Before the birth in the late 12th century of Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone—the man whom we know today as St. Francis—religious life was private, contemplative and monastic. Francis envisioned a different type of religious life, and he led a revolution. He chose as his symbol the Greek letter Tau, because he saw in its shape the open arms of a friar’s robe. Before Francis, those arms would not have been outstretched; they would probably have been clasped in front of the friar’s body in silent prayer. After Francis, those arms were extended widely to embrace a life of caring for the poor, sick and injured.
Today, more than 800 years later, those arms remain open and outstretched. In twelve communities across Illinois and Wisconsin, the Hospital Sisters Health System stands steadfast and strong in its commitment to bring life-giving and life-saving health care to people in need.
The Power of Philanthropy
The continued success of this mission relies upon philanthropy. At its roots, “philanthropy” means “love of mankind.” In that regard, despite his material poverty, St. Francis was a true philanthropist. Just as he used his spiritual gifts to heal the sick, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Foundation is a faithful steward of the gifts we receive on behalf of our hospitals.
At each of our hospitals, the Friends development programs seek charitable contributions from their local communities to renovate and refurnish facilities, purchase new state-of-the-art medical technologies, and provide patient care and family support programs. In 2010, the Foundation disbursed nearly $7 million to our hospitals, funds which were used to continue the vital work that St. Francis began eight centuries ago.
Faith for the Future
Dynamic changes in health care—and the growing needs of the people we serve—will require ever-increasing investments in our facilities, equipment, programs, and people. We stand ready, willing and able to meet these challenges through philanthropy. We invite you to join the many friends and donors who demonstrate their own love of mankind through their generous gifts.