Responding to our baptismal calls through service, justice and accompaniment, we share in spiritual care through a variety of ministries and relationships. Our ministry grant program, open to all sisters and affiliates, funds programs that provide spiritual growth for those served.
Our sponsored spirituality centers, Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center and Franciscan Spirituality Center, have been our response to people's desire to grow in relationship to God, creation, others and self. They are an expression of FSPA's call to balance contemplation, ministry and creative ways of living community.
According to Sister Rose Elsbernd, "If you look at the mission of spirituality as the search for meaning, the search for purpose and that search for “Who am I?” it was present throughout my ministries; to those taking the next steps of life into college and to the women discerning religious community. It was with me as I served as director of Villa Maria and Sacred Heart, welcoming individuals and groups and really listening for the core questions of their lives. In some ways, my FSPA leadership role provided that same sense of direction, that sense of seeking and searching for what is best -- be it for the community or an individual. It has encompassed the whole sense of discerning “where is God in the midst of all this?”. Now at Franciscan Spirituality Center, my responsibilities are primarily spiritual direction. I’m part of core group of people that educates others in a spiritual direction training program. We serve a variety of people that come in varying stages of life, but that same question is always there. We do lots of listening and invite others to find the answers within their own experiences and belief systems. And in all we do here at FSC is the ministry of hospitality."
FSPA affiliates seek to grow in spirituality and community. Each affiliate is matched with a companion who journeys with him or her for one and a half to three years during the formation process, through monthly meetings.
Prior to joining the FSPA Leadership Team in November 2022, Sister Marcia Baumert worked as a staff chaplain and coordinator of Catholic ministries at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Her ministry there served to ease the suffering of many patients and their families. From providing spiritual care to terminally ill patients to simply being with them in their time of need, Sister Marcia embodied the selfless service that permeates FSPA’s strong tradition in the health-care ministry. While pastoral care may sound like a major challenge to most, Sister Marcia is grateful to have served in the ministry of chaplaincy. “I had the privilege of being with someone when their life is being drastically changed by a disease, process, death or accident—when life is never going to be the same for them.” In these moments of pain and suffering between both patient and family, Sister Marcia often served as a sacred keeper of their stories. Like many chaplains before her, she is steadfast in her responsibility; she strived “to help people hold the difficulties and try to walk through and make sense of situations that are so drastic.”
FSPA and affiliates are very active in La Crosse County Jail Ministry. The ministry's programs include Bible Studies, Worship Services, Religious Programming, Spiritual Formation, Group & Individual Counseling, Recovery Group Coordination, Thinking for a Change, Family Outreach, Death Notification, Grief Counseling, Volunteer Coordination, Storybook Program (females only), and Mom's Prayer Group. Learn more about our jail ministry.
Homebound & Our Elders
Sister Kathy Stuttgen lives daily the Franciscan value of seeing the good in all. From her early days of ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Oelwein, Iowa, to her current position as volunteer at Mary, Mother of the Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, she continues to reach out to homebound women and men. Aging is difficult in our culture; often the very pillars of the neighborhood and themselves forgotten and sometimes vulnerable. Sister Kathy has a passion for justice and to make sure no one slips through the cracks. Word of mouth is how Sister Kathy discovers who is in need of help. Listening intently she often hears who has not been around lately or who may have been hospitalized. She does not always have a plan of who she will visit, most of the time she relies on her gut feeling and news she hears as she drives from house to house. There is always a reason a door goes unanswered, and she wants to know why.
Pastoral Migratoria “is dedicated to serving Hispanic immigrant parish communities in which immigrant lay leaders are commissioned to respond to their baptismal calls through service, justice and accompaniment actions,” says Archdiocese of Chicago National Senior Coordinator of Immigration Elena Segura. As it is parish based, the ministry is unique. “Currently, more than 40 Hispanic parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago offer Pastoral Migratoria training,” reports Elena. And the program keeps growing. This ripple effect is fed in part by the support of Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Read Empowering immigrant leaders through Pastoral Migratoria: 'my family is not alone!'
Project Proven "works with the La Crosse County Jail to assist formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, regardless of race, to obtain a GED, transition to college-level courses, apply for jobs and manage finances, and improve both interpersonal interaction and basic computer skills." The fund also provides assistance with rent, childcare, transportation and purchasing work-appropriate clothing — anything that might help the person transition successfully to life after incarceration. When organizers reached out to Sister Karen Lueck for FSPA help to make Project Proven more sustainable, her heart connected with them in a deep way. "Here are two ordinary people, partnering with other ordinary people, to make an extraordinary difference in the world. I was inspired and knew FSPA must be a part of this vital social justice movement. The call to action led to a ministry grant for Project Proven." Read FSPA action for unity and diversity "proven"