Four Clinton Franciscan Sisters celebrate their Jubilee, the anniversary of entrance into religious life, this year. Sisters Phyllis Morris, Marjorie Wisor, Theresa Judge, and Anne Martin Phelan have a combined 260 years of service to God’s people. A renewal of vows will be held in July.
Sister Phyllis Morris, a native of Clinton, IA, entered in 1952, made her first profession of vows in 1955, and her final profession in 1958.
Sister Phyllis attended Mount St. Clare College, received a B.S. in Physical Science from the University of Notre Dame, and received an M.A. in Science Education from George Peabody College. She did further study at the University of Iowa and Franciscan School of Theology as well as in three locations in Lima, Peru, for her Peruvian teaching degree and religious education certification.
She was one of four sisters who originally went to Peru in 1965 to open a school. Many years were spent in Chulucanas, Peru — first serving as principal of Santa Cruz School and later as Parish Pastoral Assistant, Director of Catechetics, Pastoral Coordinator, and Finance Coordinator.
She has also served as a teacher at St. Gerald School in Oak Lawn, IL; Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield, CA; Danbury Catholic High School in Danbury, IA; and Mount St. Clare Academy and College.
She served two years in Portland, OR, at the Franciscan Renewal Center. During her time there, she had the opportunity to work with a ceramic artist who taught her the craft. She began a ministry of designing peace-themed ceramic art.
Sister Phyllis retired from full-time ministry in Peru in 2018. She continues her work as a ceramic artist, inspiring many through her unique designs to promote nonviolence and peacemaking.
Sister Marjorie Wisor, a native of Goose Lake, IA, entered in 1952, made her first profession of vows in 1955, and final profession in 1958.
She attended Mount St. Clare College, earned a B.A. in French from San Diego College for Women, and an M.A. in French from the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Sister Marjorie did further study at Case Western Reserve University and St. Louis University, where she received an M.A. in Religious Studies.
Sister Marjorie was a teacher at St. John’s School in Victor, IA; Our Lady of Good Council School in Fonda, IA; and Sacred Heart School in Clinton. She taught French at Mount St. Clare College; Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg, NY; and St. Louis University. She served in the area of pastoral ministry at St. Bernard’s Parish in Madison, WI; St. Paul’s Parish in Mosinee, WI; and St. Thomas More Parish in Paducah, KY.
While studying in France in the late 1960s, she met the founder of L’Arche, an international federation of homes for people with developmental disabilities. After volunteering with L’Arche in Trosly, France, she worked to establish a L’Arche community in Clinton in 1974, where she served as Director until 1986.
Sister Marjorie has also served as a member of the formation team for the Sisters of St. Francis and as Director of the Carondelet Family Literacy Program in St. Louis.
She retired from full-time ministry in 2017. Currently, she oversees the library at The Canticle, plays the keyboard, and enjoys networking with the L’Arche Clinton community.
Sister Theresa Judge, a native of rural Elvira, IA, entered in 1962, professed first vows in 1965, and made her final vows in 1968.
She earned her A.A. degree from Mount St. Clare College, B.A. in Education from Marycrest College, and M.A. in English Literature from Western Illinois University.
She has primarily ministered in education, teaching at Sacred Heart School in Clinton, IA; St. Ann School in Toluca, IL; St. Gerald School in Oak Lawn, IL; and Mount St. Clare College and its successors, The Franciscan University (of the Prairies) and Ashford University.
While serving at the collegiate level from 1976 to 2015, Sister Theresa held many roles: Resident Director, Tennis Coach, Athletic Director, Dean of Students, English Instructor, and Department Chair. She accompanied students and community members on university sponsored trips to England for many years.
She retired from full-time ministry in 2015, but continued her service on several boards in the local area. Sister Theresa currently volunteers for the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, L’Arche Clinton, Clinton Human Rights Commission, and Clinton YWCA Racial Justice Committee.
She was appointed to the position of General Secretary for the Sisters of St. Francis in 2021, where she assists the congregation’s president with official correspondence and is responsible for preserving all deeds, documents, and the seal of the congregation.
In her spare time, Sister Theresa loves to read and be a caregiver for pets in their owners’ absence. She has a special bond with many furry friends in Clinton!
Sister Anne Martin Phelan, a native of Mingo, IA, entered in 1962, made her first profession in 1965, and professed final vows in 1968.
She earned her A.A. in Education from Mount St. Clare College, a B.S. in Education from Marycrest College, and an M.A. in Education from DePaul University.
Sister Anne Martin served as a teacher at St. Francis de Paula School in Chicago, IL; St. Columbkille School in Varina, IA; and Mary, Star of the Sea School in Freeport, Grand Bahama. She was also principal at St. Gerald School in Oak Lawn, IL.
While at St. Francis de Paula, she organized a summer volunteer program through the Job Corps in which sisters and Mount St. Clare College students worked with students at St. Francis de Paula. While at St. Gerald’s, she began a gifted student program as well as an extended day program for students, both of which remain in existence at St. Gerald’s today.
In 1996, she began working in the Development Office for the Sisters of St. Francis where she ministered for sixteen years. Answering the calls to congregational leadership, Sister Anne Martin has served terms as Councilor, Vice President, and President.
She moved to Illinois in 2016 and volunteered at Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. School for Exceptional Children in Tinley Park. In the spring of 2018, she became the Religious Education Coordinator at St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, where she still ministers today.
Additionally, Sister Anne Martin serves as the Coordinator of the Sojourner Relationship and Associate Partnership Programs for the Sisters of St. Francis.