The Franciscan Sisters of Mary (FSM), a Roman Catholic congregation of women religious, are living out our mission to be the presence of the loving, serving, compassionate, healing Jesus through our compassionate care of God’s creation in collaboration with others.
Founded in 1872, the FSM have listened to the call of the Spirit to serve the poor and sick. Our founder, Mother Mary Odilia Berger, and her five companions nursed the sick of St. Louis, first in their homes and then in hospitals, regardless of their ability to pay. Our sisters later founded and sponsored SSM Health, which now provides hospitals and healthcare agencies across four Midwestern states.
New Ways to Minister
Over the years our sisters have ministered to the poor and marginalized in many hands-on ways. But as our congregation has increased in age and decreased in numbers, we have explored new ways to follow the Spirit’s call to care for others. Under the guidance of our CEO/CFO John O’Shaughnessy and trusted financial advisors, we are using our assets through impact investment and philanthropy to support companies, organizations, and entrepreneurs who promote our Catholic and Franciscan values. These groups are actively working to heal the environment and care for those most affected by climate change, promoting renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, forest conservation, and other initiatives to combat global warming and the destruction of earth’s air, water, land, and inhabitants.
As part of our commitment to using our resources to care for creation, we have divested from companies and organizations that harm and destroy our environment—those who, for instance, profit from the extraction and production of fossil fuels. We also continue to engage in socially responsible investing, avoiding profiting from companies that promote war, weapon production, abortion, and other activities that conflict with our Catholic, Franciscan values.
Mother Odilia’s encouragement to “Continue courageously” has inspired our sisters since the very beginning. And while we as a congregation are moving toward completion, we remain open to the Spirit’s call to renewal. Just as in 2011 we caught the Spirit’s vision for a new focus on compassionate care of creation, we hold ourselves in readiness for the new ways the Spirit will find to reveal God’s presence in and through each of us.