Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
“God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior.”
The above quote from Isaiah is very true in the everyday life of Sister Joseph. As a result of the Communism in China, the young novice, Joseph, had to leave the Novitiate along with her classmates instantly. Later, Sister Joseph wrote: “on February 24, 1947, we took our little belongings and ran to the station to catch the last train to Tsinanfu, St. Joseph’s Hospital. Our next journey was to the States on the boat for three weeks.” Sister Joseph left China on April 29, 1948 and returned to China for a home visit in May 1980. Sister wrote: “My folks and whole town was lined up, young and old, marched almost half a mile long to meet me. The room was full of people, and we talked all day long. They looked at me as if I came from another world.” Yes, indeed Sister Joseph came from another world, a world from where God was her savior, and she was confident and unafraid because God was her strength and courage.
What kept Sister Joseph going forward was her trust in God. In spite of her health issues, Sister Joseph made her first profession, graduated as a nurse and became a respiratory therapist. Sister Joseph carried out her responsibilities in a very loving, responsible and gentle way. After retiring from active ministry, Sister Joseph spent many hours before the Blessed Sacrament. Sister Joseph went to meet her Savior on June 4, 2019 at 10:25 p.m. Sister Carol Sue Daniel and nursing staff witnessed her final journey.
Sister Joseph took pride and joy in being “an identical twin” with Sister Maureen O’Connor even though they were not born in the same country and in the same year! Sister Joseph, the former Wu Sue Cheng, was born in Hopei, China on December 12, 1920, the daughter of Joseph and Franziska (Chang Shih) Wu. She entered the Congregation on October 8, 1945 and professed her religious vows on October 4, 1948.
Sister Joseph was a graduate of St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1963. She received a degree in Inhalation Therapy from HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, in 1974. She served as a nurse and respiratory therapy technician at HSHS hospitals in Illinois from 1963 until 1978. From 1978 through 1989, she continued working in the Maternity Department and Surgical Waiting Area of HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur, Illinois. After her retirement from active duty in 1989, Sister served as a volunteer at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, until 2013. In 2013, she returned to the Motherhouse in Springfield, Illinois, where she volunteered in various capacities until her health no longer permitted her to do so.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by one brother, Peter Wu. She is survived by three nieces and a nephew, all from the People’s Republic of China, as well as her Franciscan Sisters with whom she shared her life for nearly 74 years.
May Sister Joseph see Jesus face to face whom she adored daily during her Holy Hours. May she also intercede for us.