Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF Vice President for Mission Integration and University Ministry University of St Francis, Joliet, IL Vicaress/First Councilor Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart Sister Mary Elizabeth Imler was elected this spring (2014) to serve as first councilor after previously serving two terms (1999-04, 2004-09) as General Superior for her religious congregation with a 125-year tradition. She will continue serving as VP for Mission at the University of St Francis, sponsored by the Joliet OSF’s. Time permitting she enjoys ministering as retreat director, facilitator and Franciscan resource and annually leading pilgrimages in Assisi for FPP. Since 1991, she had been serving as Co-Director of the Portiuncula Center for Prayer. Responsibilities included directing, planning and coordinating retreats and workshops in areas of growth for adult and high school programs. Responsibilities in the corporate realm have included teaming for mission integration as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the Franciscan Sisters Health Care Corporation, University of St. Francis, Chairing St. Joseph College of Nursing and two terms as Board President for Retreats International. Sister served in the Presidency for Franciscan Federation of North America in 2001-2003 and was the sponsoring Member for her congregation with Catholic Healthcare West. She continues active participation as Chair for the sponsoring Member of Presence Health, the largest Catholic healthcare system in Illinois.

Professional experience began as a Research Chemist for Uniroyal Research and Development Labs before moving into academia. She then served as Science Department Chair and Diocesan Advisor while teaching Chemistry and Physics at both the secondary and college level. Interest grew in the area of spiritual development while coordinating high school retreat programs, faculty in-services and diocesan talks on sacraments and prayer.

Educational background began at St. Mary’s College/Notre Dame University with majors in Physics/Chemistry/Secondary Education and continued in a Master’s Program of the same at Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne. On-going development added science topics at Notre Dame University, Hope College, Indiana University and special research at Lorenzo Biblioteca in Florence, Italy. Spiritual Development was enhanced by coursework through Retreats International and Ignatius College in Guelph, Ontario. She completed a Master’s degree at the International Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University, NY in the summer of 1999. Her thesis was printed in 2002: A Franciscan Solitude Experience and the Pilgrim’s Journal. Other programs of development were attended in conjunction with the Franciscan Sisters Healthcare Corporation Board of Directors in areas of leadership, communications, TQM and Healthcare Issues as well as in areas for formation including midlife, massage and Franciscana.

Sister Mary Elizabeth Imler, born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, entered the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1982. Family background has been well rounded with one brother and five sisters and the neighborhood clans playing kickball and chess, reading and climbing trees.

A Franciscan Sister of the Sacred Heart which gives her meaning and the touch of the Beloved

Lover of foods Cooking and savoring Fasting and feasting

Lover of community In the stories of the past and in the personalities of today In what we can be for others and what it can be for our own conversion

But above all

Lover of Love Continually seeking God in the harmony of creation’s song And in the silence of contemplation.


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