Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
“For I am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have completed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”
(2 Timothy 4:6-7)
Sister Viola Swoboda was called to her eternal reward on October 10, 2019 in Springfield.
Sister Viola was born in Tilden, Wisconsin on November 7, 1927, the daughter of John and Mary Rubenzer Swoboda, She entered the Congregation on September 8, 1945 and professed her religious vows on June 13, 1948.
She was a graduate of St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1955 and she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Arizona State University in 1971. She obtained additional education in nurse midwifery and did post graduate studies in Obstetrics. Sister Viola served as a practical nurse at St. Joseph’s Home for the Infirm and Aged in Monroe, Louisiana from 1951 until 1953. After completing her additional education, Sister was assigned as the Maternity Supervisor at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, Illinois from 1956 until 1964. From there, she served at St. Isabel’s Mission in Lukachukai, Arizona, as a nurse in the OB Clinic until 1971. She then served in Fort Defiance for the U.S. Public Health Service as a nurse midwife until 1975. She then relocated to Chinle where she became head nurse for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1993 she returned to Springfield, Illinois, to serve as a volunteer in the ICU Department at HSHS St. John’s Hospital for many years. She joined the Loretto Home Community of Sisters at St. Francis Convent in 2016.
Sister Viola never met a stranger. Her jovial personality enabled Sister to be friendly with everyone, regardless of their age, gender, religion, or nationality. Sister Viola absorbed new information and knowledge like a sponge. Sister found plenty of time to read and shared her knowledge with others. Sister Viola had a special love of nature, particularly plants and birds. One could not count the number of plants she raised in her room! When Loretto Home had an aviary, Sister Viola spent time watching and singing to the birds. Every Sunday afternoon, she joined a group of Sisters to play cards. Winning was not her primary purpose, but enjoying the company of the Sisters.
Soon after her State boards to become an RN, Sister Viola commented, “I don’t want to work in OB – I’ll be happy anywhere else.” Soon after becoming an RN, she was assigned to work in OB, which led to a majority of her career working in OB. Her role as an OB nurse, and later as a nurse midwife, brought out the best in Sister Viola; these were joy-filled and committed years for her. In 1984, Sister Viola joined the Chinle Unified School District, where she worked as a Certified High School District school nurse for the State of Arizona for nine years. The District was comprised of six schools with more than 4,000 students and during her first year at the high school, she met four students whom she had delivered at the Mission clinic. This experience at the high school introduced her to teenagers and their enthusiasm for life and age-specific problems.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by five brother and by seven sisters. She is survived by two sisters-in-law, numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews, and her Franciscan Sisters with whom she shared her life for over 74 years. We offer Sister Viola’s family and friends our sincere condolences and prayerful support of the Christian community.
As expressed in the opening scripture, Sister Viola completed well, finished the race, and kept the faith here on earth. May her new life in Heaven be joy-filled and committed to God and our Lord Jesus Christ.