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Our founding Sisters provided nursing care to those in need and established themselves as pioneers in the health care field. Please click here to see a list of our missions.

Missionary Sisters were sent to China in 1925 in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the American Province. In 1948, most of the Chinese Sisters fled China to come to Springfield – three Sisters stayed in China while two migrated to Japan to begin serving the post-bomb victims.

From 1968-2002, we served in Kaoshiung, Taiwan. Sisters also served in Arizona and New Mexico spanning 1940-1990.

On July 28, 1999, we began the San Damiano Mission (Kemondo, Tanzania) and continued the service to the people until May 16, 2017.

Throughout our history, we have been blessed with visionary members of our Community who accepted the responsibility to serve as leaders. These women recognized their role as servant leaders with their Franciscan Sisters as they cared for the needs of our Community, provided direction to our health care ministry, and founds ways for us to respond to the needs of the time. Please click on this link for a listing of our Superiors since 1875. 


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Our early Sisters established schools to ensure a high level of nursing. To this end, St. John's Hospital School of Nursing was founded in 1886 to train the Sisters in Springfield, IL, (1886-present) and it is considered the first Catholic Nursing Program in the United States. The Sisters also founded a School of Nursing in Eau Claire, WI (1917-1932). At both schools, skills were taught for clinical and technical support services including anesthesia, laboratory, EEG, x-ray and pastoral care.

St. John's College of Nursing is under the auspice of HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield. For more information, click here.

In 1899, The Nursing Sister - A Manual for Candidates and Novices of Hospital Communities was published and written by our Sisters at St. John's Hospital School of Nursing. In addition, they published a companion guide, Points for the Clinical Record. Three other editions of The Nursing Sister followed (1900, 1903, and 1905 respectfully) and were used through the mid 1920s. Also, the books were requested by other nursing schools in the United States. The first edition is entered according to Act of Congress in 1899 in the office of the Librarian of Congress.

1899 edition
1900 edition
1901 edition
1905 edition


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In 1917, our Sisters purchased land five miles northeast of Springfield for the building of St. John's Tuberculosis Sanitarium and later the construction of St. Francis of Assisi Church and St. Francis Convent.

Effective January 1, 2022, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois forms a new entity that will assume ownership and responsibility of the property in a trust for the operations, care, and maintenance. The Hospital Sisters’ community will continue to live on the property indefinitely, through a long-term lease agreement with the newly formed entity. In addition, the diocese will form a new institute for religious life and intellectual and spiritual formation for teachers of the Catholic faith, parish teams, priests, and lay faithful within and beyond the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Formation services will be offered through a combination of the institute’s staff and partnerships with leading Catholic educational and religious institutes from around the country.






Hospital Sisters of St. Francis 4 849 LaVerna Road, Springfield, IL 62707 (217)522-3386
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