In this Year of Faith, the Holy Father has asked each one of us to rediscover the Faith that we profess, celebrate, live and pray. For religious congregations, it is an opportunity to reflect on their founding charism and embrace with fresh vigor this guiding Spirit made known in a particular time and place in the world.
For the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in East Peoria, Illinois, part of this means a return to a more traditional habit. They will soon be wearing a full length habit with a longer veil, scapular, cord and the Franciscan Crown rosary.
As an aside, the Franciscan Crown rosary commemorates the seven joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Annunciation, Visitation, Birth of our Lord, Adoration of the Magi, Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, the Resurrection, and the Assumption of Mary into Heaven and her Coronation). At the end of the seventh decade two Hail Marys are added to complete the number of years (72) that the Blessed Virgin is said to have lived on earth.
The congregation is an IRL Affiliate Community whose primary apostolate is to care for the sick and the poor. However, their co-founder, Bishop John Lancaster Spalding, was a great promoter of education. Their Major Superior, Sr. Judith Ann, OSF, recently announced that they would like to expand their work to serve in the schools of the Diocese of Peoria, a return to their roots.