More than 75 people attended the Franciscan Sunday & Nativity Showcase event held between noon and 2pm on Epiphany Sunday, Jan. 8, in the Heritage Room at HSHS St. Joseph’s Breese. Sponsored by the Mission in Action Committee, items displayed exposed the community to the hospital’s Franciscan heritage including nativity scenes, featured because St. Francis is credited with establishing this visual reminder of Jesus humble birth.

Prominently featured was the Hospital Sisters’ “Threads of our Community” quilt. This handmade piece of artwork illustrates the culturally diverse ministries becoming one within the Hospital Sisters Health System. The quilt is composed of a block from each of the original 13 Hospital Sisters Health System hospitals, as well as its physician groups, foundation and cardiovascular center.

Attendees could also view a video on the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, founders of the Hospital Sisters Health System, or peruse literature on St. Francis of Assisi, the San Damiano Cross and the HSHS mission and values.

Approximately 60 different nativities were on display including historic sets from the old hospital building and the Holy Cross Sisters who formerly sponsored St. Joseph’s Breese.

Several departments and colleagues also submitted sets. Maintenance Director Curt Rommerskirchen shared a family treasure — a very large nativity scene created by his family. Curt’s mother and her siblings had worked in a ceramics shop in St. Louis as early as the 1960s. His mom eventually had a set made especially for Curt and his wife. His uncle poured and fired the pieces, and his cousin glazed them in pastel hues.

Retiree Mary Heeren shared a small but distinctive scene that represented Breese as the 2016 submission to the Hospital Sisters’ Nativity Festival held annually at the beginning of December in the Chiara Center in Springfield. At first glance it appears to be a sketched portrait of the face of Jesus, but upon further inspection, illustrated details of Christ’s life emerge including a depiction of His nativity.

Theresa Beckmann submitted her large collection of Cherished Teddies nativity figures and a sweet Alaskan igloo scene. Sue Darr provided a Fischer-Price Little People nativity among others, and Sister Joan displayed an exquisitely detailed set from her Sisters in Japan.

Helen Essenpreis shared several family heirlooms including a wooden stable built by her late father. Kathy Timmermann’s collection included a paper display from Assisi, and a set created from modeling clay by her daughter as a child. Paulette Evans, Jan Robert and Julie Schubert also shared unique nativity sets.

Media Contact

Ashley Gramann

Manager, Communications
HSHS Illinois
Office: (618) 526-5439
Cell: (618) 651-2588

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