Sr. Katherine Franchett and Sr. Bernadette Helfert joined the Sisters of Charity on the same day in 1957 and have been close friends ever since. After serving in leadership roles in education and healthcare ministries for more than 50 years, they offer important perspectives of experience and examples of service to associates continuing the mission of SCL Health.
The sisters recently joined a Leadership Roundtable at St. Vincent to share their story. In addition to sharing their journey, they offered advice to associates. When asked about how they approach leadership and staying focused in a fast-paced environment with emerging challenges, they offered a few simple reminders and everyday practices.
First, that taking time for prayer and silent self-reflection is essential. “When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it is important to find a moment of quiet for reflection and prayer,” shared Sr. Katherine. With prayer as a central part of their lives, the sisters take time each morning for silent prayer and reflection and they shared that it can be a sustaining practice even when you feel that you may not have ‘time’ to do it.
They also reminded associates that staying connected to the mission and the ‘caring spirit’ of the sisters is a powerful way to remain grounded when faced with a difficult situation with a patient, visitor, or fellow associate. Sr. Bernadette shared the guidance of Mother Xavier Ross, founder of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, to welcome whoever comes through the door “as if they are Christ.” By acknowledging the dignity of each person, it provides an opportunity to encounter each other with respect and humility.
Finally, they shared the foundational, but important, ethic of excellence. As sisters, they are called to a commitment to excellence in all of their ministries, using their God-given talents and resources to do great work.
The sisters continue their connection and commitment to the organization in many ways, including volunteering together every Wednesday at guest services at St. Vincent.
“The legacy of the Sisters of Charity is important to the organization,” said Sr. Katherine. “By sharing it with current associates and leaders, we can help to extend that legacy knowing that the mission and charism of the sisters will continue into the future.”