Looking after the needs of children and elders has been the hallmark of Sister Mary Francella’s religious life. For nearly 40 years she taught primary grades throughout Illinois. In Chicago, at St. Christina (1959-1962) St. John Bosco (1968-1977), and St. Edward (1978-1989). In central Illinois, at St. Patrick, Springfield (1962-1968); Our Lady of Lourdes, Decatur (1977-1978); and Little Flower, Springfield (1989-1992).
Her pastoral ministry began with an assignment to St. Rita Parish, Kincaid (1996-1997) and from 2002 to the present she has been a pastoral minister at Cathedral, Springfield. She spent several years caring for family at her home in Taylorville, Ill., as well. In addition to her work at Cathedral Parish she finds her life enriched by the men and women who frequent the Washington Street Mission, where she’s build a reputation as “The Donut Sister.”
“When I entered our community, I had no idea what my ministry would be. I loved young people and I loved helping the elderly,” she reminisced. “I taught children in the primary grades for many years and then, after caring for my father when he became blind, with great joy and trust, I began a new ministry in pastoral care, working with those confined to their homes, nursing homes, and those in hospitals. With gratitude to many people, I have remained in this ministry, working at the Cathedral Parish in Springfield for more than 17 years.”