Beauty Series: St. Francis of Assisi Church August 30, 2021 11:30 AM
The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois produces a video series of churches in the diocese and the current feature is St. Francis of Assisi Church. This statement is shared about the series: "The church for this beauty series is a true hidden gem of the diocese. Located at the former Chiara Center and home of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, is the beautiful and majestic St. Francis of Assisi Church."
In memoriam: Sister Celestine Rivera, OSF July 26, 2021 4:57 PM
Sister Celestine Rivera, O.S.F. (92) died on Monday, July 26, 2021, at 10:45 a.m. at HSHS St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, IL.
Sister Celestine, the former Crescentia Rosanna Rivera, was born in Gibson, NM, on February 14, 1929, the daughter of Celso and Crescentia (Gishinbegay) Rivera. She entered the Congregation on January 30, 1951, and professed her religious vows on October 4, 1953.
Sister Celestine graduated from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1957. She earned an Associate Degree from Navajo Community College, Tsaile, AZ, in 1973, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, in 1975.
Sister Celestine served as a nurse and nursing supervisor, specializing in OB and Surgical Nursing, at HSHS hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin; St. Isabel’s Mission in Lukachukai, AZ; Alverna Home Nursing Center in Chicago, IL; Loretto Home at St. Francis Convent, Springfield, IL; and St. John’s TB Sanitarium, Springfield, IL. Sister Celestine was director of the health center and taught Maternity and Pediatrics at the Navajo Community College, Tsaile, AZ. She served as an Assistant Director of the Girls’ Dormitory and later as Receptionist at St. Catherine’s Indian School, Santa Fe, NM. Sister Celestine was also a missionary in San Timato, Venezuela. In 1998, she returned to St. Francis Convent and did various assignments until she retired.
She was preceded in death by her parents and three brothers: Edward, Joseph, and Leonard Rivera, and one sister, Mary Lewis. She is survived by two sisters: Louise Reed and Lillie Bernal of Gallup, NM, several nieces and nephews, as well as her Franciscan Sisters with whom she shared her life for 70 years.
Visitation will be held at St. Francis Convent on July 28, 2021, from 4-7 p.m. with a Wake Service at 6 p.m. The Eucharistic Celebration and Rite of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Father Dennis Koopman, OFM, on July 29, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. in St. Clare of Assisi Adoration Chapel at St. Francis Convent. Burial will be in Crucifixion Hill Cemetery.
Joint Statement from the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis and the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois May 20, 2021 2:31 PM
The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis announced today that they have reached a definitive agreement with the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois in which the diocese will form a new entity that will assume ownership and responsibility in a trust, effective January 2022, for the operations, care, and maintenance of the St. Francis Convent property at 4849 LaVerna Road in Springfield. The Hospital Sister's community will continue to live on the property indefinitely, through a long-term lease agreement with the newly formed entity.
In addition, the diocese will form a new institute for religious life and intellectual and spiritual formation for teachers of the Catholic faith, parish teams, priests, and lay faithful within and beyond the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Formation services will be offered through a combination of the institute’s own staff and partnerships with leading Catholic educational and religious institutes from around the country.
“This historic moment for the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis follows years of careful discernment, planning, and evaluation of many possible approaches to secure a long-term future for this property,” said Sister Maureen O’Connor, OSF, provincial superior of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. “This agreement with the Diocese of Springfield allows us to continue to live on the grounds that have been our home for the past century, while transferring responsibility for its care to an institute that can make productive use of the buildings and grounds for the good of the Church and building up the Catholic faith for generations to come.”
The St. Francis Convent property includes the former Chiara Center, several residential buildings, office space, as well as sacred, consecrated worship spaces. The main residential buildings serve as the Provincial Motherhouse for the Hospital Sisters, while other residential buildings house members of other religious communities. The former Chiara Center is a retreat and conference facility, built around St. Francis of Assisi Church. The agreement is subject to ecclesiastical approval.
The long-term lease agreement will cover essential facilities costs, while the operations of the institute will be funded through a combination of existing educational endowment funds, benefactor support, and income from services provided.
“The healing presence of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis has been a great blessing to the people of this diocese and the many other communities where the sisters have served over the years,” said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. “The formation of this institute allows us to celebrate and honor the sisters’ legacy of service while securing a long-term future for the facilities of St. Francis Convent in service of the Church.”
Additional information about the newly formed institute will be forthcoming as the institute and its partnerships are established.