School Sisters of St. Francis (aka Franciscan Sisters of Christ the Light)
Teaching and Evangelization
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Sr. Mary Michael Huseman, OSF 806-683-8035 (cell)
Patron Saints/Famous Saints of the Community
St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Bonaventure, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Padre Pio (we love all Franciscan saints).
There is a great emphasis on some of the other spiritual giants as well - St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese, St. Edith Stein, Pope John Paul the Great, . . .
We also have a devotion to the Divine Mercy, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Following our foundress, Mother Maria Hyacintha Zechner, the foundation of our consecrated lives is to be totally Franciscan. This is our first identity. It takes a new "yes" every day to try to live in the spirit of St. Francis as beloved daughters of God and it takes a lifetime. What a joy to live this call.
As consecrated women religious, we have ministered in education and evangelization of youth and families according to the needs of the times for 300 years. We are especially drawn to Theology of the Body and Healing.
In this light, we want to follow Jesus in the spirit of St. Francis and bring His Light to every person we encounter. We want to be the Face of Christ to people all around us. We want to become the Gospel.
Our Community History -- The Beginning of the Congregation
In 1723, a young woman and her mother saw the children in the streets near Salzburg, Austria that were too poor to be in the public school that required tuition. Their parents were working all day, and the children had no one to educate them or to watch them during the day. Maria Hyacintha and her mother, who were Third Order Franciscans, took it upon themselves to begin educating the young people in their home. Soon other women joined them, and so the Congregation began!
Coming to America
In 1931, our Sisters decided to extend the mission to the United States. The Sisters were able to learn English, work in a seminary, teach in schools, take classes, and work as nurses and teachers in several cities, including LaCrosse, Wisconsin; Trenton, New Jersey; Youngstown, Ohio; Independence, Iowa, and other places.
After working in many apostolates and being educated in the central and eastern United States, the Sisters were looking and praying for a place to create a Regional House for all the Sisters to live together. It happened that the bishop of the Amarillo diocese was looking for Sisters to staff a Catholic Children's Home, new Catholic schools, and eventually a new Catholic nursing home (St. Ann's opened in 1963). So in 1954, the School Sisters migrated to Texas to begin their new lives and establish the Texas Region. Since then, we have been fundamental in the opening and staffing of schools in our diocese and in other areas in the state.
We continue to strive to evangelize youth, young adults, families, and marriages locally and wherever we are able!
Today - Charism Understanding rooted in our History:
The founding grace of Mother Maria Hyacintha Zechner was Franciscan in essence and transformative in effect. She tried to be the face of Christ to many through prayer and gospel living.
The purpose of the Congregation, according to the foundress, was first for the glory of God and secondly for the sanctification of the members. Through our relationship with God and each other, we are called to bring the light of Christ to the world today.
Mother Hyacintha belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order before she founded the Congregation. This revealed her deep desire that her daughters would be rooted in the Franciscan spirit through conversion, love, hope, and joy. Our consecration to Jesus gives us freedom to serve the needs of the world.
"I have found the one whom my soul loves." Song of Songs 3:4
Prayer is the life and soul of our Community. The daily schedule includes the Divine Office in common, the celebration of the Holy Mass, the rosary, meditation, and spiritual reading. Private devotions include the Stations of the Cross which are an integral part of our Franciscan heritage. As a Eucharistic-centered community, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is our daily privilege. We share our life of prayer with all those we serve, and we strive to integrate our Franciscan spirituality into every phase of life. Devotion to Mary is also a primary characteristic of our life of active contemplation.
Intimacy with God enables and strengthens us to be faithful to our daily apostolate. It is only through a spousal relationship with Jesus in the interior life that we can be instruments in His hands.
We have many traditions based on Franciscan customs and our history, such as a small procession with the baby Jesus at Christmas, the May Crowning of Mary, the Franciscan Crown, fasting on Friday's, celebrating Feast Days (of the Community and for each Sister), special Holy Week devotions, the Transitus of St. Francis, and much more.