Trinity Health System’s history traces back to 1901 with the opening of Gill Memorial Hospital. In 1931, four Sylvania Franciscan Sisters responded to a request to provide their management expertise to the 30-bed facility located in downtown Steubenville. The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio began their work in 1916 in Toledo, Ohio and later built their motherhouse in Sylvania, Ohio in 1917. In 1960, with expansion of Gill Memorial Hospital, at its original location, was impossible due to the lack of property space, they constructed St. John Hospital at the present location of Trinity West.
Later this year the last two Sylvania Franciscan Sisters serving at Trinity will be relocated depart for to other Sylvania Franciscan ministries in Indiana and Texas. Paula Blevins, OSF and Nancy Ferguson, OSF will be serving in other capacities in other communities, but will always be remembered for their selfless service to the residents of the Greater Steubenville area.
These sisters have been an integral part of Steubenville and also served at St. Pius the Tenth Parish where they established the school (`in 1970), and also served at Aquinas Central School and Catholic Central High School. They have always adapted their ministry in response to God’s call and the values of St. Francis and St. Clare to serve the ever-changing needs of the human family. Committed to reverence and respect, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio are active in issues of peace and justice and care of the environment. Since 1917, the Sisters have taught in 125 schools in thirteen states and ministered in twenty hospitals in seven states.
Upon leaving, Sister Paula said, “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve with the people here in Steubenville (now) Trinity Health System. I feel I have received more than I have given. I am who I am today because of all the wonderful people I have shared this ministry with since 1979. Steubenville/Trinity will always have a special place in my heart. I am greatly blessed.”
“Over the years, Sylvania Franciscan Sisters have held many roles, but always strove to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to those who came for care. I will soon be serving in a new capacity for Mission in another Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) facility in Texas, but will miss my Steubenville community greatly. The Sylvania Franciscans leave a legacy of Franciscan values and believe all those who are partners in our ministry will keep our heritage alive,” added Sister Nancy.
According to Matt Grimshaw, Trinity Regional CEO, “The Sylvania Franciscan sisters have left a permanent mark on not only Trinity Health System, but on our community. If it weren’t for their dedication and service, we would not be the organization we are today, and they will be missed by all. Our great task is to live out their calling in our work each day, knowing that although their full-time presence here has changed, their spirit remains. We will remain connected at a regional level, and we know that we will always be in their thoughts and prayer.”
Trinity Health System would like to thank the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, for their dedication to healthcare and humanity and their tireless efforts in improving the lives of the residents of Steubenville and the surrounding area.