Biographies

Sister Eleanor Francis Andrews, MM

Born: October 24, 1903
Entered: December 8, 1934
Died: October 8, 1963

Mother Mary Joseph’s eighth anniversary brought word from Sister Maura Shaun of the death of our dear Sister Eleanor Francis who passed to eternal life at the Hospital in Manapla, Bacolod City. Philippines on October 8, at 3:45 p.m. Here at the Motherhouse we had just come from the Novitiate chapel, after listening to one of Mother’s lovely taped conferences, when the message was received. We rejoiced with Mother that another of her Maryknoll daughters had gone to join our family in heaven.

Sister Eleanor Francis (Eleanor Josephine Andrews) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 24, 1903, one of four children. After her early education in Catholic schools and Nurses training at Boston City Hospital, she worked for nine years as a Registered Nurse in various Boston Hospitals. Through reading the Field Afar magazine, she became interested in a missionary vocation and entered Maryknoll on December 8, 1934. She received the habit on June 30, 1935, and made First Profession on March 7, 1937.

Early in 1937 plans were completed for the beginning of our work in Japan, and Sister Eleanor Francis was one of the four Sisters assigned there on March 31. This pioneer band sailed on May 20, but their stay in Japan was to be shortlived. The following October Sister left Japan for the Philippines, where she served in St. Paul’s Hospital until 1942 when she was interned with other Maryknollers until the Liberation in 1945. Following her first decennial in 1947, Sister began work in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bacolod City. After a second leave ten years later, she was appointed Superior of that Hospital and remained in that capacity until a few months ago.

It was in January of this year that Sister’s illness became apparent and she soon found out that she would have only a few months to live. Of Sister’s acceptance of this news, Sister Maura Shaun wrote: “Sister Eleanor Francis is very peaceful. She accepts the approach of death without anxiety, as if she were very well prepared prayerfully. She refrained from asking any questions about herself and the operation for a whole week. When she did ask, we could see that she had everything well figured out for herself. She is certainly uncomfortable, but uncomplaining, and cooperates perfectly with doctors and nurses. She gives a good example of a patient, as she formerly did of a hospital Sister.”

Though she suffered for a long time, death came rather suddenly at the end and how welcome it must have been to Sister Eleanor Francis. After Mass in the Hospital chapel, Sister’s body will be interred in the Manapla Catholic Cemetery, until transfer can be made to our own mausoleum in Quezon City.

Before entering Maryknoll Sister had expressed the desire “to serve God more perfectly.” Those who knew her in her active life and in her hours of suffering know how well she lived out that purpose. May our suffrages help to obtain for her a speedy attainment of the Beatific Vision.