Frances Ginther: a partner in Providence
Frances Ginther never seems to have left the SP mission of love, mercy and justice.
As a young Sister of Providence in the 1960s, she remembers walking in full habit in very poor areas neighboring Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She had come from a family dedicated to service, and this experience of visiting families, seeing their dirt floors and other signs of poverty, set her on a path toward a lifetime of working for the betterment of people in need.
After 20 years as a Sister of Providence, Frances chose to leave the Congregation in 1982. She spent the next 30 years in Chicago working as a nurse, in public health and in health care administration for people with few economic resources. Most recently she served as the executive director of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, a primary health and behavioral health center that serves underserved and uninsured patients.
That mission to serve the poor, the marginalized and the forgotten never left her.
During her time at the Infant Welfare Society, Frances would network with her friend Sister Patty Fillenwarth, director of Providence Family Services in Chicago, an SP ministry that provides reduced-fee bilingual counseling and other services.
In 1999 Frances brought her talents to the advisory board of Providence Family Services. She remains on that board today. In that role she advised for and helped bring about Guerin Outreach Ministries, the non-profit umbrella corporation that now allows three SP ministries to collaborate on fundraising and other support services.
Today Frances also serves as a consultant for Guerin Outreach Ministers, offering guidance and support in the areas of business and financial management, marketing and public relations.
Frances was recently recognized for all her contributions to the Guerin Outreach Ministries by being named the 2013 recipient of the Guerin Outreach Ministries Leadership and Advocacy Award.
“I believe in the mission of Guerin Outreach Ministries: helping the hidden and unseen. They serve the same population that I have endeavored to serve in my whole career: the marginalized, the unseen, the disparate populations,” Frances said.
“These ministries are making a difference in their clients’ lives in every area. They are taking patients, students, clients, counselees, they are taking them where they are and supporting them into a better space, into better life skills, into language use that supports their capacity to earn and support their families. It’s very family-centered work all the way around,” Frances said.
Sister Patty, also the president of the board of Guerin Outreach Ministries, said in presenting the award, “Frances Ginther for many years has been our business advisor and consultant, our listening post and advice giver and, more than anything else, our animator and our friend.
“During the past six years, Frances has done an excellent job of keeping all four ministries: Guerin Outreach Ministries, Educational Family Services, Providence in the Desert, and Providence Family Services, on track, on budget and legal. Frances has managed to do this with tact, kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, skill and knowledge.
“Frances never does things in half measures, and we have all benefited from this thoroughness and diligence,” Sister Patty said.
Guerin Outreach Ministries and the clients they serve are blessed to have the support of such a capable and caring person as Frances Ginther.