December 2007: SISTER LEONARDINE SCONZERT
Trust in God. For some people, this can be difficult. However, for others, trusting in God brings peace of mind amid life’s tribulations.
Growing up in Wisconsin
A native of Luxemburg, Wisconsin, Sister Leonardine Sconzert is a firm believer in this sentiment that she has practiced throughout her 59 years as a Hospital Sister of St. Francis. “Learning to trust in God has been rewarding for me,” Sister Leonardine said. “In my prayer life, I have found that it is more important to be quiet and listen to God, have faith, and be open to His plan.”
Born April 9, 1930, Sister Leonardine is the eighth child of 11 of Peter and Caroline (Fennadeal) Sconzert. Her father was a farmer and he and his wife recognized the importance of faith in his family’s life. “We didn’t have money but we had a strong faith. We went to mass, prayed, and had a good relationship with God,” Sister Leonardine recalled.
Calling to Religious Life
“The thought of being a teacher never interested me but I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a Sister,” Sister Leonardine said.
“During my first year of high school at St. Joseph’s Academy (Green Bay, WI), I began working at St. Vincent Hospital after school and came to know the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. I lived in the girl’s home at the hospital and through my prayer life was reassured that this was what God wanted for me. I truly felt that my future was with them and, after much prayer, I decided to enter the convent in Springfield,” she said. So here she was: age 15 and following her dream of being a Sister….all while trusting in God.
She finished her high school education while in the Novitiate and later graduated from St. John’s School of Nursing. In 1968, she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marillac College.
Life of service
As a Franciscan Sister, Sister Leonardine has served as a nurse at the Sisters’ sponsored hospitals in Sheboygan, Effingham, Eau Claire, and Streator along with Alverna Home Nursing Center, Chicago. “Caring for the patients was always rewarding for me. When I did home nursing I realized even more how much more we could do for a patient at their home. Many bonds were formed through these relationships.”
In her current ministry at St. Francis Convent, Sister Leonardine continues the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in a beautiful way. Like Jesus who washed His disciple’s feet, she cares for the feet of her Franciscan Sisters who have devoted their lives to the service of the poor, sick, and needy. Her tender care is a beautiful example of servant leadership in our Franciscan tradition.
Words of wisdom
“Trust in the Lord – it’s really that simple. Have faith in God because he’s always there with you. Letting go and giving things over to God can be so rewarding. Trust me,” she concluded.