A Bridge to a Call


Talk with Sister Francis Mary Philipp for any length of time and you are likely to learn three things: music is the heart of her relationships; she loves accompanying others to their full potential; her life-story is a master class in “bridging”—a musical technique that brings the listener full circle back to the heart of the song.

Join us for this inspiring journey with Sister Francis Mary as we share her story and demonstrate the way her life, like the lives of all our sisters, is a bridge of prayer and wisdom that keeps those whose lives we touch connected to one another and to our common origins in God.

You can be a bridge, too! A gift today will help keep the Dominican Sisters connected to you, to one another and to the needs of the world. Donate now.


Leo Philipp and Mary Dirksen, Springfield-born-and-bred, fell in love, married, and had a daughter—Mary Patricia—on whom they doted. Patricia’s love of music originated with her mother who herself learned from the Ursuline Sisters who taught her. When her only child was in first grade Mrs. Philipp convinced her husband they needed a piano in the house to reinforce the lessons Patricia was learning from her Dominican music teachers at Cathedral School.

“I always enjoyed being with the sisters,” Sister Francis Mary explained. “My father died when I was 10 and we moved to my mother’s family home on the north end of town. Mom wanted to keep me at Cathedral School because she knew I was happy there.”

Taxi Service

In those days the sisters didn’t drive so they relied on the kindness of others when they needed transportation. One driver was Mrs. Philipp, who would often add a couple of Dominican Sisters to the car along with her daughter, depositing the sisters wherever they were going before heading home. The sisters would then walk back to the convent, Sister Francis Mary explained. Those one-way trips with sisters in tow turned out to be formative to Patricia’s decision to join the Dominicans when she graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1960.

“I always enjoyed it when the sisters got in the car,” she recalled. “I enjoyed being with them. From those many car trips, I learned to see the sisters in a different light than just in the classroom,” she explained.

Sister Francis Mary can still name every classroom teacher, piano teacher, and principal she encountered in her 13-year educational journey through Springfield Dominican schools. Her life clearly resounds with the influence of generations of Dominican Sisters. It’s equally clear that Sister Francis Mary herself has had a similar impact during her nearly 60 years as a Dominican Sister.

Stay with us to learn more!

blue arc with words Be The Bridge on topWe’ll share more of Sister Francis Mary’s story throughout the spring appeal. Please follow along, and learn how your gift can help be a bridge for the sisters, keeping them connected to one another and to people who count on their prayer and wisdom. Read more here.

2 thoughts on “A Bridge to a Call”

  1. Janice Skube Butler

    Can still see her and her Mom going to Sacred Heart Church (I attended Sacred Heart Grade School) as a child to play the organ—I thought she was much younger than I was—but apparently only two years. I believe Msgr. Dirksen would drive them. She was part of the reason we joined St. Agnes in the early 80s. She was kind enough to play the organ at the Cathedral wedding of our daughter.

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