On Thursday, December 19, 2019, SSM Health honored the Felician Sisters for their 80 years of service to SSM Health Southern Illinois. Five of our Sisters, Sr. Mary Clarette Stryzewski, Sr. Mary Ramona Dombrowski, Sr. Mary Andrea Chudzik, Sr. Mary Michael Gurgone and Sr. Mary Monica Szczepkowski, represented the 140 Felician Sisters who have served at St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia since they took over management of the facility in 1939.
The original hospital, which was dedicated in 1909, had a capacity of 22 beds. By 1982, it had expanded to a capacity of 246. In 1997, a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) between SSM Health and the Felician Sisters was established and continues today.
Throughout the decades of change and growth, the Felician Sisters and staff diligently worked to keep up with the rapidly changing technology, provide for the community’s needs and maintain the compassionate service that began the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
In gratitude for their service, the Felician Sisters were presented with the restored Madonna rendering that once adorned the exterior of the hospital building. Renovations necessitated its removal, but it will have a new home in the green space south of the SSM Health Cancer Center. The Sisters were also given a Madonna statue as a reminder of their service and generosity to the community.