Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA)

Modern Lives. Sacred Traditions.


Sponsored Ministries

Since 1849, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have served in areas of greatest need. In its early years, that meant establishing health care and addressing education needs, ultimately leading to the creation of what are now Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare and Viterbo University, both in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and St. Anthony Regional Hospital & Nursing Home in Carroll, Iowa—organizations that are firmly established and thriving through the day-to-day care of lay partners.

In order to remain true to its calling to address the evolving needs of humankind, FSPA announced in November 2017 its plans to transfer complete oversight of Viterbo University and Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, La Crosse, Wisconsin, and St. Anthony Regional Hospital & Nursing Home, Carroll, Iowa, to lay leaders for each organization. The Vatican has approved the transfer and the sisters are now able to begin the final steps.

Read Vatican approval advances FSPA transfer of La Crosse hospital to Mayo

“For Viterbo University and St. Anthony Regional Hospital and Nursing Home in Carroll, Iowa, we are working with the bishops to finalize Viterbo Ministries and St. Anthony Ministries, the entities that enable the organizations to relate directly to the church and maintain their Catholic identities,” said Sister Helen Elsbernd, FSPA vice president. “And we are working with Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare to sign off on the official documents.”

We expect to finalize the transfers by Nov. 1, 2018.

Read Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration announce sponsorship transfer
Watch WKBT News 8 oversight transfer story
Read La Crosse Tribune Leadership transfer to pursue social justice

A Historical Perspective
In 1883, our predecessors built and operated St. Francis Hospital in La Crosse, their first venture into health care and western Wisconsin’s first private hospital. Between 1883 and present day, numerous FSPA gave service as nurses, administrators, lab technicians, pastoral ministers, anesthesiologists, dietitians, laundry and housekeeping managers, x-ray technicians, office staff and volunteers.  We were blessed to be able to provide much of this service gratis. Today, Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare is part of a network of community-focused hospitals and clinics that serve Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

In 1890, what is now Viterbo University was founded to educate Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to serve as teachers. FSPA served the organization in a variety of roles, from environmental care to faculty to administration. In the 1940s, lay women were accepted and in the 1970s, both lay women and men made up the student body. The FSPA influence has continued today in the programs incorporated into the university: Franciscan Tradition and Values classes, servant leadership masters program, Franciscan Friends and Assisi pilgrimages. The tradition of fine arts is strong today, dating back to the early history of the congregation to carry out our commitment to beauty and provide art, music and theatre for the La Crosse region.

In 1903, the second chapter in the FSPA’s hospital history began when we accepted mission of a new hospital in Carroll, Iowa. The cornerstone was laid on Aug. 2, 1903 and two years later St. Anthony Hospital was dedicated. Many FSPA ministered at St. Anthony throughout the years in clerical, domestic, nursing, records management and administrative roles. Today, St. Anthony Regional Hospital & Nursing Home serves six counties, offers independent and assisted living services, operates seven clinics and offers advanced specialties including radiation/oncology and obstetrics.

We honor and celebrate our years of service to the healing and education ministries of Jesus.


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