Sisters St. Francis of the Martyr St. George
Teaching, Nursing, Day Care Center, Nursing Home, Healthcare Administration, Care for Retired Priests, Parish Work, Diocesan Work
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Alton, Illinois (Provincial House)
St. Louis, Missouri (www.mogch.org)
Rock Island, Illinois
Kansas City, Kansas
Patron Saints/Famous Saints of the Community
St. Elizabeth of Hungary - Patron Saint of our American Province
As daughters of Mother M. Anselma, we share her charism of making Christ's merciful love visible. This love can only be made visible when we have first encountered it for ourselves. As we come before the Lord in daily prayer, we open ourselves to receive his merciful love so as to become vessels of that same love to those we encounter in the apostolate. "Looking upon him whom we have pierced" (John 19:37) transforms our gaze and secures us in our deepest identity. We are daughters of the Father, spouses of Christ, and instruments of the Holy Spirit in our various apostolates.
Mercy goes wherever there is a need. So too, our apostolates are a response to the needs that have been presented to us according to the signs of the times. Our sisters are engaged in "works of mercy" in the traditional and non-traditional sense.
The education apostolates range from work in our St. Francis Day Care Center in Alton where we welcome children starting at six weeks old to teaching on the college level at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Lewis and Clark Community College, and St. Francis College of Nursing. Between diapers and diploma, we can be found instructing children and teens in grade schools and high schools in Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.
In the healthcare arena, our sisters are involved in everything from direct nursing care to pastoral care to administration. We even have sisters involved in radiology, medical engineering and lab work! The hospital where our sisters first began serving is now part of the OSF system based in Peoria, IL and we are blessed to share ministry with the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. One of our largest endeavors is the Mother of Good Counsel Home in north county St. Louis (www.mogch.org). Here, we operate a skilled nursing facility and provide a home for residents to feel known and loved while receiving quality care. Our sisters also staff a priest retirement home in the Diocese of Lincoln, NE where they provide services for up to twelve priests in their golden years.
Additionally, we are involved in various parish and diocesan work. This includes serving as administrative assistant to a cardinal, visiting and bringing communion to the homebound, staffing a diocesan retreat center, and evangelization efforts.
We also have missions in Brazil, Albania and Cuba. We currently have seven American sisters serving alongside other sisters of our international congregation in order to bring merciful love to more remote parts of the world and be faithful to the missionary mandate of Christ and the Church.
The versatile charism of merciful love keeps us attentive to the signs of the times and simply ready in obedience to God's call, however he may ask us to share merciful love with humanity.
Check out this video to hear Sr. M. Karolyn speak about the charism of our community.
The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George were founded in 1869 in a small village in northern Germany. Mother M. Anselma was sent on mission from her original congregation, the Sisters of the Holy Cross of Strasbourg, to serve at the Church of St. George in the town of Thuine under the direction of the pastor, Fr. Gerhard Dall. There, she and her companion sisters served the sick, the poor, the children, orphans, and elderly, offering whatever services were needed. They recognized the various needs and fulfilled the to the best of their ability despite humble beginnings, hardship, and poverty. Animated by the Spirit of Christ, Sister M. Anselma placed herself utterly at the disposal of God’s will. In a spirit of true faith-filled obedience, Sister M. Anselma carried out the separation from her original Congregation to serve the people of Thuine, who lived in extreme poverty. With the assistance of the pastor, Fr. Dall, the sisters established our congregation as part of the Franciscan family, maintaining a deep devotion to the passion of Christ and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and committed to "making Christ's merciful love visible" through fulfilling whatever needs became evident. The charism and mission of the sisters spread first to the Netherlands, then to Japan, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Albania, Italy, and Cuba. Our sisters in our worldwide congregation keep the spirit of Mother M. Anselma alive in responding to the needs of the Church and world and bringing Christ's merciful love into those places, whether hidden or visible.
Our sisters first came to the United States in 1923, settling in St. Louis where they first worked at Fr. Dunn's home for boys. They later came to Alton to take up the healthcare apostolate at a small infirmary which has since grown into a full hospital as part of a healthcare system. Four of the five original sisters sent from Germany remained here as missionaries and many more followed their legacy. We are blessed to have some of them still with us to share stories and continue to keep us connected to our worldwide congregation.
The Mother of Good Counsel Home in St. Louis became an apostolate of our community in 1932 as our sisters began to provide nursing care for the aging by welcoming them into a true home.
Now in the third millennium, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, like St. Francis, have listened and have heard God’s call to take an active part in rebuilding His Church. Apostolates and opportunities continue to come our way, while others have run their course. We live "simply ready" in obedience to God's call, opening our eyes and hearts to the places he may invite us to make his merciful love visible. The Sisters take the charism entrusted to them into their service to others in the various apostolic activities in which we find ourselves – hospital work, care of the elderly, education, day care, religious education, parish work, and social services. In the spirit of Mother M. Anselma, the nearly 1200 sisters in our worldwide congregation continue to seek to know God’s will as we strive to serve His people.
We gather together in praise of God to sanctify the day through praying the Liturgy of Hours in common four times a day. In addition, we spend 30 minutes in silent meditation each morning leading up to the celebration of Mass, the source and summit of our life. The Adoration Chapel at our provincial house allows for frequent visits and assigned hours prayed by the sisters throughout the day. Our devotion to the Sacred Heart is manifest in our Eucharistic love as well as our devotion to the passion of Christ in the daily praying of the Stations of the Cross. Scripture is an important source for our life and we spend time every day reading the Word of God, allowing it to flow into our lives and continually form us. Daily praying of the Rosary keeps us united to the Blessed Mother in contemplation of the mysteries of her life and that of her son.
As part of the Franciscan family, we have a deep devotion to the Incarnation of Christ and meeting him where he comes to meet us in the Crib, on the Cross, and in the Eucharist. A particular expression of our love for Christ Crucified is in the praying of the "Cross Prayer" which unites us to the perfect love and surrender of Jesus Christ Crucified as we pray with our arms extended and meditating on his wounds. We pray it in common once a day and also after praying the Stations of the Cross.
Our devotion to the Sacred Heart is lived in family consecration, personal consecration, monthly observances of First Friday devotions, nightly praying of the Litany of the Sacred Heart, and each sister taking hours of the day and days of the month to be united with the Sacred Heart on behalf of the community, the Church, and the world.
Along with the feasts and seasons of the liturgical year, there are various traditions that are practiced and celebrated not only through special prayers, but also through special forms of recreation. One beautiful time of community is our annual Weihnachtsmarkt. Stemming from our German heritage, this "Christmas Market" is always a festive and joy-filled evening where our postulants and novices host the sisters from surrounding convents for a German meal and the chance to "purchase" crafts and other gifts with our prayers for their formation. Another community favorite is the annual "Epiphany Party" during which we perform skits for each other and share the joy and humor that comes with living as a religious family!