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The Felician Sisters’ transforming sponsorship


The Felician Sisters of North America are embarking on a bold plan to transform their presence in Southern Illinois to respond to the changing health, social and other needs of the under-resourced and marginalized. As part of the plan, the Felician Sisters are transitioning from co-sponsorship of SSM Health, Illinois to sole sponsorship of the newly established St. Clare Foundation.

“The Felician Sisters are excited to share with you our deepening commitment to the community by transitioning our role from health ministry co-sponsor to full sponsorship of a newly established foundation,” said Sr. Clarette Stryzewski, CSSF, Chairperson, St. Clare Foundation. “The new Felician-sponsored St. Clare Foundation will serve as a catalyst for a healthy community and support local community agencies with the needed funding to address the health and social needs of the most vulnerable. We expect the foundation to be fully operational by 2025.”

The Felician Sisters and SSM Health believe this will improve the overall health and well-being of the community and ensure the long-term sustainability of health care and social services in the region. While the St. Clare Foundation is in its very early stages, the ministry plans to focus on key areas of need, including food insecurity, behavioral health access, homelessness, substance abuse and poverty.

“SSM Health is deeply grateful for our partnership with the Felician Sisters, which has flourished for more than 25 years,” said Michael Baumgartner, Regional President of SSM Health, Illinois. “Now, with the founding of the Felician-sponsored St. Clare Foundation, our continued collaboration will further expand care for those who need it most. Achieving overall health and well-being reaches far beyond the walls of our hospitals, and the complementary work of the foundation will play a significant role in improving the lives of the people in our community.”

Patients, team members and the community will not experience any changes in the exceptional care and services they have come to expect from SSM Health.

The Felician Sisters and SSM Health first came together in 1996 to co-sponsor SSM Health, Illinois, which includes SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital ­— Centralia, SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital — Mount Vernon, and the local SSM Health Medical Group. The transition of sponsorship is expected to be complete Dec. 31, 2025.

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