What We Do

“We are to go throughout the world, encouraging everyone,
more by deed than by word …” (L3C 36)

Get to know us

Our Franciscan heritage calls us to live with open hearts and minds, extending hospitality to all.  We welcome and embrace minorities and diversity in cultures, religious perspectives, prayer styles, talents and professional callings. 

Our Ministries

Our ministries were defined by our founder, Father Wilhelm Berger, as "works of neighborly love." They are carried out in Illinois, Indiana, California and Brazil. We serve in health care, education, parish ministry, diocesan ministry, retreat ministry, bodywork, and ministry among the poor. Here are additional ways we care for the poor:

  • Franciscan Foundation: Through our Franciscan Foundation, our congregation helps support the work of non-profit organizations in the United States that reach out to the poor around the world through health, education and social services.
  • Shelters/Food Pantries: Non-perishable food items can be placed at our chapel entrances year-round. The donations are then distributed to three area shelters/food pantries.
  • Manteno Veterans Home: In November, donations are accepted at the Motherhouse and taken to the Veterans Home.
  • Congregational donations are regularly made that serve the needs of the poor in our world.

Furthering Peace and Justice

Pope Francis has said, "How I would like a Church that is poor and for the poor!" We Sisters strive to have a heart for those who are poor and vulnerable and to deepen our commitment to bringing God's compassion to a wounded world. We reach out to those on the margins and without hope as we work to eliminate the unjust divisions in our society and to bring people to the wholeness and joy of God’s shalom.


Franciscan Action Network

Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, and the example of Saints Francis and Clare, the Franciscan Action Network is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peace making, care for creation, poverty, and human rights.




Catholic Mobilizing Network

Catholic Mobilizing Network is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the use of the death penalty, to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices. Through education, advocacy, and prayer, and based on the Gospel value that every human is created in the image and likeness of God, CMN expresses the fundamental belief that all those who have caused or been impacted by crime should be treated with dignity. 



Visit the USCCB Action Center to view their current action alerts and sign up for future alerts so that you can contact your elected representatives to express your concerns and opinions on upcoming legislation.



Protecting our Environment

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis called all of us to “care for our common home.” Therefore, we encourage support for governmental decisions that protect the environment. We also reflect on and conscientiously adopt personal decisions that positively impact the environment. With St Francis, we honor and hold sacred our Sister, Mother Earth. Join us as we work to care for our common home and be “the critical conscience of society,” as Pope Francis called us to be. Fight against climate change as a moral imperative.


The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a unique collaboration between the Vatican, an international coalition of Catholic organizations, and “all men and women of good will.” (LS 3) Taking a truly ground-up approach, it is rooted in the strengths and realities of communities around the world, empowering all to take “decisive action, here and now” as we journey towards a better future together. (LS 161)




You have a right to know what's in your water, your food, your skin products and home products so you can make the best decisions for your family and our planet. The Environmental Working Group's consumer guides score cleaning products, food and drinking water and give advice on home products, with the goal of empowering you to live a healthier life in a healthier environment.



While immigration can stir fear and racial discrimination in a community, racism is no stranger among fellow citizens. The temptation of racism is to see people as "other" rather than "sister" or "brother." Racism is failure to love, a failure to care, as much as it can also be overt or violent discrimination. The truth of its persistent, rampant nature is underlined in scores of recorded incidents in recent years. It is undeniable and its effects are far-reaching, affecting the fair distribution of resources and opportunities that have profound implications for quality and length of life. Even as attempts are made to rectify these injustices in some communities, physical threats and intimidation persist against individuals, on college campuses and in workplaces. Further, when living insular lives and/or having been the victim of some form of racism, we may not see ourselves as racist and dismiss our responsibility to be a part of the solution. Yet a lesser degree of personal transgressions or having no public display of discrimination does not absolve us from the task of continual personal conversion and of the effort to transform the larger culture.

"But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and it corrupts the souls of those who harbor racist or prejudicial thoughts. The persistence of the evil of racism is why we are writing this letter now." - Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, a pastoral letter against racism, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

May we be healed of every broken view of each other and see one another as God sees. May we dream of peace, strive for peace, and remember peace when we are tired and tempted to abandon its ways modeled by Saints Francis and Clare.

Dwell in My Love... (link)
Brothers and Sisters to Us (link)

The Association of Catholic Publishers provided the webinar “Coming Together: Two Reflections—‘The Ghosts of Hate’ and ‘The Reforming Power of the Gospel,’” featuring Deacon Miller and Bishop Edward Scharfenberger from the Diocese of Albany.



More Anti-Racism Resources

Diminishing Human Trafficking

We seek to protect the dignity of the most vulnerable in our society and therefore support efforts to combat the trafficking of human persons. We aim to keep informed, to educate, to spread the word, to take action whenever possible and to be an ethical consumer so that the demand for human trafficking can be reduced.

Request a pdf of human trafficking prayer cards and pray for the safety of the vulnerable.



Encourage your Congregation/Coalition/Organization/
Church/Student Group to become a member of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.


 View the current issue of the Stop Trafficking  and browse the archives. This anti-human trafficking newsletter, of which we are one of many sponsors, is dedicated exclusively to fostering an exchange of information among U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking members, organizations and concerned persons collaborating to eliminate all forms of human trafficking.

Stop Trafficking Newsletter


Along with our California Circle of FSSH Associates,  join us in supporting Olive Crest's Hope Refuge Campus in Santa Barbara, California, a non-profit organization founded in 2013 to see exploited children ages 12 to 17 and young adults in America set free and move forward into a healthy, productive life after having been trafficked in the commercial sex industry. Hope Refuge believes that every person deserves to be free and that, as a community, we are responsible for protecting and caring for our children and the most vulnerable.




 Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries. It is a matter of justice. Supporting fair trade fights the demand for forced labor and unfair work practices. 



Eliminating the Death Penalty

We believe that life is a sacred gift of God which must be respected and protected, even if it has caused great harm. We also know that the death penalty in our country is very flawed and is unfairly applied on many occasions. In his encyclical The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II called us to choose to be “unconditionally pro life” (no. 28). So we are Sisters who choose life!


The Death Penalty Information Center is a national non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. Founded in 1990, the Center promotes informed discussion of the death penalty by preparing in-depth reports, conducting briefings for journalists, and serving as a resource to those working on this issue.