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A Joint Statement from LCWR & NBSC on the Voting Rights Act
May 6, 2021 4:07 PM

 Today LCWR and the National Black Sisters Conference released to the media a joint statement calling for the passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Issuing this statement is part of an effort of more than 180 coalition partners to raise awareness and create energy around protecting the right to vote. We are releasing the statement in anticipation of May 8 which has been declared National John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Action Day. More information about the day can be found here.


A Joint Statement of NBSC and LCWR
April 23, 2021 1:26 PM

 The following is a joint statement issued by The National Black Sisters’ Conference (NBSC) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in response to the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

We, the National Black Sisters’ Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, stand together in our commitment to the sacred dignity of each human person as emphasized in Catholic Social Teaching.

In the aftermath of the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, we recommit to working for real and sustained systemic change in the struggle to end institutional racism in every aspect of our society.

Sadly, we know that the trend of fatal police shootings has only escalated in this country over the last four years.  The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is much higher than that of any other ethnic group.  Starting with the savage beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991 up to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the trend of abuse at the hands of law enforcement has alarmingly increased. 

In 2020 there were 1,021 fatal police shootings, and in the first three months of this year 213 people have been shot by the police; 30 of whom were African Americans. Police brutality is only one of the many manifestations of systemic racism; but it is one that too often ends in the death of too many young African Americans.

We believe that we are at a crucial moment in race relations in this country.  We must acknowledge and work to eradicate the sin of White Privilege that seeks to affirm the false superiority of Anglo-Saxon culture and way of life. 

We must as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. admonished us “learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish together as fools.”  Therefore, we call upon all people of good will and especially people of faith to join us in working for real and sustainable solutions to the racial divide in our country.

We will not rest and our work will not be done until the belief that all people are created equal and entitled to the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is a lived reality for every American citizen.


LCWR Calls on President Biden to Resettle 62,500 Refugees
April 20, 2021 2:30 PM

 The Leadership Conference of Women Religious calls on President Biden to keep his promise to increase the 2021 Presidential Determination to better address the current need. We are facing a global refugee crisis. At least 79 million people have been forced to flee their homes; 29 million are refugees; most are children. The United States has a moral obligation to respond to the unprecedented need.

 While we are encouraged by the administration’s restoration of regional allocations that end President Trump’s restrictive resettlement categories, failure to raise the current admissions goal leaves thousands of vulnerable refugees, including women and children, in danger. We urge the president to meet his commitment to raise the presidential determination for fiscal 2021 by his May 15 deadline.

 The United States has a long history of welcoming refugees. We have the resources, the ability and the moral obligation to resettle 62,500 refugees as President Biden promised. Women religious have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve refugee communities across this country for a very long time. Catholic sisters remain committed to welcoming refugees seeking safety for themselves and their families.


In memoriam: Sister Owen Marie McArdle, OSF
April 8, 2021 1:22 PM


Sister Owen Marie McArdle, O.S.F. (86) died on Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. at St. Francis Convent, Springfield, Illinois.

Sister Owen Marie, the former Barbara Maureen McArdle, was born in Cleveland, OH, on April 19, 1934, the daughter of Francis and Barbara Reulbach McArdle. She entered the Congregation on September 8, 1953, and professed her religious vows on June 13, 1956.

Sister Owen Marie earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University in 1975 and completed her Clinical Pastoral Education in 1993.

Sister Owen Marie ministered in the Dietary Department at St. Francis Convent, Springfield, IL, at HSHS St. Francis Hospital, Litchfield, IL, at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, Highland, IL, at Our Lady of the Ozarks, Carthage, MO, and at St. Clara’s Hospital, Lincoln, IL.  Sister served as a nurse’s aide and a registered nurse at hospitals in Illinois and Missouri.  She later cared for the Sisters in Loretto Home, served in Home Health at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, Highland, IL, and at Alverna Home Nursing in Chicago, IL.  After completing her Clinical Pastoral Education, Sister ministered as a Hospital Chaplain at HSHS St. John’s Hospital. She volunteered at a local nursing home and at St. James Parish, Riverton, IL.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Neil and Owen McArdle.

She is survived by her Franciscan Sisters with whom she shared her life for over 67 years.

Private services will be held on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

To read her feature story from 2011, please click here.

Staab Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


LCWR Statement
March 23, 2021 1:08 PM

A Statement on Racism and Misogyny

LCWR stands in solidarity with all those who experience violence, discrimination and disregard for the gift of life and reverence for human dignity. In particular, LCWR mourns the lives lost in the attacks in Atlanta last week. An LCWR statement on the violence committed against our Asian sisters and brothers can be found here.


In memoriam: Sister Joan Winkler, OSF
February 15, 2021 8:49 AM


Sister Joan Winkler, O.S.F. (86) died on February 14, 2021, at 11:59 a.m. at St. Francis Convent, Springfield, IL.

Sister Joan was born in Breese, IL, on September 25, 1934, the daughter of Raymond and Anna Margaret (Cope) Winkler. She entered the Congregation on February 2, 1951, and professed her religious vows on October 4, 1953.

Sister Joan received a bachelor of science degree in dietetics from Fontbonne College, St. Louis, MO, in 1957, a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, in 1976, and a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, in 1988.

Sister Joan began her career as a dietitian at HSHS hospitals in Illinois. She also served as Assistant Novice Directress at St. Francis Convent and was the Director of the Dietary Department, Assistant Administrator, and Administrator at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire, WI, from 1966–76. Sister Joan served as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Catholic Hospital Association, Madison, WI, from 1976-1986. While she was a student at Loyola University, she ministered at Alverna Home Nursing Center in Chicago, IL. In 1989, she returned to Springfield and served as the Program Director of the Franciscan Apostolic Center until 1992. From 1993–95, Sister Joan served as the Manager of the Manressa House, Florissant, MO. In 1995, Sister Joan was elected as a Provincial Councilor and was elected as the Provincial Superior in 1999; she served in this role until 2007. Sister Joan was a volunteer at HSHS St. John’s Hospital from 2008–14.

She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, John and David Winkler, and two sisters, Mary M. Shepard and Sister Fran Winkler, O.S.F.

She is survived by a sister, Ruth Schmitt, Sherman, IL; a sister-in-law, Elizabeth Winkler, Great Britain, several nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews as well as her Franciscan Sisters with whom she shared her life for 70 years.

Private services will be held on February 18, 2021. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date.

To read her feature story from 2009, please click here.

Staab Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Important Announcement regarding Chiara Center
February 2, 2021 12:09 PM

As we continue to live with the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that almost every aspect of our lives has been impacted. It has changed our ability to socialize with family and friends, the celebration of significant events in the lives of family members, the way we access medical care, and possibly our work schedules among many others.

The Chiara Center has been significantly impacted as well. It has been closed since March 2020. In May we decided to suspend all activities at the Chiara Center until the end of August when we made the decision to suspend all activities indefinitely. These decisions were made to comply with the guidelines instituted by the State of Illinois and to protect our Sisters, employees, and guests.

As we anticipate the future use of the Chiara Center in the post-COVID time, we do not expect the activity to return to pre-COVID levels. With decreased usage, the ability to provide quality programs and accommodations will be significantly reduced. Based on all of these facts, the Provincial Council and I have made the difficult decision to close the Chiara Center permanently effective March 31, 2021. Today and in the coming days, we will be communicating this news to various audiences who are part of the Chiara Center family.

Many individuals will be impacted by this decision so I ask that you keep all of them in your prayers at this time.

In Francis and Clare,

Sister Maureen O'Connor, OSF
Provincial Superior


LCWR Statement
January 7, 2021 2:53 PM

As members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), we stand with the other more than 1,300 leaders of Catholic Sisters nationwide as we make this statement:

The LCWR joins with the world in praying for peace after witnessing the violence and lawlessness yesterday in our nation’s capital. We are deeply concerned about the state of our country and the future of our democracy. Our hearts ached as we watched these despicable actions that threaten not only to destroy the seat of our government but to rend the bonds that unite us. We commend and thank the members of Congress who courageously continued their service to the nation last night even amid the chaos.

In our increasingly divided nation, we renew our commitment to the common good and pledge to take up the challenge to use our energy to repair our democracy and contribute to the work of building a more perfect union. We invite all people of good will to join us and we call on our elected leaders to point the way.


A New Year and snow
January 4, 2021 1:30 PM


Notice
March 13, 2020 10:27 AM

Out of an abundance of caution concerning the Corona virus (COVID-19), the St. Francis Convent property will be closed to visitors beginning March 16.

Please join with us in prayer for our nation and world. Submit a prayer request here.



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Posted: April 23, 2021 1:26 PM A Joint Statement of NBSC and LCWR
Posted: April 8, 2021 1:22 PM In memoriam: Sister Owen Marie McArdle, OSF
Posted: March 23, 2021 1:08 PM LCWR Statement
Posted: February 15, 2021 8:49 AM In memoriam: Sister Joan Winkler, OSF
Posted: February 2, 2021 12:09 PM Important Announcement regarding Chiara Center
Posted: January 7, 2021 2:53 PM LCWR Statement
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