Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
The American Province was founded in 1875. At the invitation of Bishop Peter Baltes of Alton, Illinois, our Sisters came to America to provide nursing care to the sick and poor. On November 4, 1875, 20 Sisters from Germany arrived in Alton. Bishop Baltes missioned the Sisters in small groups to Alton, Belleville, East St. Louis, Efffingham, Litchfield, and Springfield. They began to care for the sick in their homes, and within a few years, they were building hospitals. Today, Hospital Sisters Health System is comprised of 11 of the original hospitals founded in Illinois and Wisconsin before 1900, plus two hospitals whose sponsorship has been transferred from other religious communities.
In 1886, our Sisters established the first Catholic School of Nursing in the United States - now known as St. John’s College of Nursing (Springfield, IL). The Sisters were also the first to publish a nursing text book, “The Nursing Sister,” which was adopted by other nursing communities in the United States. The missionary spirit of our first Sisters extended beyond Springfield to include caring for the sick in Louisiana, Arizona, New Mexico, and Missouri. Sisters also took their healthcare services overseas to China, Japan (now a Province) Taiwan, Haiti and Tanzania.
Our Sisters were, in many ways, healthcare pioneers. The first laboratory was organized in 1898, and by 1915, the schools of x-ray and laboratory were established. The Sisters also instituted schools for anesthesiology, histology, EEG, blood bank, and other allied healthcare fields.
In 2002 Sisters began "Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach" as a way to collect and redistribute surplus hospital equipment and supplies to countries in need. In 2007, our Sisters dedicated Chiara Center - a Retreat and Conference Center - on our Motherhouse property. Our goal is to share our property with others in a Franciscan spirit while together discovering God’s healing presence and peace in our lives.
You will find more information on the website of the American Province.
Sister Maureen O'Connor, OSF
Saint Francis Convent
P.O. Box 19431
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9431 U.S.A.