August 2008: SISTER MAUREEN FAGAN
A healing presence
The story begins on Christmas
Meeting the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis
During high school, she worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital (Milwaukee) and came to know the sponsoring Franciscan Sisters. “I remember a meeting that all students attended, and I picked up a Hospital Sisters’ brochure that included a postcard that I sent in and I received a response that they were coming to Milwaukee to visit,” she added. She was then invited, along with other women from the area, to visit St. Francis Convent. “We visited for a week and lived with the Sisters.” She received a letter of acceptance from the Sisters but, ironically, it belonged to one of the other women who had visited. “So we traded letters and were all set,” she said with a smile.
Continuing the work of being a healing presence
Currently, Sister Maureen’s ministry in Chicago is with women and children. She is teaching women to read, teaching the 12 Step Program, and working at a homeless center. “People need to talk about their problems and be listened to,” she said. “It is a most rewarding experience in caring for moms and babies and watching some of these women get clean and sober – ultimately taking charge of their family.” “Most are scared, and I try to help them become comfortable with themselves and their children,” she said. Her advice is that “life is not always easy.” She has found success in “mixing the gospel with the newspaper – it is possible to be in the real world and also have a deep spirituality.” She has learned "not to cut communication with God during tough times.” Most of all, it is important to always “do what you love and develop your own sense of spirituality.”
Earlier this year, she visited India as part of the Congregation’s International Spiritual Renewal and Cultural Exchange Program. “I had met some of our Indian Sisters at our community meetings and began to understand their culture,” she said. “What was fascinating was the people on the street and the children…ordinary life was very interesting to see.”
Background and service
She made her First Profession on August 22, 1967, and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marillac College. She was certified as a Neonatal Nurse Clinician, and has completed studies in Chicago from the Institute for Religious Formation (Catholic Theological Union) and the Institute for Spiritual Leadership. Her assignments have included nursing responsibilities at St. Mary’s (Decatur), St. Nicholas (Sheboygan), St. John’s (Springfield), St. Francis Medical Center (Peoria), and Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Center (St. Louis). In addition, she has served at St. Francis Convent as the Pre-Novitiate Minister.