Sister Frances Simanek

Sister Frances SimanekVisiting with Sister Frances Simanek and having a reflective conversation is an invitation to visit her past and view all that is, and has been, as blessings in ministry, relationships, and her personal journey.

Sister credits her parents and siblings for the positive view she has on life and on life’s experience. “We were so loved, and we loved each other,” she said. “We, my six brothers and five sisters, always helped one another and were the best advice-givers for each other. We prayed together often that we would be good and be the best we could be.”

“That’s why it was hard to come to the convent,” she continued. “I missed my parents and siblings so much. Yet, I wanted to join my sister Mary Alice in the convent, and I am so happy I did. It is just right for me.” She said her late sister is “such an inspiration for me, and I pray for, with, and to her every day.”

Sister Frances was a beloved teacher who was a model for her students on how to live in Christ’s love and serve others. Her students would say that she understood how to make each of them feel wanted and special. With her quiet voice and compassion, Sister had her students eager to learn. Discipline never seemed to be an issue because one understanding look from Sister was all that was needed to have students “shape up.”

Sister Frances was a teacher or principal at schools in Wisconsin and Illinois for 52 years. She also taught summer school, catechizing children who were unable to attend a Catholic school.  Sister says, “I loved those children who came to learn about our loving God and to receive the sacraments.”

Sister Francis shared that her mission experiences were all so good. She said that everyone was so helpful, all the time. Sister felt that all the sisters loved, enjoyed, and cared about each other. She remembers the special feeling when she got to climb the ladder to get the cloths to cover the statues in church for Lent. Everyone on the mission worked together to have the church be ready for this liturgical season.

Sister Frances and her sister Mary Alice were awesome bakers who generously donated their time and talent to bake a variety of cookies and their special peach pecan quick bread for the Fall Festival for many years. When they moved to Sacred Heart, they retired all their baking equipment and dedicated themselves to the ministry of prayer and presence.

Sister said that that throughout her religious life, she has worked and lived with “wonderful people. Credit is given to everyone. Each person is gift.”

She sees her retirement at Sacred Heart as gift and treasure. Positivity, an appreciation of all of God’s creation, and a love of jokes and laughter keep Frances on the same track: that life is good.  Her journey continues to be filled with prayer, care, and blessings for all. Thank you, Sister Frances, for being gift and treasure for us all.