Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sr. Janet Ebben

I was born on August 20, 1918, in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, and I am the fifth of 11 children. My father delivered mail and was a dairy farmer, and my family’s life was filled with hours of riding horses, milking cows, and helping with the farming chores.

As early as the 5th grade, I knew that I wanted to be a Sister. I remember one occasion when two of my classmates and I went into the Church to pray during our noon recess. I knelt before the statue of St. Theresa and felt an urging in my heart to be a Sister. I kept this a secret until I graduated from the 8th grade. That August, I got a job of cleaning the kitchen at St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay, Wisconsin, and lived in the girls’ home at the hospital. Seeing the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis caring for the patients motivated me to think more about my calling to religious life, and I decided that this was the Community I wanted to join.

On February 2, 1937, I left Wisconsin and enrolled in St. Francis High School, Springfield, Illinois, and professed First Vows with the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis on October 4, 1939.

I am a graduate of St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing, Springfield, and throughout my years of service in our sponsored hospitals, I worked in medical and surgical nursing. For 25 years, I served in Loretto Home at our Motherhouse and cared for our Sisters. My ministry to my Sisters was rewarding: from washing clothes to distributing mail and writing letters, assisting at meal time, being present during difficult times, and praying at the time of death, I am grateful for these years with my Sisters.

This year as I celebrate my 97th birthday and 76th year as a Hospital Sister, I give thanks to God for opening my heart to his invitation. I have learned that it is good wisdom to always do the will of God, to be fervent in your prayer, and forgive people. Most of all, try to get up each day with a positive attitude and walk with God with an assurance of His love.