Franciscan Ministries Announces Plans to Transfer Housing Properties to Mercy Housing

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October 29, 2015 Wheaton, IL and Denver, CO – The Wheaton Franciscan Sisters are pleased to announce a new direction for Franciscan Ministries, Inc. under ownership and sponsorship of Mercy Housing, Inc.

The proposed transfer is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2016 subject to the successful completion of due diligence, and will include Franciscan Ministries’ current 2,620 units of housing in addition to the pending acquisition of another 1,200 units in eight states.

Based in Denver, CO, Mercy Housing is one of the nation’s largest affordable housing nonprofits. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1981, the organization is dedicated to the development, preservation, management, and financing of affordable, program-enriched housing. The Founding Communities of Mercy Housing include eight congregations of Catholic Women Religious across the country. With a presence in 41 states, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Colorado, Mercy Housing serves tens of thousands of people with low incomes, including families, seniors, veterans, and people with special needs.

This transition is planned to occur in conjunction with the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters’ transfer of their health care ministries: the Iowa entities to Mercy Health Network; the Southeast Wisconsin entities to Ascension; and Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Illinois to Northwestern Medicine.

“This decision came after a lengthy discernment process by the Sisters as we are aging and our numbers are getting smaller in the United States. We wanted to transfer our corporate ministries while these ministries are healthy, fiscally sound, and have a strong sense of mission and values,” said Sister Pat Norton, Chair of the Sponsor Member Board for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. “The choice to transfer our ministries ensures that the needs of the times will continue to be addressed in each community, as the Sisters have worked for during more than 140 years,” she added.

“As the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters looked for the best way to assure their Mission will endure, it became clear that the ministries would be best served by seeking out the optimal organization for Franciscan Ministries and each of our health care regions,” said John Oliverio, President and CEO. “The organizations we are joining will provide the necessary vision, resources and stability to position each ministry for success,” added Oliverio.

“We selected Mercy Housing as the ideal organization to assume stewardship of our housing assets because of its reputation as a leader in providing affordable housing and supportive services. Mercy Housing will be an excellent fit with our values and mission to provide quality affordable housing in a compassionate environment,” said Sue Dillberg, President and CEO of Franciscan Ministries.

“We are thrilled to explore this opportunity with Franciscan Ministries,” said Jane Graf, CEO and President of Mercy Housing. “The missions of our two organizations are well aligned: like Franciscan Ministries, Mercy Housing has a strong commitment to serving the communities in which we operate with the vision and compassion of our founding Sisters. And like Franciscan Ministries, we strongly believe in the power of affordable housing to enrich lives. We are honored to be asked to carry on the tradition of the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters in their housing ministry.”

The transfer is contingent upon final negotiation of definitive agreements and the receipt of all required approvals.

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Franciscan Ministries is a division of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, a Catholic, not-for-profit organization with more than 100 sites in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois including 14 hospital campuses, three transitional and extended care facilities, two home health agencies, nearly 3,000 physicians, 70 clinic sites with more than 500 employed physicians, and more than 17,000 associates. Franciscan Ministries has 2,620 units of independent and assisted living and other housing in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Franciscan Ministries’ pending acquisition of 1,200 additional units in eight states is expected to proceed.

Franciscan Ministries is committed to providing quality affordable housing in a compassionate environment that promotes wholeness of life within ourselves and the communities we serve. Franciscan Ministries was incorporated in 1983 as the holding company for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s housing entities. Learn more about Franciscan Ministries at Started more than 140 years ago and formally incorporated in 1983, the System is sponsored by the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters. Corporate services offices are located in Wheaton, Illinois and Glendale, Wisconsin.

Mercy Housing is one of the nation’s largest affordable housing nonprofits. Established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1981, Mercy Housing has more than 30 years’ experience developing, preserving, managing, and financing affordable, program-enriched housing. The Founding Communities of Mercy Housing include eight congregations of Catholic Women Religious across the country. Mercy Housing’s subsidiaries further the organization’s mission: Mercy Housing Management Group offers professional property management, Mercy Loan Fund finances local nonprofit organizations, and Mercy Housing Portfolio Services assists communities across the country deal with the foreclosure crisis.

Serving tens of thousands of people with low incomes in 41 states, Mercy Housing works with families, seniors, veterans, and people with special needs in order to build a more humane world where poverty is alleviated, communities are healthy, and all people can develop their full potential. To learn more about Mercy Housing and the services it provides, visit