Franciscan Footprints

Annual Retreat 2014

Every year each of our Sisters attend a 7-day silent retreat. We have retreat two times a year, because we can’t all go at the same time, in February and August. I was on the February retreat this year and it was wonderful.  We had Father Denis Gill as our retreat master.  The snow, yes snow again, gave him some trouble travelling here.  (He was delayed, then missed a flight and ended up meeting one of our doctors and his wife at the Airport and driving down from Chicago with them.)  So he wasn’t able to give the first conference.  The conferences that he was able to give were so good.

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Day of Consecrated Life 2014

The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, when our Lord Jesus Christ was presented in the temple by Mary and Joseph as an infant, is also annually celebrated as the Day of Consecrated Life.  So, why this day?

This year Bishop Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria invited all those in the consecrated life to come to the cathedral for Mass on Feast of the Presentation, February 2.  It was a beautiful Mass.  (Sorry, I was being a little selfish.  I didn’t bother taking pictures.)  But, and here is what I was getting at, the bishop had a great homily which explained why we celebrate the Day of Consecrated Life on that day.  And they did take a video of the homily, so you can listen to it yourself.  He starts by talking about love, then the presentation in the temple and then the consecrated life.  Special thanks to Julie, one of the consecrated virgins in the diocese, for taking the video.

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Ministry Development Program 2014

In our primary apostolate, healthcare, which we do through our healthcare system, OSF HealthCare, we have a special program for those in leadership roles to help them to better understand and live our mission.  We call it the Ministry Development Program.  Sister Judith Ann has been leading this for about twenty years now.  The leaders who participate, (executives, managers, doctors, etc.) go through an initial training which is three 2-3 day sessions.  Then each year they come back for their ongoing session.  Each year these ongoing sessions focus on some different aspect of our mission or values that we want to develop and enliven.  Each of our Sisters, at least those who are physically able, attend these sessions too.

I went through my session this January.  They are kind of run like an overnight retreat.  This year’s session is on one of our OSF Values, integrity.  Besides the sessions themselves, it is great to see familiar faces from around our ministry and to meet new members of our OSF family.  It helps that it is a more relaxed setting than at meetings.  People can talk about what is really important to them.  It really warms the heart to hear some of the stories about how our people are helping our patients and each other.


snow at the motherhouseHere in the Diocese of Peoria we have recently started a religious vocation group.  We’ve named it PEARL, Peoria Association for Religious Life.  (The name is supposed to remind us of the parable from the Gospels of the merchant who finds a pearl of great price and sells all he has to buy it.)  In January for Catholic Schools week we religious in the diocese tried to get out to as many of the grade schools as we could to talk about vocations.  The week was kind of rough because of the weather.  (We have had nothing but SNOW, SNOW, SNOW!)  The kids missed two days because of the snow, so some of our talks were cancelled too.

I visited four Catholic Schools that week:  Immaculate Conception in Monmouth, Costa Catholic in Galesburg, Visitation Catholic in Kewanee, and St. Malachi in Geneseo.  The kids were good, and the little ones were so cute.  I got to speak with pre-K through 8th grade.  Hopefully it will get them thinking and praying about their own vocation.

You can show your support by liking and sharing our page on Facebook, or visiting the PEARL website.


FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, has its Student Leadership Summit about every second year, alternating with its Conferences.  Every years seems to get better,… and bigger.  Sister Teresa Paul, our novice, and I went down for this year’s Summit in Dallas.  It was great having Sister Teresa Paul with me there, since she is from there and knew her way around.

The students and missionaries who attended filled me with a lot of hope for the Church.  It was wonderful to see so many young people taking their faith seriously and striving follow God’s will in their life.  A good number of them were discerning a religious vocation too.  I’d like to say that the talks were great. I’m sure they were, but I didn’t get to hear most of them, because we were pretty busy... which is good!  We made the most of our time there and visited some people whom I have been in contact with and who live in the area.  I did hear the homilies at the Masses though, and they were great!  There are always a number of bishops who come for these FOCUS events.  It makes the Masses extra special.

If you are a college student and aren’t already involved in FOCUS, look into it.  Next January they’ll be having their national conference, and you don’t want to miss that.