SISTER M. CANISIA GERLACH, O.S.F.
Sister M. Canisia Gerlach 96, a member of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis died at 5:45 a.m., Thursday, May 26, 2011 at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, IL.
She was born on August 29, 1914 in Sindersfeld-Kirchhain, Germany to Joseph and Maria Anna Balzer Gerlach.
On Feb. 23, 1935, she entered the convent at Bad Pyrmont, Germany. Sister made Perpetual Profession of Vows in 1943. She received her Registered Nurse’s Diploma at St. Francis School of Nursing in Peoria, IL; C.R.N.A. at St. Francis School of Anesthesia; Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at Creighton University, Omaha, NB; Master Degree in Healthcare Administration at St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO.
During Sister’s 76 years in Religious Live, she served as Nursing Supervisor at St. Joseph Hospital, Keokuk, IA; at Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria, IL. She also served as Instructor and Director of Saint Francis School of Nurse Anesthesia in Peoria, IL. At the completion of her Masters Program in 1960, Sister Canisia was missioned to Saint Francis Medical Center as the Hospital Administrator. She served in this position for 38 years. During her time serving as Administrator, she saw major building projects completed. The Gerlach Building, the Medical Center’s large critical care tower, was named in her honor. She has led Saint Francis Medical Center in providing quality healthcare to all persons regardless of their ability to pay. The purpose of Sister’s life was to give glory to God not to herself. In her words, “Jesus called us to minister to all persons and by serving the sick, we serve Christ Himself.”
She served many years as a Council Member and on the Governing Board in our Religious Community. She was a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and was the first religious to serve as a Corporate Member on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Board. In 1993, she received the Edith A. Cohen Business/Industry Award from the YWCA and in 2000 was presented the American College of Healthcare Executives outstanding Heathcare Executive of the Regent’s Award. In 2001, she was a recipient of the Diocese of Peoria’s Pere Marquette Award. Sister retired to the Motherhouse Infirmary, East Peoria, IL on January 16, 2006.
Visitation will be at 2-8 p.m. on Monday, May 30, also from 9-10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at the Motherhouse, East Peoria, IL. Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at the Motherhouse with Msgr. Rick J. Oberch officiating. Burial will be in the Mater Dolorosa Cemetery at the Motherhouse in East Peoria. Arrangements are by Wright & Salmon Mortuary in Peoria.