Born to Life
November 17, 1939
June 13, 1959
Born to Eternal Life
June 29, 2023
Our Lady of the Angels
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Peter and Belinda Schermann, young farmers in rural Winsted, Minnesota, welcomed their first child, a daughter, into the world on November 17, 1939. The daughter was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Winsted and was given the name Rosemary. Rosemary was the oldest of five children. All the children attended Holy Trinity Catholic School, where the School Sisters of St. Francis taught grades 1-12. The Schermann family and the sisters frequently helped each other out.
In 1958, after finishing high school, Rosemary entered St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee. She was received into the novitiate in 1959 and given the name Sister Francita. She wanted to be a missionary and to work with the poor. After her profession, she was sent to Reserve, Wisconsin, where she did missionary work. In 1969, responding to a clear call for help at the motherhouse, Sister Francita moved back to St. Joseph Convent and helped in the kitchen.
Then Sister Francita changed her career. From 1971-1972, she attended Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Milwaukee and became a certified Licensed Practical Nurse. From 1972-1983, she ministered at St. Joseph Convent in Campbellsport, Wisconsin, as a nurse and driver for the sisters. She loved being able to minister to the dying sisters. In 1983, Sister moved back to Milwaukee and continued nursing for the sisters at Maryhill Retirement Center.
For the next 25 years, Sister Francita ministered in home health care and private duty nursing in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Minnesota. During that time, she also helped in food service when and where needed.
Answering the call of respecting life, she also visited inmates. Sanctioned by School Sister of St. Francis community leaders, Sister Francita began writing to prisoners on death row in Alabama. This led to becoming a pen pal to some of them. After a time, a prisoner requested she visit him, which she did. A trust relationship developed between them.
With time, she got to know him personally as an individual, along with his family. Sister prayed that, through her visits with him, she would be an instrument of God’s grace. Sister accompanied him to his execution and his burial. Following this experience, she journeyed with four more prisoners who were on death row.
Due to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, Sister Francita moved to Milwaukee to have access to treatments. She continued volunteering her services to others. In 2018, as the need for treatments increased, she moved to Our Lady of the Angels Convent in Greenfield, Wisconsin, where there is specialized assistance for care. As her case of Parkinson’s disease and time allowed, she participated in activities, programs, and religious services. Sister Francita enjoyed her time with the sisters at Our Lady of Angels Convent and was a prayerful presence there.