Photos by Dorothy Flees
A St. John the Baptist Catholic Church project recalls Marshfield’s early days of medical history, in which it played an important role.
The church recently finished work on its Mother Frances Streitel Center and John Paul II Adoration Chapel in its lower level. Stained glass windows and statuary from the original chapel of St. Joseph’s were incorporated into the center, which will be used for religious education.
The parish and community members quickly raised funds for the project, estimated at $550,000.
The Mother Frances Streitel Center was completed in tribute to Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, who were called to Marshfield in 1890.
In 1888, St. John the Baptist Reverend Paul Geyer had a chance meeting with two Sisters who were in La Crosse to finance a Wichita hospital. He spoke to them of the need for one in Marshfield as well, according to parish history.
Bavarian nun Mother Frances Streitel, founder of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, later arrived with five other Sisters to establish St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Sisters sold $5 insurance coupons for those who worked in the lumber camps to receive free medical care for a year. They staffed the hospital and led many young women to become educated as nurses.
The newly completed John Paul II Adoration Chapel was named in honor of the late Pope, who was known to have a great love for the Blessed Sacrament. Marshfield has participated in 24-hour Perpetual Adoration since 2012 and the Blessed Sacrament will now have a permanent home at the parish.
The chapel includes restored original communion rails from the chapel of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, which stood near St. John’s.
Bishop William Callahan of Diocese of La Crosse will visit the center sometime this summer to bless the project. St. John’s Father Martin was given dispensation to bless the space before active use by the parish.
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church is located at 201 W Blodgett Street.