In Memory of Sister Jane Kiefer

It is with a heavy heart Saint Francis Healthcare System shares the passing of Sister Jane Ann Kiefer, OSF. On Tuesday, March 8, Sister Jane passed away at the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters Motherhouse in Wheaton, Ill.

“Sister Jane was the epitome of Mission at Saint Francis. For more than four decades, she ministered to patients and colleagues across the Healthcare System. She set an example for us to care for all who enter our doors with integrity, dignity, compassion and excellence,” said Justin Davison, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Francis Healthcare System. “Her legacy is inspiring, and we will remember her fondly.”

Sister Jane was the third youngest of eight children. She grew up on a farm in Oran, Mo., raising chickens, pigs, cattle and horses. In the eighth grade, she knew that the Lord was calling her to ministry but felt it was important for her to learn to make a living for herself before entering the convent.

She graduated from Oran High School and went to work in a garment factory in Chaffee, Mo., for about a year. She worked another few years in an office in St. Louis before entering the convent at the age of 20.

Sister Jane joined the Franciscan Sisters in Wheaton in November 1948 and worked in Catholic healthcare in Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri.

In 1976, she returned to Southeast Missouri to start a medical social work program at Saint Francis Medical Center. At the time, social work programs did not exist in the area and served as an extraordinary way to advocate for patients. She transferred to Pastoral Care in 1985 and served as a chaplain for 13 years. During this time, she became the sole religious sister remaining at Saint Francis.

After retiring in 1998, Sister Jane continued her service at the Medical Center as a volunteer. She could be seen at the hospital nearly every day until her return to the Motherhouse in November 2019.

Sister Jane always felt it was important to lead by example through following the Catholic faith. Her kindness and devotion for others are captured in a small line from her 70th Jubilee celebration in 2018 – “In lieu of gifts, charitable acts toward others would be appreciated.”

“We mourn her passing and celebrate her life and legacy,” said Davison.