By Katie Love
Sister Barbaralie Stiefermann’s forthcoming book, Sacred Heart Sanitarium and Its Many Faces, will take readers on a journey through time as it examines the School Sisters of St. Francis’ history as it relates to the facility known today as Sacred Heart. The title of the book is apt because the original facility, which opened in 1893, has continued to evolve over the years to meet the needs of the times.
Sister Barbaralie began her research on Sacred Heart Sanitarium (SHS) in 2019 and began writing during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. She said she frantically started writing for fear she might succumb to the coronavirus herself. She wanted to be sure to complete this history of another health care story that began over a century ago.
Fortunately, she had already completed the research, so she was able to engage in a write-a-thon while simultaneously writing a journal on life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sister Barbaralie has previously written three books, including a memoir and biographies of Mother Stanislaus and Mother Corona.
“Not a lot of people know the many things this building was, or the tremendous legacies that have been left behind,” Sister Barbaralie noted. When asked who some of the most fascinating characters are that have emerged from writing this book and what makes them so interesting, Sister Barbaralie did not hesitate.
“Mother Alexia,” she said, “for her courage, strength, and humility in the undertaking of Sacred Heart Sanitarium, and her ability to follow through with her plans for the facility. Gospel people are basically indestructible—that’s who I think Mother Alexia was.”
Read more about Sister Barbaralie’s book in the website Media Room.
The School Sisters of St. Francis meet the needs of the times in the United States through their varied ministries.
Today our sisters of the Latin American Region serve in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru.
Today our sisters of the European Province serve in Germany and Switzerland.
In India, the School Sisters of St. Francis have served those in need since the 1930s. In October 2015, the School Sisters of St. Francis’ Assisi Province in southern India launched a new mission to Tanzania.