SEPTEMBER 2005: SISTER MARCIANA LYNCH (entered eternal life on November 12, 2018)
Those who know the Hospital Sisters would concur: the Sisters live the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi by humbly serving one another and all of God’s people.
“Sister Marciana Lynch, OSF has always told me that service is what we are all about,” said Kathey Reed, (pictured above) a 24-year coworker. “She is one of the most generous people I know who has worked hard to meet the Sisters’ needs as well as Hospital Sisters Health System,” Kathey said. Over the years, she has witnessed Sister’s compassion in getting baby formula for a young woman struggling financially and also counseling the young family of a dying woman. “She is very family oriented to those in her religious community, her biological family, and others--always reaching out to meet their needs,” Kathey added.
Experiencing joy in life
Sister Marciana’s service has been filled with a variety of experiences. Fondly recalling her years as a maternity nurse she said that “in OB you find people in the most beautiful time of their life and it’s uplifting. “I always felt so lucky to be working there and suspect there are a few little Marciana’s running around today. It’s great to meet people in my current work who are somehow related to my OB days,” she said. In fact, Rob Lavin (an HSHS coworker pictured above), was born at St. John’s Hospital with Sister Marciana in the delivery room.
Her resourcefulness was evident at an early age. “During the war, metal was in demand and there weren’t enough baby cribs so we used dresser drawers and cardboard boxes,” she recalled. “Without any air conditioning we used blocks of ice with a fan blowing on it to keep the babies comfortable,” she added.
But times weren’t always joyful. “I was finishing a C-section in Decatur when we heard that there had been a fire at our hospital in Effingham. I was sent to assist in recovering bodies and then managed the morgue,” she recalled. Later she also was sent to Centralia following a mine explosion and helped the survivors in shock over the tragedy.
Decision to consider religious life
She believes her ruptured appendix affected her life but not for the obvious reason. “When I was hospitalized for appendicitis, I saw an ad in a magazine for the Hospital Sisters. I put it on the bulletin board behind my hospital bed to keep Sister Virginia from asking about my future,” she said with a chuckle in her voice. Sister Virginia, a Franciscan nurse at the Chicago hospital, sensed a vocation in her young patient and was a persistent recruiter. The ad on the bulletin board worked in keeping Sister Virginia quiet but the seed had been planted.
“I always wanted to be a nurse and the advertisement was something to consider…the Congregation seemed to be a good fit for me,” Sister Marciana said. She came to the Motherhouse as a junior in high school and finished school here. She entered the Congregation in 1939 and professed Final Vows in 1946.
Nursing and so much more
This Irish Sister was born in Chicago and after entering the Order, graduated from St. John’s School of Nursing and later earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in nursing administration from Indiana University. When her responsibilities moved from direct patient care, her service evolved into administration and then HSHS Director of Materials Management. It was through her guidance that the HSHS Purchasing Initiatives were formed and the Inventory and Purchasing System was installed.
“I met Sister Maricana about 22 years ago as my company began the process of trying to sell linen products to HSHS,” explained Pam Reynolds. “I quickly learned some things: she was firm on quality and cost per use. She knew her customer was the patient and her hospital patient would be as comfortable as possible within the confines of the hospital budget. She knew a bargain was not a bargain if it had to be replaced quickly. When you sold Sister, you talked value of money, value of comfort, and value of processing the product,” Pam said. She was also one of the fairest customers I ever sold and I always wanted to be like Sister Maricana when I grew up,” she added.
Kendall Richards, a business associate, knows that his family business’ working relationship with Sister Marciana has been of great personal and professional benefit. “Sister Marciana is a smart businesswoman who always demonstrated treating everyone with respect and that everyone is equal,” Kendall said. “She has been a pioneer in her ability to create team and consciousness building as we accomplished the Sisters’ goal of working together in the care of people.”
Sister Marciana reflected on her work in Material Management: "Through the years, I worked with our hospitals in purchasing new furnishings and equipment also found ways to trade their used equipment and furniture within the System,” she explained.
This type of bartering is truly a gift. Friends describe her as a party planner, decorator, and organizer who loves to help people. She echoes her gifts recalling when she once made a few phone calls to get disposable items for a mother of triplets and twins to lighten the work in caring for her babies.
Like St. Francis, Sister Marciana serves those she meets and without realizing it, demonstrates the true meaning of the Franciscan spirit.