Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister Rose Duchesne Noelke, OSF

I was born on April 22, 1920, and grew up in Washington, Missouri, in a family of seven boys and two girls. I was the sixth child, and I had hopes of being a wife and mother.

Six years later, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis brought their healthcare ministry to Washington, Missouri, in founding St. Francis Hospital. I was successful in remaining healthy and thus avoiding the hospital and also the Sisters because I had no interest in being a Sister. Meanwhile, one of my friends felt a calling to religious life, and she decided to enter the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis during our senior year in high school and was then known as Sister Marie Neier. As she prayed that I would also enter the Convent, I prayed that God would not want me.

After high school, I worked as an accountant in the shoe factory, and when my mother died, I quit my job and cared for the home and family. I dated a man for eight years (even after he moved to Maine), after which time he proposed marriage. Something about the marriage to him and a life together didn’t seem right, and I didn’t know why. I listened to my heart and cancelled the wedding just four weeks before it was scheduled.

Then things started to become clearer. I was reading a magazine and found a story about a girl with a similar journey who realized that God was calling her to religious life. After much discernment, I felt assured that the Lord was guiding me, and I entered the Community on September 23, 1949. I professed First Vows on June 13, 1952.

I graduated from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marquette University. Over the years, I have served as the Novitiate Office secretary, along with responsibilities in nursing and pastoral care at St. Mary’s Hospital (Decatur, Illinois) and St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center (Green Bay, Wisconsin). In addition, I served at House of Prayer (Henry, Illinois) in providing hospitality and prayer at this Retreat house.

God has a plan for each of us. We need to be open to what that will be.