by Nathan Hokama
The presence and involvement of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities continue to have a positive influence on St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii. We are fortunate to have two jubilarians working among us: Sister William Marie Eleniki, OSF, and Sister Norise Kaiser, OSF, who each recently celebrated 50 years since their profession as Sisters of St. Francis.
Both started as teachers, and today these exemplary servants hold important leadership roles in St. Francis Healthcare System, imparting their years of experience, insight and wisdom into our healthcare ministry and to ensure lay leaders can faithfully carry on work that the Sisters began.
In her role as leader of the Foundation, she is responsible for raising funds to support the current operations of St. Francis Healthcare System’s various healthcare services. She also plays a critical role in acquiring capital to finance future services that support St. Francis Healthcare System’s plans for strategic growth.
“Each day is a learning experience, and we are never too old to learn or to share our gifts, faith and talents,” Sister William Marie said, in reflecting on being a Sister of St. Francis. “I have learned that all people are basically the same, trying to do the best we can with what God has given us. With the love of God, we can accomplish many things.” Refresh! St. Francis Healthcare System Ap2013 With a relatively small Foundation team, Sister William Marie has been able to successfully raise millions of dollars through grants, events and investments, including $8 million for St. Francis Intergenerational Center, which recently opened and offers a preschool and adult day care program for residents in the rapidly growing West Oahu region. Proceeds from the recent “A Night of Magic and Miracles,” a Foundation event, will help Our Lady of Kea`au expand its retreat center and homeless outreach services in Waianae, and support the upcoming skilled nursing facility in the Sullivan Building on the Liliha campus. The Foundation is already planning their next big event: the 12th Annual Golf Healthy Challenge golf tournament on May 9, which will benefit a number of different St. Francis programs.
Sister Norise, who serves as Senior Vice President – Mission and Values Integration for St. Francis Healthcare System, is responsible for shaping the culture of our healthcare ministry. She serves as a champion of fairness and justice for employees and all those we serve, advocating for doing what is pono in the eyes of God, and impressing on lay leaders the importance of remaining faithful to the Franciscan values in our policies and practices.
She is known for her “mission moments” that inspire Spirit-led introspection that move us closer in our walk with God. You can count on Sister Norise to always be fully present, giving her undivided attention, a listening ear, and words of wisdom seasoned with grace and understanding.
Sister Norise said: “I adopted this quote from the late Dag Hammarskjold as my personal motto: ‘For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, YES!’ This was my prayer as I crossed the threshold of the Sisters of St. Francis Motherhouse on September 8, 1962 and has been my prayer at every step and transition since. This enables me to close doors and open new ones; to face challenges with trust and hope; to live my call open to the surprises the Lord has in store each and every moment.
“There is a second quote that accompanies the first that resonates deep within me, ‘…at some moment I said YES, and that has made all the difference.’ It means fulfillment, being unconditionally loved and cherished, service and ministry, adventure to faraway places with strange sounding names, touching and being touched by the lives of so many brothers and sisters, facing the challenges with courage, and recognizing the abundant rainbows. Being a Sister of St. Francis truly has made all the difference. “