Sister Francis Edwards receives ‘Friend of Nursing’ award
Sister Francis Edwards graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 1953. She has also been a Sister of Providence for 73 years.
Her love of the college has never faded and when she learned the college had plans to create a nursing degree program for students, she wanted to help in any way she could.
An avid reader, Sister Francis had subscribed to medical magazines and journals. Over the course of the past year, she has donated those journals and magazines to the department in addition to helping find books for the program.
“The department is new to the college,” Sister Francis said. The college nursing program welcomed its first students this year.
“I knew our college library didn’t have too many medical books,” Sister Francis added. “They had some, of course, but not enough.”
So, Sister Francis sprang to action, delivering books, magazines and journals to the college library.
Nursing graduates receive pins following graduation from any university or college as a welcome to the profession.
On Friday, Dec. 11, the five students received their nursing pin from the college. Designed by the college, the center of the pin includes an engraving of a lamp used by Florence Nightingale. The outside portion of the pin includes the words Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
“I was interested in the students and happy to see them graduate,” Sister Francis said. “The program was very nice, simple and direct. It was pleasant for everyone.”
Sister Barbara Battista, herself a physician’s assistant, participated in the pinning ceremony by conducting a blessing for the graduates. She said the Nursing Department Chairperson, Dr. Marcia Miller, had invited Sister Francis to attend, but did not tell her she was to receive the award.
“I offered to be Sister Francis’ companion for the evening,” Sister Barbara said. “Marcia and I discussed whether or not to let Sister Francis know ahead of time, but we both agreed that it would be best to surprise her.
“Sister Francis has been very supportive of this department. She has contributed numerous resources for their library, including reference books, articles and other items of interest. The faculty and staff feel well supported by Sister Francis.”
Sister Francis said she did not expect to receive any recognition at all.
“I didn’t know a thing about it,” she said. “I was very surprised. I didn’t expect it.”
“She was pleased, quietly pleased with a big grin on her face,” Sister Barbara added.
Although Sister Francis has a background in education, she was excited when she learned of the college’s nursing program and hopes to see the program flourish in the future.
“I have interest in that department,” she said. “I want it to succeed.”