They Lead By Following Their Calling

by Laura Nightengale
OSF HealthCare

The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis have devoted their lives to caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the sick and injured.

With a tradition of fostering leadership in young people, the Boy Scouts of America recognizes leaders when they are present in our communities. For more than two decades, the W. D. Boyce Council, Boy Scouts of America, has recognized one person, group or organization each year with its Distinguished Citizen Award. The recipient of this award is a person or organization who is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, reverent and dutiful to God.

In 2018, The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis were recognized for their leadership in the Greater Peoria community and of OSF HealthCare, an organization humbly founded and thoughtfully expanded over the last 141 years. “The decision to honor The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis was an easy one to make. Their dedication to their community and servant leadership exemplifies the mission, vision and values of the Boy Scouts of America,” says Danielle Easton, director of annual giving for the W.D. Boyce Council.

Sister Judith Ann Duvall, O.S.F., chair of the boards of OSF HealthCare, accepted the award on behalf of the Sisters. She was a Girl Scout in her youth, as was her sister, while two of her brothers earned the distinction of Eagle Scout. “Scouts is investing in girls and boys who will be the leaders of the next generation, and they do so on a bedrock of solid values and hearts focused on service,” Sister Judith Ann says. “Being recognized by such a noble organization is a wonderful honor.” 

The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis lead by following God’s word and Christ’s example. They have devoted their lives to caring not just for the physical needs of the sick and injured, but for their emotional and spiritual needs as well—regardless of their ability to pay. “We are called to be a living extension of God’s love and care for His people. Our ministry is so sacred, and we are so blessed to be called by God to share in his ministry,” Sister Judith Ann explains.

The ministry of OSF HealthCare began in a home on South Adams Street in downtown Peoria, where the Sisters cared for the sick and dying. Today, OSF HealthCare includes 13 hospitals, two colleges of nursing, and more than 21,000 mission partners carrying on the work the Sisters began in 1877.

OSF HealthCare has been recognized as a leader not just in our communities, but throughout the nation. In 2018, OSF HealthCare was listed among high-performing U.S. healthcare systems by Truven Health Analytics and among best employers in the country by Forbes.

While much has changed about healthcare, the Sisters’ passion for providing care has never wavered. “Our OSF mission has not changed in 141 years. We serve persons with the greatest care and love in the spirit of Christ, who spent much of his time on earth caring for the sick and needy and teaching others to follow his example,” Sister Judith Ann says. They are driven by their love for God to help and serve in the spirit of Christ in whatever way they are needed, inspiring others to do the same. iBi

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