Two members of the congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany have been named as recipients of Holy Name Province’s Francis Medal, announced Vincent Laviano, OFM, guardian of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Sr. Mary McNally, OSF, and Sr. Patricia Shirley, OSF, will both be awarded the Francis Medal on Sunday, March 19, during a Mass and ceremony in the chapel at the St. Petersburg friary. The awards will be presented to the Franciscan nuns by Anthony Carrozzo, OFM, who resides at St. Anthony Friary.
During the presentation ceremony, the award citations for the sisters will be read by other friars who live at the St. Petersburg friary, including Jerome Massimino, OFM – for Sr. Mary – and John Marino, OFM, for Sr. Patricia.
The Francis Medal, established by HNP in 1998, acknowledges individuals who advance the values and ideals of St. Francis of Assisi, support the Franciscan friars in living and proclaiming the Gospel in the example of the Order’s founding father, and assist the friars in their ministry work.
“I am very honored and humbled to receive the Francis Medal from my brother friars,” said Sr. Patricia, who will mark her 60th year as a Franciscan Sister of Allegany in September. “I have known and have been supported by my Franciscan brothers in all of those years. They were my teachers at St. Bonaventure University, my colleagues in Jamaica, and chaplains in the health care facilities where I worked. They have truly been my friends and spiritual companions on this journey – and I am grateful for their care, guidance and compassion.
“They have taught me a way of life that has brought meaning, joy and depth to my life – and my hope would be that in some small way, my life has touched theirs. To be honored with this Francis Medal touches my awareness that so often the little we can do for each other, connects us ever so deeply,” added Sr. Patricia, who has been involved at St. Anthony and St. Joseph hospitals since 1986 – as the first chaplain of St. Anthony, vice president of mission at St. Joseph, and as a member of the boards. She also serves her community as health care coordinator.
The fraternity at St. Anthony Friary shared the citations with HNP NOW in advance of the ceremony.
The citation for Sr. Mary, who has 60 years in the Order, in part said, “Sr. Mary… is well-known to many [HNP] friars, but especially to those who have been patients at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, where [she] has ministered for many years. She has not only been an unfailing advocate, assisting us in settling into the hospital, but also visiting us regularly… [Sr. Mary] has proven… to be our sister not only in name, but also in fact. For this, we honor her with the Francis Medal with our prayerful gratitude.”
In the citation for Sr. Patricia, she was lauded for the comforting assistance she provided to the friars in St. Petersburg during the pandemic.
“Sr. Pat became widely known among the friars at St. Anthony Friary when she seemingly appeared out of nowhere to assist us during the… [Covid-19] pandemic,” the citation said in part. “Seeking out locations, filling out forms, organizing caravans to vaccination sites – she was the warm, reassuring sister whose presence confirmed that all would be well,” the citation reads.
“Sr. Pat continues to help us in our in-house nursing needs. For this, we honor her with the Francis Medal as a small sign of our gratitude,” the citation concludes.