LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Since the 1800's, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have served La Crosse in many areas including health and education.
They announced Tuesday they will transfer complete oversight of Mayo Clinic Health System, St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Iowa and Viterbo University in La Crosse to lay leadership.
The sisters are known to have served the La Crosse area as nurses, lab technicians, volunteers, and so much more.
But beyond their work as nurses and teachers, the Franciscan Sisters are actively working to combat issues of homelessness, human trafficking and immigration.
They say ending sponsorship of the hospitals and university will allow them to put their efforts where they see they are most needed.
"Now, being that they're so well-lead and everything, we think, we trust that they will go forward you know and we want to address more maybe collaborating with other organizations to address the need of today like human trafficking, or homelessness, or care for the environment," said FSPA President Sister Karen Leuck.
Those representing Mayo and Viterbo say while they appreciate the Sisters' guidance, there will be no change in the day-to-day mission and work of both organizations.
"We remain a mission-driven organization that believes in values, the Mayo Clinic values and the Franciscan values are essentially one and the same," said Tim Johnson, regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System.
"They're a group of vibrant inspirational women and as always, they're really focused on serving what they see is the needs of our community and they give inspiration to me, our faculty, our students and they'll continue to do so," said Viterbo President Glena Temple.
Sister Karen Leuck says the transfer of control affects more of the governance rather than the missions.
She says she has no doubt the organizations will continue with the same goals of serving people, but it's time for the sisters to continue with their focus on bringing light to areas of darkness.
"There is a lot of needs and we're ready to serve," she said.
St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Iowa and Viterbo University in La Crosse will keep their Catholic identities.
Viterbo is now developing a ministry. There are no plans to change Mayo Clinic's name.
The transfer of oversight will take effect July 1st.
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