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.

1963 Better World Retreat held at the Motherhouse in Wheaton, IL (click to enlarge)

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.


The leaders of the renewal process were chosen at the province Chapter in 1966. To guide the renewal process, the Chapter elected Sr. Virginia Mary (Dolorine) Barta as the province superior. Sr. Virginia Mary was a young Sister newer to a governance role. The four officers elected to serve with her were also new to province governance. This signaled the openness to the renewal process.

The formal renewal process was marked by Chapters and Assemblies. Position papers and proposals made emerged from community wide self-study and discussion.  In 1968, these position papers, along with proposed revisions to the constitution and way of life, were distributed to members in a book called We are one in the Spirt.

1966 Council (from left to right): Srs. Barbara DeWindt, Virginia Mary (Mother Dolorine) Barta, Janice Teder, Estelle Francken, and Marilyn Marin. Click to enlarge.

Saturday Program from the 1960 Franciscan Educational Conference (click to enlarge)

Friday Itinerary from the 1960 Franciscan Educational Conference (click to enlarge)


When Mother M. Clara Pfaender founded the congregation, she instructed her Sisters to pay attention to the needs of the times. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the times and needs in the world were changing rapidly. As a result, the ministries of the Sisters were varied. The Sisters sought a way to define who they were and what they did in a unified way that would be meaningful whether ministering in a hospital, school, low-income housing, spiritual direction, administration, or direct service at the Motherhouse. This work led to the development of the Mission Statement and Philosophy of Human and Community Development (HCD). This became the guiding principles and way of living for all Sisters and their institutions. HCD is based on scripture, Franciscan values, and Mother Clara’s call to meet the needs of the time.


Through the PHILOSOPHY of Human and Community Development we emphasize:


Respecting Each Individual


Creating Caring Communities

Expanding HCD into the Institutional Ministries.

Sr. Virginia Mary and the Province Council recognized that more research and work needed to be done to translate and integrate the principles of Human and Community Development into the institutional ministries. In 1970, four Sisters – Rose Mary Pint, Diane Sledge, Erna Kimminau, and Thomas Kolba – were named as a task force to research the meaning of Human and Community Development for application to the long-standing ministry of healthcare. Healthcare institutions were changing rapidly during this period of time leading to increased partnership with lay men and women.

In 1983, Wheaton Franciscan Services, Inc., was created to serve as the parent corporation for the health, shelter, and human services organizations sponsored by the Wheaton Franciscans. Human and Community Development was the mission of this newly formed entity. Sr. Dawn Capilupo was instrumental in developing education on HCD throughout the new system of services.

Happenings Throughout America in 1966

After his contract was sold to the American League, Emmett Ashford became the first African-American umpire in major league baseball. He made his debut at D.C. Stadium on April 11, 1966 and quickly became a spectator favorite, known for sprinting around the infield after foul balls or plays on the bases. Ashford also brought a new style to being an umpire. He wore jewelry, including flashy cuff links, and wore polished shoes and freshly-pressed suits. His colorful style included a personal trademark: when a batter received a base-on-balls, instead of simply calling “Ball Four,” Ashford would grandly intone, “Ball Fo-uh, you may proceed to first base.” 

At the 38th Academy Awards, The Sound of Music won five Oscars, including Best Picture. Although based on the von Trapp family memoirs, the film took liberties with the facts. For example, there were 10 von Trapp children, not seven, and Maria came to the household as a tutor for one of them rather than a governess for all of them.  While today you can tour the sets and even stay at the Villa Trapp in Salzburg, Austria, The Sound of Music couldn’t be shot at the villa itself because at the time it was being used by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.  

How much Daily Life Cost in 1966:  

  • New home: $23,300.00  
  • New car: $ 2,752.00 
  • Month’s Rent: $120.00 
  • Gallon of regular gas: $0.32  
  • Dozen eggs: $0.60  
  • Gallon of Milk: $0.99 
  • Cup of Coffee: $0.37 
  • Movie Ticket: $1.25 
  • 5lbs of Sugar: $0.55  
  • Harvard Yearly Tuition: $1,760.00 
  • Burger King Whopper: $0.37 
  • Bottle (no cans) of 6oz of Coca Cola: $0.10 

Women’s Fashions in 1966

The mini skirt continued to be popular, while the conservative hemline was just above the knee. Conversely, pant suits for women began gaining traction but were considered improper for the workplace or fine dining. The popularity of color televisions coupled with the hit new TV show Batman, starring Adam West, introduced a bright new color palette to the world of fashion. Women’s fashion trends included colorful dresses, plaid & floral patterns, hats, and even cowboy attire inspired by popular Western films.