A Publication of WTVP

The culture of innovation instilled by Mother M. Frances remains some 140 years later.

From Germany to Iowa to the heart of Illinois, from caring for orphans to providing care in homes, The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis have always been pioneers who embraced every challenge and found innovative solutions. Their foundress is among those early Peorians whose legacy continues to shape Peoria today.

Journey to Peoria
As a young woman in Herford, Germany, Theresia Krasse joined Mother M. Xavier Termeher in the care of orphans. In 1868, they formed the congregation of Sisters of Mercy of the Third Order of St. Francis. The congregation was still in its infancy when the Sisters were expelled from Germany.

In August of 1875, 25 sisters and four postulants boarded a ship to America and settled in Iowa City, Iowa. A year later, Sister M. Frances Krasse and five other sisters arrived in Peoria to start what they called St. Francis Hospital. That began a tradition of embracing change and innovating to meet the needs of others that continues today.

In 1877, Sister M. Frances, with the help of Bishop Spalding, led the formation of a new congregation and was elected the first Mother General of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, becoming Mother M. Frances at age 38.

The healthcare ministry grew rapidly, but in October of 1885, Mother M. Frances succumbed to tuberculosis—nine years to the day from her arrival in Peoria. Her final words are still part of the OSF HealthCare mission today: “In the spirit of Christ and the example of Francis of Assisi, the Mission of OSF HealthCare is to serve persons with the greatest care and love in a community that celebrates the Gift of Life.”

Culture of Innovation
The culture of innovation Mother M. Frances instilled in OSF HealthCare remains some 140 years later. OSF Innovation formalized this pioneer spirit in 2016 with the opening of collaboration space in Jump Trading Simulation & Innovation Center. In 2017, Modern Healthcare ranked Jump as one of the top 10 innovation centers in the country, alongside Baylor Scott & White and Cleveland Clinic.

OSF Innovation introduced SilverCloud, a free online resource for those dealing with depression, anxiety and stress, and OSF Circle, a free mobile app that supports women through pregnancy, motherhood and beyond. Jump STEAM offers middle school through pre-med students classes and extended summer camps on everything from engineering to medical visualization and emergency. Our care transformation efforts that have taken place in every OSF HealthCare medical office highlight OSF innovation and collaboration.

Today, as one of Peoria’s local legends, Mother M. Frances’ legacy lives on through the leadership and commitment of those who serve as OSF Mission Partners and other innovators who collaborate with OSF to tackle some of healthcare’s greatest challenges. Through these efforts, the Ministry continues to advance the work begun in 1875 with a young woman who answered “yes” to the call to travel across the ocean—and founded an organization rated as the No. 1 employer in the state by Forbes magazine. iBi