Franciscan Footprints

Saint Anthony Health Center in Alton

A good bit of news came out on St. Patrick's Day.

Saint Anthony Health System in Alton and our OSF Healthcare System have signed a letter of intent for Saint Anthony Health System to affiliate with OSF.  I guess the best way to describe a letter of intent would be that it is the beginning of a process of formal investigation and discussion, called "due diligence".  After this is completed, if everything goes as we hope, we will sign a definitive agreement, get the appropriate approvals from the State and the Vatican, and then Saint Anthony Health System will become part of the family.


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.

Read more: Annual Retreat 2014

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.


“But all religious communities were (I think I may have missed a word here) intentionally established as schools of love, where Christ, the Spouse of the soul, might be served and embraced.” A quote or near quote from Bishop Jenky’s homily, February 2, 2014.

Pope Francis also spoke about consecrated life that day after the Angelus.  He mentioned during his speech that 2015 will be dedicated in a special way to consecrated life.

“This belonging to the Lord permits those who live it in an authentic way to offer a special witness of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”

One thing that neither of these two talks do is spell out exactly who is considered to be living the consecrated life.  We are all consecrated in Baptism, but, when they talk about consecrated life, they are referring to something more than that.  So here is the definition from Canon law, “Consecrated persons are lay persons or clerics who assume the evangelical counsels (chastity, poverty and obedience) by means of a sacred bond, and become members of an institute of consecrated life (can. 573.2).” The Different Vocations page on our website goes into more detail about which groups fall under the title consecrated life. 


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.