SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Sister Mary Francis Cannon, a native of Spartanburg, S.C., professed her vows for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities Aug. 12 at St. Anthony Convent chapel.
Sister Mary Francis grew up as a Southern Baptist. She became a Catholic after attending Mass with a friend.
“I found my voice and my heart’s desire in this new religion and ultimately decided to convert to Roman Catholicism,” she said in a press release from the convent.
She entered into preparation for living a life as a religious sister beginning in 1996 through a residency contact year, moving on to postulancy, a two-year novitiate, temporary vows and finally perpetual profession.
The majority of her ministry has been as a pre-school and elementary teacher in public and parochial schools. She has also done volunteer ministry in a variety of settings with the terminally ill, with aging sisters, in a hospital, with single mothers, with those in need of medical care, and with bereaved children.
She has worked at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, and currently works at Crouse Irving Hospital in Syracuse. She regularly covers the Kienzel Family Maternity Center, the neonatal intensive care and medical/surgical pediatric unit.
Sister Mary Francis said religious life “offers a wonderful opportunity to role model the ability of diverse human beings to live together in community with a sense of belonging and seeking justice and peace for all.”
The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities is the new union formed out of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin of Hastings-on-Hudson, the Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order of Syracuse, and the Sisters of St. Francis Third Order Regular of Buffalo.
They are rooted in the Gospel and energized by the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare, according to their mission.