Peace Be With You is the sign that greets visitors as they enter the Wheaton Franciscan campus. This simple message is core to decisions the Sisters have made in creating a place of peace, hope, and healing for all who enter.
In 1947, the Sisters purchased 90 acres of land in unincorporated DuPage County, Illinois. As the needs of the times have changed, so has the face of the campus. To meet the needs of the times, the Sisters used a portion of the property to build Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, Marian Park apartments for low-income families and the elderly, and Canticle Place apartments for individuals with HIV/AIDS.
Today the Sisters maintain 40 acres of land for the primary purpose of preserving sacred space in the midst of suburban development. Central to the campus is Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) Motherhouse, which serves as the administrative offices for Wheaton Franciscans. The “Motherhouse” is also home for some of our Sisters and is the communal gathering place for Community meetings and celebrations. Tau Center, a spirituality ministry of the Wheaton Franciscans, is also located within Our Lady of the Angels.
Our Chapel was originally built in 1954 and renovated in 1990 to meet current worship standards and the needs of the community. Three original treasures of the chapel were maintained: the stained-glass windows designed by Francis Deck of the Emil Frei Studios, St. Louis, Missouri; the stations of the cross set into the walls under the windows and framed with Botticino marble; and the large cross of Negor Marquino and Bianco Carra marble suspended above the original altar. New elements were added, including a new altar, an ambo, and the Angel’s Wings screen dividing the worship space and the meditation chapel.
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Sacred Green Space
In 1991, the Sisters began the process of restoring the land to natural prairie beginning with the south acreage. In 1995, the front acreage closest the entrance and to Roosevelt Road was restored to native Illinois prairie. That same year a Peace Path was constructed winding through the prairie. All of the paths are paved to make them more accessible. Benches are provided along the way for opportunities for peaceful contemplation.
In 2018, the Cosmic Walk was dedicated. The Cosmic Walk features 25 watercolor images of Significant Moments of the Unfolding of the Universe by Sr. Corlita Bonnarens, RSM. This path surrounds the Butterfly Garden.
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Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital ~ Celebrating 50 Years
In 1972, the Sisters founded Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital. The name Marianjoy honors Mary, the Blessed Mother, and St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for his joy.
This new ministry was designed to provide physical rehabilitative services that meet the needs of the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. In 2006, Marianjoy opened a new 170,000-square-foot hospital that offered state-of-the-art services. In addition to state-of-the-art in-patient services, Marianjoy provides comprehensive outpatient services.
In 2016, ownership of Marianjoy transferred to Northwestern Medicine, an integrated academic health system in the greater Chicago area. The Wheaton Franciscan legacy continues through the compassionate and wholistic care provided by the care teams of physicians, therapists, nurses and support staff at Marianjoy Northwestern.
Putting Down Roots In Wheaton On July 1, 1947, the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters purchased and began occupying what was then unincorporated property in DuPage County. The 90 acres of land were purchased from the Hurly Family and originally held two grand family homes, woods, fruit orchards, a pool and creek. The two homes served as the aspirancy (Kara Hall) and the motherhouse (Maura Hall) for a time then became other facilities like offices, a daycare, and even a coffeehouse. Eventually, Kara Hall was demolished in 2009 and Maura Hall in 2013 after their condition had deteriorated. In [...]
VATICAN II Second Vatican Council, also called Vatican II, was announced by Pope John XXIII on January 25, 1959, as a means of spiritual renewal of the Church and in relation to the world it serves. Vatican II was the 21st general council of the Roman Catholic Church. Preparation for the Council took three years, from the summer of 1959 to the autumn of 1962 The Council officially opened on October 11, 1962 convened by Pope John XXIII. The first session was held from October 11 – December 8, 1962. Pope Saint John XXIII died [...]
EMBRACING CHANGE Vatican II’s mandate to “determine what needed to be changed in accordance with the spirit of their founders, the needs of modern life, and the situations where they lived and worked” was welcomed by the Wheaton Franciscans. Changes in the practice of prayer that began in the 1950s planted seeds of spiritual renewal and fertile ground for new insights into the psychology of spiritual development and personal prayer. Spiritual renewal opportunities in the early 1960s were a combination of the new recognition of individuality and traditional communal theology. CHAPTER ELECTION [...]