Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
In 2019, God willing, I will celebrate two milestones: my 100th birthday and my 80th Jubilee and I reflect on everything that has brought me to this point.
I was born on March 20, 1919, the 9th of 14 children. We lived and worked on a farm in Hansen, Wisconsin and worked on a farm. Growing up, our dining table was just long enough to accommodate the entire family. But this table represented more than a place to share a meal. It was also the place from which we increased our faith in God. Religious life was something special to us because five of us were Sisters…three with the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis including me, Sister Elreda, and Sister Elaine along with Notre Dame Sisters Nerine and Petranda.
My mother wanted us to have a Catholic education but there was no Catholic school in our town. My parents saved money to send each child, always in pairs, for the 7th and 8th grade in a Catholic school 20 miles away. In order to help pay for this schooling, we picked beans in our farm and because I really wanted to attend a Catholic school, I picked a lot of beans.
After finishing 8th grade in May, I found a job caring for a family’s three-year-old son but I also made a trip to Springfield, IL with my father to visit my sister, Sister Elaine, who had made her first profession with the Hospital Sisters. I remember meeting Mother Magdalene who talked with me about their Aspirant’s School at the Motherhouse. In August 1935, I began my Catholic high school education in Springfield. After a few years in Formation, I professed first vows in 1939.
I was a poor specimen for a nurse because every time I saw blood I fainted. However, I continued my studies in nursing and came to enjoy surgery. I graduated from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing, Springfield, IL and received post graduate education in surgery from St. John’s Hospital, Springfield. I earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from DePaul University, Chicago. My assignments included: St. Joseph’s (Chippewa Falls, WI), St. John’s (Springfield, IL), St. Elizabeth’s (Belleville, IL), St. Vincent (Green Bay, WI), St. Mary’s (Streator, IL), and St. Nicholas (Sheboygan, WI).
One of the highlights of my religious life was traveling to Japan to see Sister Elreda, who had transferred from the American Province to the Japan Province. During one visit, I taught English to the Japanese Sisters during a seven-month assignment. I taught them two hours a day through conversation and pictures.
Throughout my life, I have trusted the inner voice that inspired me in my desire for a Catholic education, the strength to leave home, and the courage to understand the challenges in religious life and work as a nurse. I believe in the power of prayer and am grateful for the knowledge in knowing that the voice of God was speaking to me and continues to do so each day.