Franciscan Footprints

Sisters in PrayerOn July 16th, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis celebrated their 139th anniversary of the founding of their community!  The Sisters & OSF employees started the annual remembrance with a laying of flowers and prayerful reading at the grave site of Foundress Mother M. Francis Krasse, at old St Joseph's cemetery in West Peoria.

Fr Baak HeadstoneTheir journey began in 1875 when a small group of religious sisters left Germany to escape religious persecution.  Originally settling in Iowa City, Iowa, a few of the members journeyed to Peoria where they met Father Bernard Baak, the pastor of what was then Saint Joseph’s Church, who invited the Sisters to return to Peoria to meet the healthcare needs of the growing community.  With permission from their superior back in Iowa City, six pioneering Sisters began operating a small hospital in Peoria.

 The history of the Sisters and their healthcare apostolate can be found on the OSF Healthcare website at:

On July 16, 1877, Peoria’s first bishop, Bishop John Lancaster Spalding, and the newly elected Mother General, Mother M. Frances Krasse, O.S.F., founded The Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis.  (Coincidentally, July 16, 1228 is the day Saint Francis was canonized, just two years after his death.)

NeuroDeptEven the weather couldn't have been more perfect – especially considering it was mid-July.  The 3500 floor, acute neuroscience department at Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, hosted the service, with readings from the beginnings of the Sisters work in healthcare.  Later in the morning, there was a rosary in the main hospital chapel and then Mass.









FoundersDay MassOn Saturday, the Sisters gathered at the Motherhouse for a special Mass to commemorate the founding.  That's me in the photo, reading the prayers of the faithful.  We enjoyed a festive noon meal (with roast beef. Yum!) The afternoon included a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of St Mary of the Immaculate Conception for each of the Sisters to walk through the Year of Mercy Jubilee Door.  (More on those Jubilee Doors in a later article!)

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