Eulogy for Sister Francis Alma Royer, Oct. 18, 1925-May 13, 2015

May 15, 2015 by

Sister Frances Alma Royer

Sister Francis Alma Royer

VIGIL: May 15, 2015, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Mary Savoie

It is indeed a privilege for me to be here this evening to share, not only information about where and how Sister Francis Alma served others all her life, but also who she was personally. A quote which I would like all of us to keep in mind during this sharing is one which I believe fits Sister Francis Alma to the core. It is: “BE OF LOVE A LITTLE MORE CAREFUL THAN OF ANYTHING.” (e.e. cummings)

web-Dorothy-EulogySister Francis Alma Royer was born in Dryburg, Mich., on Oct. 18, 1925, and given the name Mary Gertrude. She was baptized in the Catholic Church in nearby Rudyard, Mich. Her parents, Frank and Alma (Savoie) Royer, two sisters (Rita and Melita) and one brother (Lewie) preceded her in death. Four brothers (Raymond, Wilfred, Arthur and Leo), three sisters (Theresa, Janet and Gail) and several nieces and nephews are still with us.

Mary Gertrude Royer, at the age of 16, was received into the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Sept. 5, 1942. In a letter of recommendation at the time of her entrance, from her local parish priest wrote this message to Mother Chrysostom: “Gertrude to is a fine Catholic girl of excellent Catholic parents, a regular communicant   To my knowledge she is well qualified for admission to your order.” Others who entered at the same time as Gertrude were Monica Schneider, Barbara Bader, Stanislaus Porter and Judith Demmy.

Gertrude began her novitiate training on March 19, 1943, and received the name Sister Francis Alma. On March 19, 1944, she pronounced her first vows, and final vows in March 1947.

In 1951, Sister Francis Alma earned her nursing degree from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in Salina. This began her 32 years of ministry in health care as a professional nurse.   As early as age 8, when anyone asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would say, “I want to be a nurse and help people get well.”

Sister Francis Alma ministered as a nurse in several locations. Between 1951 and 1956 she served as staff nurse in the medical unit at the Nemaha County Hospital in Seneca, Kan.; from 1957 to 1961 she ministered as supervisor of a surgical unit at St. John’s Hospital in Salina; between 1962 and 1967 she served as supervisor of an alcoholic and psychiatric unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas; and from 1968 to 1983 as supervisor of the surgical and medical unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Belvidere, Ill.

She wrote this about her many years of nursing service: “My ministry to the sick and dying and their families has been my presence as we worked together for healing. Almost daily I found myself praying with them and their families. I also prayed with the staff as they requested prayers for themselves and their families.”

Another time she wrote: “I enjoyed my ministry at the hospitals, listening and praying with the sick and their families. With joy, I daily saw healing and wellness. I loved my ministry of compassionate presence and I found my ministry to the sick and dying most rewarding.

Following those many years of ministry as a nurse, Sister Francis Alma requested a sabbatical. During the academic year of 1984-85, she graduated from the University of St. Louis with a certificate as Clinical Pastoral Chaplin.

Her ministries thus lead her to a position as pastoral chaplain at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Hobart and Gary, Ind., between 1985 and 1991. She said of herself during that time: “I feel challenged in this ministry, but I feel respected and loved by the patients, their families and my co-workers.”

While ministering in Indiana, she had an opportunity to join several other doctors and nurses on a two-week mission trip to Guatemala.   She wrote this about the work there: “ Working in another culture has been a valuable experience. It sure made me think when I saw the little they had. It’s something that stays with me.”

In 1992, Sister Francis Alma moved to Las Cruces, N.M., to live with her cousin, Sister Lucienne Savoie. There she ministered as a pastoral counselor at the Memorial Medical Center. Her friends say that she always had a ready smile, gentle manner, and sincere prayer to accompany her visits with patients and their families which was a great source of relief and peace to all she encountered.

During her last years of ministry in Las Cruces, Sister Francis Alma began to develop early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.   In November 2000 she came back to Kansas to live at Medaille Center in Salina.   From there she moved to the Motherhouse in Concordia in January 2003. At the time, she said: “I am so grateful for my life here at the Motherhouse and feel blessed to be able to be here where it is so peaceful, where I can pray alone or with other Sisters. My wish is that I can be a prayerful presence to all as others are for me.”

Sister Francis Alma’s final move was to Mount Joseph Senior Village in Concordia in 2009 where she received excellent care from so many, particularly Sisters Anne Martin Reinert and Betty Maschka, many other Sisters and, of course, the staff at that facility. She said this during her experience there: “I am living at Mount Joseph now. I commit to be a good friend and companion, help others where and when I can and pray a lot in gratitude for all the graces I receive each day from my loving God.”

As I reflect on the life of Sister Francis Alma, these words about her stand out: humble, happy and cheerful, loving, gentle, grateful, peaceful, warm and friendly, compassionate, committed, and prayerful.

Sister Francis Alma Royer, at the age of 89 years, went to her eternal home on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

The day after she died was the Feast of the Ascension. As I was reflecting on the Scripture readings for that day, I was reminded of your life among us, Sister Francis Alma, and the message you would most likely want to leave with all of us, your Sisters of St. Joseph, your loving family members, and your friends.

The reading is from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians (4:1-13):

“Dear brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord (or, as Francis Alma would say, I a prisoner of Alzheimer’s) I urge you all to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve unity through the bond of peace, as you are all called by the Lord, in one faith, one God, who is over all and through all and in all.”

And above all, be of love a little more careful than of anything. Amen.”

 

 

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Memorials for Sister Francis Alma Royer may be given to the Sisters of St. Joseph Health Care/Retirement Fund or the Apostolic Works of the Sisters; P.O Box 279, Concordia KS 66901. To make an online donation in Sister Francis Alma’s memory, click on the button below:

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Comments

4 Responses to “Eulogy for Sister Francis Alma Royer, Oct. 18, 1925-May 13, 2015”

  1. Nancy Fogelstrom on May 15th, 2015 8:59 am

    To my wonderful aunt, Sister Francis Alma, I will miss you so very much but I am grateful you are no longer suffering. I know you are at peace now with our Lord and with your sisters, Rita and Melida. I know we will see each other again in Heaven. I love you….

  2. Betsy Gasperich-Miller on May 14th, 2015 6:18 pm

    I remember her……..thank you, dear Sister for your loving service.
    I am consoled, knowing that you are our heavenly Advocate and will
    continue to pray for us.

  3. Jodi Creten on May 14th, 2015 5:39 pm

    Always gentle. Always loving. RIP

  4. Anne M.Reinert on May 13th, 2015 7:34 pm

    Blessings, dear friend, you have enriched my life.

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