–by Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough
PUBLICATION DATE: 09.13.16
The Sylvania-based Sisters of St. Francis are celebrating the 100 years of mission and ministry since their founding in 1916. Their presence in Sylvania is a great treasure and resource for our residents and our quality of life. To the Sisters of St. Francis: thank you for all you do and congratulations for 100 years of service and vision!
The nearly 200 Sisters of St. Francis work in a variety of ministries in 12 states and Haiti, including education, healthcare, pastoral work, social work, environmental stewardship, social justice and world peace. Here in Sylvania, their campus is a beautiful and serene setting of unique buildings, greenspace, enlightenment and cultural treasures.
The Sisters sponsor Lourdes University, which offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs, and brings to Sylvania all the programming and resources of higher education. Most recently, they have partnered with Sylvania Schools to improve Northview Cat Stadium and are opening a new campus recreation center bringing collegiate-level athletic competition to Sylvania.
Also in the Sylvania area, the Sisters have founded and continue to sponsor Bethany House, Sophia Center, Rosary Care Center, Our Lady of Grace Hall assisted living, Convent Park senior apartments, the Franciscan Center and Appold Planetarium. The Sisters and their programs in Sylvania have greatly impacted and enriched many of our lives.
The Sisters of St. Francis began on Dec. 8, 1916, when Mother Adelaide Sandusky, along with twenty-two other Sisters, responded to a call from Toledo Bishop Joseph Schrembs to come to Ohio from Rochester, Minn., and educate the children of Polish immigrants. Over the years, they taught in numerous Catholic grade schools in northwest Ohio and at Toledo Central Catholic High School. I am sure there are many here in Sylvania who had them once as teachers.
My own memories of the Sisters of St. Francis began while in high school. With views along Convent Blvd. and from Sylvania High School into their campus, which in the 1960s was private, it was mysterious to me and my fellow students. But over the years, starting with the Franciscan Center, the beauty, resources and treasures of their campus have been opened up and shared with us.
Like many of you, I would occasionally see Sisters dressed in their traditional habits around Sylvania. Sister Sheila Shea, as director of the Franciscan Center, was the first Sister I came to know and became a good friend as she joined to help with several Sylvania committees and commissions. Today I am truly fortunate to know and count as friends many of these unique and talented women who constantly work for a better quality of life for all.
The Sisters are planning a Centennial Gala and Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 24. They welcome any and all of us to attend and help celebrate and honor their diverse ministries. Tickets are available at sistersosf.org for what will surely be a memorable evening.
On behalf of the citizens of Sylvania, thank you and congratulations to the Sisters of St. Francis for all you have brought and continue to bring to our community. You enrich our lives and broaden our horizons. Best wishes always as you celebrate your centennial!