue to be involved in education, but other ministries as well. We are blessed to work with a diversity of people: in Catholic schools and parishes, on the Gila River and Tohono O’odham Reservations, missions and diocesan offices.

How do you know God calls you? It is a discernment question many young women are asking. We say “contact us” – for a discernment retreat, to join a vocation event, or simply for a discerning and helpful conversation.

“At the end of our lives, all that matters is how we served our God and others, faithful to our call, and how well we respond generously to the inheritance that has been given to us.” Sr. Leonette Kochan, OSF

Franciscan Postulant Experiences Ohio Mission Experience

What does a Franciscan Postulant do after spending Christmas with her family? Yazmin Martinez Lopez visited the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity at St. Benedict’s Convent in Cambridge, Ohio. She arrived in time to celebrate her own festive Epiphany with the Sisters.

Yazmin was happily immersed in the work of the Community. She visited St. Benedict’s School and Christ Our Light Parish Religion Classes, as well as Countryview Nursing Home, Lore City.

The Sisters thought it important to share with her other significant places where our Sisters currently serve and served in Zanesville, Ohio.

Yazmin also had the opportunity to share her gifts and talents. She prepared delicious quesadillas for the Sisters. She was introduced to many people who the Sisters are blessed to know.

She met the Staff of St. Benedict’s School while the Cambridge Sisters hosted the Christmas Party at the Convent. On the Feast of the Epiphany she met many parishioners at the Parish Feastday Dinner prepared by Shirley’s Catering Service.

The Sisters enjoyed hosting Yazmin and wish her God’s blessings as she continues learning what it means to be a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity.

Franciscan Sisters’ Memories of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Novice Sister Cecilia Joy shares some memories of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 2018.

“Buenos días, Paloma Blanca, hoy te vengo a saludar. Saludando tu belleza, en tu trono celestial.” These lyrics began our morning as Sister Concepción and I (Sister Cecilia Joy) joined Sister Francis, Sister Marie Kolbe, and Yazmin in singing during morning prayer on the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe. Who knew they were also going to be some of the closing words we would sing in Mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Illinois later that day!

Sister Concepción and I joined Sister Elaine and Sister Julie Ann on this blessed pilgrimage. We arrived just in time to see the Shrine almost completely adorned with roses and candles. More pilgrims were walking along with us on the fenced paths to present their candles and flowers as well. It was truly a sight to behold. I never knew it was possible to see so many flowers in one place. Celebration of our Lady was in the smiles of joyful people, the flickering candles, and even in the movement of dancers in the square.

After spending some time at the Shrine, we proceeded to St. Joseph Chapel where a Spanish Mass was going to be held. This chapel was truly unique as it used to be a gym and was recently remodeled. Roses created an impressive border around the altar space. Musicians were practicing as we knelt to offer a few prayers. Mass was truly the climax of the day. Sister Concepción and I both agreed it was one of our favorite Spanish masses. The homily was inspiring, the songs were uplifting, and we enjoyed being a part of such a special celebration.

If you would like us to meet you at a Spanish mass in your area, please feel free to contact Sister Julie Ann through our website.

North Carolina Young Woman Called to be a Postulant

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Postulant Yazmin shares on God’s call to be a postulant. Yazmin is from St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Cary, North Carolina in the Diocese of Raleigh.

Hello Everyone! It is a joy to be here at Holy Family Convent. My name is Yazmin Martinez Lopez. I am originally from Mexico. My family and I came to live in the United States in 2008. We have been living in Cary, North Carolina for the past ten years. I have been discerning religious life for a long time but most seriously around two years ago. I contacted different Communities and I even went on a retreat in Mexico. But there was a time when I forgot about the idea of becoming a Sister. Then suddenly a friend from my home parish encouraged me to keep looking.

One day at daily Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Parish, the gospel was about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The priest, Monsignor Wall, talked about how this gospel had moved a man to work in Africa for the poor because he thought Africa was more like Lazarus. That just hit me at that moment. After I received the Eucharist I prayed to Jesus to show me a convent where I would be welcomed soon. Specifically, I asked Jesus to help me find it during that month, which was the month of March. I wanted it to be Franciscan because I knew that Franciscans are close to the poor. That day I looked at the website, Institute for Religious life, and I found out that the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity had a retreat coming up in March. I signed up and Sister Julie Ann contacted me. I came to the retreat and I loved it. Everyone was so welcoming.

After a week I wrote to Sister Julie Ann to ask for the application. So I applied, and it took me a month to get all the paperwork ready. I was so happy to hear that I was accepted. All my family and friends were so happy for me. My friends at church and priests supported me along the way.

My family brought me to the Motherhouse the 18th of August. It was hard to see them leave the day after. However, I am really thankful to be here. I have a sense of peace and joy. During the time I have been here I have seen that God has provided me with everything I needed. I am looking forward to serving God, the Community, and the Church.


South Dakota Young Woman Called to be a Postulant

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Postulant Lindsay shares on her call to be a Franciscan Sister.

I came to Holy Family Convent from Watertown, South Dakota. I grew up in northern Arizona and I was born in Flagstaff, but I moved to South Dakota about 12 years ago. I’m 35 years old and I am very happy to be here. My mother and grandmother still live in Prescott, Arizona. I don’t have any other family, but I have some great friends in South Dakota that are like an extended family to me. Before coming here, I was attending Mount Marty College in Watertown majoring in psychology and also took care of a family of five kids nearly full time. I came to know them through the Watertown school district where I worked with their middle son who has autism and type 1 diabetes. I worked with him as a paraprofessional for four years. Then I went back to school and was able to do afterschool care and summer care for the whole family until I came here.

I visited Holy Family Convent for the third time this March and was accepted into the postulancy on July 25. It was a whirlwind after that trying to sell my house and find a good home for my dog, Oliver. Eventually Oliver found a home with one of his cousins, and he is in heaven living with a buddy that has a huge backyard. I am still working on selling my house, but hopefully that will be wrapped up soon. My days so far have been filled with learning about religious life as lived as a postulant, school work from Silver Lake College, and getting to know everyone. I am slowly getting to know the layout of this building. I still get lost once in a while though. I would like to thank everyone for being so welcoming and kind to me during my time so far here. I am looking forward to getting to know all of you more and growing in many different ways on this journey! Coming here has been a fulfillment of a lot of hope and prayers over many years for me.

Franciscan Sisters Podcast: Franciscan Ways to Discern

Franciscan Sister Anne Marie Lom OSF offers discernment insight from her Franciscan perspective. Click here to listen to this podcast.


For more, visit our Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity youtube channel. Click here for discernment opportunities.


Franciscan Sisters and Poor Clare Nuns Share Discernment Day

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and Poor Clare Nuns from the Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy, Belleville, Illinois offered a Franciscan Discernment Day on October 13, 2018. Sister Anne Marie Lom facilitated the day. Young women tried to answer these two questions: How do I know God’s will (call/invitation) for me? How did St. Francis come to know God’s will (call/invitation) for him?

Here is feedback from the discernment day participants themselves on what this experience meant for them.

  • What touched your heart during this discernment day?
    The willingness for the Sisters to follow God.
    All of their stories they shared with us and how welcoming and warm they seem.
    The joys of the Sisters; you guys are just so happy, and so are they.
    Learning more about Franciscan Spirituality has been very significant for me, learning about Clare specifically has touched me today.

  • What part of the day did you find the most helpful?
    Office of the Passion
    Explaining what they do every day
    The prayer time spent with the nuns as well as the presentations.
    Spending time reflecting on the prayers of St. Francis in adoration.

If you are looking for more Franciscan discernment opportunities, we invite you to call or text Sister Julie Ann or contact us on-line here.

Franciscan Sisters Welcome 15 Women for Discernment

Come and see our home, our lives. Fifteen young women ages 17-31 were recently welcomed to the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Motherhouse for the weekend. All arrived by car for a Friday night social of nacho chips and taco dip. Night prayer followed in our Gothic style St. Francis Chapel at Holy Family Convent, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Saturday and Sunday continued the adventure of reflection on the vocation to Franciscan consecrated life.

Here are words from the young women themselves about the weekend convent visit.

What touched your heart during the weekend?

  • Reflecting on the bridegroom in adoration and hearing the novices and postulants sharing stories about their life and discernment, also praying at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help Shrine
  • I saw the kindness of the sisters and how they are a family. I think that this helped put me at ease giving me no anxiety and no reason to be anxious.
  • The Sisters opening the doors of their house for visitors like us to ‘come and see’.
  • The dedication the sisters showed to their service inspired me to guide my life to live by similar values. I admire the virtues that the sisters live by.

  • I think just learning to sit and talk to Jesus again. I wasn’t really making time for him at home, or if I did, it was structured and not really talking to Him. So just talking to Him again, and actually hearing what He had to say to me.

What part of the weekend did you find the most helpful?

  • The time we spent with the novices and postulants talking about their discernments and realizing how everything works out in God’s timing. The scavenger hunt and exploring the Motherhouse also helped.
  • Adoration. I love the journal and the readings from the Bible to help with meditation and growing closer to Jesus.
  • being able to see the sisters in their everyday lives at the convent, that they live happy lives in community

  • I found the personal stories and advice that each sister gave was helpful. This added a sense of realness that people go through.
  • The most helpful was all the times for silent prayer in the morning or in the evenings. It was a good way to start our day and get back to holy hours. I have been neglecting.
  • The Holy Hours and meals with the sisters. The scavenger hunt was very fun and all the opportunities for us to see all that the Sisters do.

Called to discern Franciscan life? We invite you.


Franciscan Community’s Podcast Welcomes New Postulants

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Novice Sister Cecilia Joy produces a community podcast welcoming our new Postulants.

Postulants Yazmin and Lindsay introduce themselves after they receive the Franciscan Insignia and are welcomed into our community. As Lindsay says, “We are a family.””

Watch our other podcasts. Click here.