Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister Ann Mathieu, OSF

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois and learned about the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis from my best friend’s older sister who was a student in the Aspirant School at the Motherhouse. My friend and I visited a few times and I was touched by the experience. After I completed high school, I decided to enter the Community on August 22, 1957 and I professed first vows on September 8, 1960.

While it was my hope to be a nurse, my first career was in dietetics. I graduated from Fontbonne College in St. Louis, Missouri in 1964 and served four years at St. Mary’s Hospital in Streator, Illinois. Soon after, I was back to school and earned a nursing degree from Marillac College in St. Louis, Missouri. I served as a nurse at St. John’s Hospital and at St. Monica’s Home, a home for pregnant teenagers, both located in Springfield, Illinois.

From 1975-1982, I was the Administrator of the Franciscan Apostolic Center that was located at the Motherhouse. In 1982, I was elected to the Provincial Council and served in that role for three years. For the next four years, I used my nursing education while working with chemically-addicted individuals at the L.E. Phillips Center in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

From 1989-1995, I served as the local coordinator of St. Francis Convent and at the end of this time I embarked on a very meaningful chapter of my life. I was blessed to practice as a massage therapist from 1998-2006. I studied at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy and I also developed an interest in Reiki and energy work and pursued additional education. As a certified massage therapist and healing touch practitioner, I found this to be a call within a call, which is how Saint Theresa of Calcutta described her own vocation. The gift of being present to those I served was powerful as they found relaxation, stress reduction, pain relief, personal growth and healing.

The recent years were filled with leadership responsibilities in Loretto Home, as the Provincial Secretary, and as a volunteer at Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach.

Several years ago I found my diary, and on one of the pages from 1957 I wrote, “After visiting the Motherhouse these past days, I would love to stay there forever.” I am grateful to have made that visit 64 years ago.