An account of how a large Catholic medical center has lost its way. Go to to see recent updates.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sister Judith Ann

Sister Judith Ann

The day after my conversations with the nurse who was spreading the deadly rumors, I decided I needed to talk to Sister Judith Ann, President of OSF-Corporate. Sister had long been a big supporter of the Haitian kids, would eat supper with my mom, and come to the Peoria airport to greet the kids when we got off the plane from Haiti. Sister Judith Ann’s title is President of OSF. She had assured me many times over the years, that OSF would never turn away a Haitian child.

When I arrived in her office, she was quite nervous. I sat down and told her that some really vicious rumors were circulating. She interupted me immediately, without me telling them what they were, and told me, “They aren’t true, Dr. John.” She must have heard them. This is not what I wanted to hear from her—I knew they weren’t true. I told her that I had talked to the nurse the day before who was spreading these rumors and that the nurse said they came from a “not low level source” at OSF”. I strongly felt that it was Sister’s responsibility to look into this as a Corporate leader and friend of mine. I asked Sister to simply talk with the nurse. Sister immediately said “no”to my request. It didn't seem that she even thought about her answer. I couldn’t believe she would say “no” so fast. Sister had obviously heard the rumors, was told about them from someone, and said “no” immediately when I told her I had spoken with the nurse and was requestng Sister’s help.

Based on my conversations with Keith Steffen the preceeding 3 months and what a number of people told me he was saying about me, I wanted Sister to investigate thoroughly where these rumors were originating. She talked about things like “we are like squirrels running around in a cage”. Poor Sister was very agitated and nervous and had been told that bad things were coming down the pike by someone. She was also probably told to “deny”. OSF had just fired me and now Sister Judith Ann's feet were being held close to the fire. Just think what the ramifications to OSF would be if Sister found the answer or if someone ratted on someone else? These thoughts had to be going through her head. (Sister Judith Ann told me that day that Jim Farrell, Corporate Director of Marketing/Communication was devastated by the rumors. When I talked to Jim, who was a friend of mine too, he denied hearing any rumors. Sister was being given some false information that was probably fed to her. Corporate did not have their act together any better than SFMC. )

Then, incredibly, when Sister told me that if Administration at SFMC had been responsible for these rumors, she concluded that we just need to "reconcile". (Reconcilliation involves admitting one’s mistakes…would Administration have done that?) I could see Sister was going to do nothing.

As I left her office, I felt totally abandoned by the OSF Sisters whom I had totally trusted for three decades. Plus, I didn’t think they were in control of OSF any longer. In fact, I thought they were being used and their great legacy in Peoria being scandalized. They were figure heads who water plants and pray for people, but running the $1.6 billion OSF health care industry was left to the guys who drive the big cars.


Anonymous said...

When you have a Nun who has nothing to say but "we are like squirrels running around in a cage"You have BIG problems. The statement implies TRAPPED PANIC, IN THE CAGE. Why would she say this if she did not feel unsafe to say anything elese. The Sisters of the order of St.Frnacis need to just omit thier sins, take off the habit, put on the squirrel outfit and let every one see who they really are. They are not incontrol of anything, they are a joke and a disgrace the the catholic religion.

been there done that said...

you should realize by now these "sisters" have more control than many people think. the squirrel analogy was just the nuns way of pacifying you without appearing to take sides they ALL want steffen in the posisition he has or he would not have it the nuns dont want to play hardball with the big boys they would rather ride in the "big cars" than drive them.and steffen is in the drivers seat

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