Felician Wellness Center: Changing Lives Through Community Outreach

Felician Wellness Center transforms lives through the NexT program with education and support.

When Felician Services Inc and SSM Health in southern Illinois recognized an epidemic of obesity and related diseases and complications, they responded with the creation of the Felician Wellness Center. Led by Jacy Keefe, Exercise and Wellness Coordinator, this Felician-sponsored program represents a collaboration with SSM Health’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia, Illinois, and it is changing lives – helping people reverse chronic illness, get off of medications and improve their quality of life.

Keefe sees many clients who struggle with obesity, heart disease, limited mobility and diabetes – and she has been able to help many turn their lives around through the NexT (Nutrition and Exercise Training) program – an adult wellness program is hosted by the Centralia Recreation Complex and incorporates education, exercise and individualized training and support.

Each NExT session meets twice weekly for six weeks and incorporates guest speakers, such as physicians, dieticians and mental health professionals, to speak on topics like blood sugar control, healthy eating, anti-inflammatory diets, portion control and ideas for keeping active at home.

Participants are also given a free body composition scan, which measures weight, BMI, muscle mass, hydration, metabolism and fat. These scans are used to track a person’s progress in more tangible ways than just weight. “Some people might get discouraged if the number on the scale doesn’t go down,” said Keefe, “but then they see that they’ve turned fat into muscle mass and they recognize their progress.”

Keefe receives letters from former participants praising both the program and her leadership and support. One participant said, “The program itself is life-changing… This class gives me accountability and something to look forward to… without the program, I would not have lost 125 lbs.”

“All of these programs have been such a blessing. We see people all the time getting off of their medications, improving their mobility or range of motion or reversing heart disease or diabetes, it’s just the best part of my job.”

Jacy Keefe, Exercise and Wellness Coordinator

Read more about the Felician Wellness Center in the next issue of The Felician Magazine. Click here to sign up for the mailing list.

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Serving where needed since 1874

Founded in Poland in 1855, the Felician Sisters are a congregation of women religious inspired by the spiritual ideals of their foundress, Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska, and Saints Francis of Assisi, Clare of Assisi and Felix of Cantalice. Arriving in North America in 1874 following Blessed Mary Angela’s directive “to serve where needed,” they helped to weave the social service system. Today, the Felician Sisters founded, sponsor or support through the presence of our sisters, more than 40 ministries – all continuing to evolve to meet the needs of the people they serve.

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  • Felician Sisters of North America is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
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Felician Sisters of North America