Health and Healing
Integrative Therapies: A Collaboration
Integrative Therapies of La Crosse, Wis., is a shared space of professional care providing the following services: acupuncture, massage, energy work and spiritual direction.
Cultural Aspects of Healing
By the sun and the moon, traditional Chinese medicine and Franciscanism are in alignment. While the correlation may not be readily apparent, the FSPA who have embraced holistic therapies as part of their personal health care practices are striking a balance between the yin of St. Francis’ Sister Moon and the yang of Brother Sun.
Change Direction: the FSPA pledge to raise mental health awareness
The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration pledge to support the Change Direction initiative to educate our sisters, affiliates, staff, partners in ministry and those we serve about mental health and wellness.
Together with Coulee Region Change Direction partners, we pledge to continue our efforts in mental health and wellness through our direct care ministries and create environments that enhance holistic mental health and healing. We pledge to provide education and to normalize the topic of mental health by incorporating it into our conversations, ultimately reducing stigma around the topic and moving one another toward compassion, empathy, understanding and support.
Read the full FSPA Pledge to Change Direction.
Sister Sarah and friends write the "Spiritual Rights of Mad Folks"
When FSPA opened St. Francis Hospital, now Mayo Clinic Health System - Franicscan Healthcare, in La Crosse, Wis., in 1883, it was a time when many people termed hospitals as “pest houses.” Yet physicians and residents welcomed and encouraged the sisters' foresight, courage, and commitment to their city as the congregation ventured into health care.
The commitment gradually extended to several hospitals, nursing homes, and schools for training nurses and other healthcare professionals. Initially, FSPA staffed many of the positions and supervised most departments. Their daily presence had a strong and deep influence on patient care. The spiritual dimension was always a priority as sisters listened, prayed with, and counseled patients, family and staff.
Over the years, as health care and religious life have changed, so has our healing ministry. While we still sponsor several of our original health care facilities as well as centers for spiritual and holistic growth, renewal and healing, our daily physical presence has decreased. Instead, we provide a strong influence as a sponsoring body, board members, consultants, and staff.
Recognizing the connection of body, mind, and spirit in the healing process, many sisters have sought training and are now ministering in such areas as massage, healing touch, yoga, water therapy, reflexology, dance and music therapy, as well as related areas of counseling, pastoral care, and spiritual direction. Some of these alternative therapies may be viewed with skepticism—much as how hospitals were viewed in the 1800s.
St. Clare Health Mission
In 1992 representatives of health care and social services organizations throughout the La Crosse Coulee Region began a collaborative effort to address healthcare access for the poor. After months of planning, a unique and innovative program began to emerge—a program of providing free care to those who would otherwise receive none.
This program is St. Clare Health Mission, named for Clare of Assisi, a contemporary of St. Francis who renounced all of her possessions—even giving away her shoes—as she devoted her life to the care of the poor. The term “health mission” describes not only the program, but also the motivation that guides it.
Though staffed entirely by volunteers—including physicians, nurses, social workers, laboratory personnel, pharmacists, and support personnel from Mayo-Franciscan Healthcare, Gundersen Health System, FSPA, and the community—costs of running the mission are high. Donations keep the center running, and we welcome contributions. Gifts may be directed to the mission at 916 Ferry Street, La Crosse, WI 54601-8808. For more information on gift-giving opportunities, please call 608-784-6449 or 608-791-4712.