Felician Sisters of North America Transforming Sponsorship

A renewed investment in the health and social well-being of Southern Illinois
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Marcia Wallander
Chief Mission Advancement Officer
Felician Sisters of North America
724-944-9814 (cell)

Mt. Vernon, IL (June 15, 2023) – The Felician Sisters of North America are embarking on a bold plan to transform their presence in Southern Illinois to respond to the changing health, social and other needs of the under-resourced and marginalized. As part of the plan, the Felician Sisters are transitioning from co-sponsorship of SSM Health, Illinois to sole sponsorship of the newly established St. Clare Foundation.

“The Felician Sisters are excited to share with you our deepening commitment to the community by transitioning our role from health ministry co-sponsor to full sponsorship of a newly established foundation,” said Sr. Clarette Stryzewski, CSSF, Chairperson, St. Clare Foundation. “The new Felician-sponsored St. Clare Foundation will serve as a catalyst for a healthy community and support local community agencies with the needed funding to address the health and social needs of the most vulnerable. We expect the foundation to be fully operational by 2025.”

The Felician Sisters and SSM Health believe this will improve the overall health and well-being of the community and ensure the long-term sustainability of health care and social services in the region. While the St. Clare Foundation is in its very early stages, the ministry plans to focus on key areas of need, including food insecurity, behavioral health access, homelessness, substance abuse and poverty.

“SSM Health is deeply grateful for our partnership with the Felician Sisters, which has flourished for more than 25 years,” said Michael Baumgartner, Regional President of SSM Health, Illinois. “Now, with the founding of the Felician-sponsored St. Clare Foundation, our continued collaboration will further expand care for those who need it most. Achieving overall health and well-being reaches far beyond the walls of our hospitals, and the complementary work of the foundation will play a significant role in improving the lives of the people in our community.”

Patients, team members and the community will not experience any changes in the exceptional care and services they have come to expect from SSM Health.

The Felician Sisters and SSM Health first came together in 1996 to co-sponsor SSM Health, Illinois, which includes SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Centralia, SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital – Mount Vernon, and the local SSM Health Medical Group. The transition of sponsorship is expected to be complete Dec. 31, 2025.


About Felician Sisters of North America

The Felician Sisters of North America are a congregation of women religious, inspired by the spiritual ideals of their Foundress Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska and Saint Francis of Assisi.  The Felician Sisters live in community, dedicating their lives to God and the Church—always striving to live and share the Gospel message through lives of prayer and service as they cooperate with Christ in the spiritual renewal of the world. Pioneers of social services, the Felician Sisters sponsor more than 32 ministries throughout North American and Haiti and continue to “serve where you are needed” as Blessed Mary Angela called on them to do. Learn more about their work throughout North America at www.feliciansistersna.org.


About SSM Health, Illinois

SSM Health, Illinois is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across southern Illinois through a robust and fully integrated health care delivery system. The organization’s 1,000 team members and more than 100 providers are committed to providing exceptional health care services and revealing God’s healing presence to everyone they serve.

With care delivery sites in Benton, Centralia, Mt. Vernon, Nashville, and Salem, SSM Health, Illinois includes 2 hospitals, more than 43 physician offices and other outpatient and virtual care services, comprehensive home care and hospice services, and an intensive outpatient adult behavioral health program. It is one of the largest employers in every community it serves. For more information, visit www.ssmhealth.com or find us on Facebook.


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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.
  • EIN 27-1282473
Felician Sisters of North America