Doing the good of what is ours to do today

FSPA concludes sponsorship transfer

Commissioned members pose in Mary of the Angels Chapel
Commissioned members celebrate their new roles in being the good by serving Viterbo and St. Anthony Ministries.

Since 1849, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration has 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, including those of social justice, FSPA announced one year ago 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 Viterbo University was officially transferred Aug. 8, 2018, and St. Anthony on Aug. 14, 2018. Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare’s transition is expected to be complete by November 2018. The new canonical structures are now known as Viterbo Ministries and St. Anthony Ministries. The purpose of Viterbo Ministries is to further the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ with special attention to forming persons who can bring a synthesis of faith and culture to the tasks of society.

With a thoughtful and caring approach to turning oversight to lay leaders at St. Anthony and Viterbo — Public Juridic Persons — the FSPA Formation Plan was developed. The plan “begins with the question ‘what is the Church asking of us today?’ and then thematically moves to ‘doing what is ours to do’ in the Franciscan tradition,” says Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Marlene Weisenbeck. Sister Marlene is a member of the FSPA Sponsorship Task Force, which developed “a schema for the formation process and engaged presenters for the program,” which includes a unique emphasis on “aspects pertaining to FSPA history, charism and spirituality.”

Within the formation process and “these calls to accept the sponsor role,” says Sister Marlene, “the new PJP members reflected in formation on their personal relationship with God, finding common purpose in diverse church institutions, and understanding church structures at the service of the mission and the meaning of prophetic service to the church. Prayer and adoration,” she further explains, “were woven into the process as a means to incorporate FSPA legacy and charism.”

All are charged to care for the evolving needs of humanity through four guiding principles: the Call to Service, the Call to Mission and Ministry, the Call to Stewardship and the Call to Sponsorship Today (Doing What is Ours to Do). Two members share reflection of the ministries they are called to serve with us here.


Margaret Grenisen, MD, Viterbo Ministries

Margaret Grenisen

FSPA has given our local community the incredible gift of Franciscan higher education. As an institution of higher education in our region, it has uniquely given witness to the Christian message and fostered a community of love in the service of others.

As a ministry, we are called to serve this tremendous legacy and tradition and ensure the Franciscan charism remains a vibrant part of the university’s distinctive identity … to deepen our own commitment to our baptismal call and our own call to faith and conversion.

Our call to mission will require a thorough understanding of Catholic Social Teaching and an ability to always assist the institution in the foundational expectation of the protection and advancement of human dignity. 

Our call to stewardship requires an understanding of the temporal realities of organizational structures, canonical responsibilities and the appropriate use of resources. 

What is ‘ours to do’ is a humbling responsibility. Our successful ministry will require us to fully imbue ourselves with the Franciscan teachings. We are called to both a magnanimity and humility which will help us to effectively give witness to the Franciscan tradition and values as exemplified by Francis and Clare’s response to the Gospel. No small order!

Nick Badding, St. Anthony Ministries

Sister Karen Lueck shakes Nick Badding's hand
Sister Karen Lueck and Nick Badding

We are all called by God to serve others, and St. Anthony Ministries is one way of answering God’s call to serve. Our mission and ministry will always be guided by the teachings of Jesus while using FSPA history and Franciscan values as our guides.

Committing to a call to service and stewardship means sharing the gifts God has entrusted to us. In doing so, St. Anthony will continue the promise FSPA has fulfilled to provide outstanding health care while ensuring the care we deliver — especially for the poor and vulnerable members of our society — is for both the body as well as the spiritual wellbeing.

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