Sister Frances “Fran” Schumer has not only fulfilled the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) mission through her ministry but also in many other ways throughout the Newman community.
The U.S. ASC order, rooted in the Gospel of Jesus, are ecclesial women, living in community, witnessing God’s love in mission to empower others, foster oneness, celebrate life, form right relationships and walk as compassionate companions.
Schumer originally joined the ASC 53 years ago in Ruma, Illinois. She continues to serve as the executive director of ASC Health for St. Louis and is a member of the Community Life Chain at the ASC Wichita Center. In the past year, she’s become an active volunteer on the Newman campus.
Between 2006 and 2012, Schumer served on the ASC leadership team for the U.S. Her roles and responsibilities included monthly trips to Wichita and it wasn’t long before she found a second home at Newman University.
“I fell in love with Wichita and I love Newman,” Schumer said. “I love what Newman does, I love what it stands for, and I’m proud to be connected with it.”
Schumer’s newfound love resulted in her decision to move to Wichita three years ago, and since then, she has continued her ministry as a member of the ASC community.
When some time developed in her schedule, Schumer decided to use it by volunteering at Newman.
“I wanted to have a closer connection to this community, so I contacted Rosemary Niedens and asked where they could use a sister volunteer,” Schumer said. “I knew that Sister (Mary) Renee Kirmer, who had been volunteering in the Registrar’s office, passed away unexpectedly last September. So Rosemary connected me to Shirley (Rueb) and as they say, everything else is history.”
Registrar Emeritus Shirley Rueb said Schumer has spent the last few months assisting primarily with filing and shredding.
“We enjoy having her here,” Rueb said. “Not only because she helps us so quietly and efficiently with those necessary chores but because she gives us a connection with the ASCs — something that is very important to me and to the Registrar’s office.”
The second floor of Sacred Heart Hall features framed photos of ASC sisters whose work and involvement on campus have impacted the Newman community in some way. Schumer’s photo is the newest addition among the seven others who have been recognized for their contributions.
One of the stand-out aspects of being involved at Newman is the opportunity to talk with and get to know the students, Schumer said.
“I’m always so impressed with them,” Schumer explained. “The caliber of students, the desire they have to really want to make a difference in the world — it’s what we and our mission is about as Adorers.
“I feel so proud when I attend banquets, alumni events and other events at Newman. When you consider the fact that we are a small Catholic college in the middle of Kansas and yet the impact that people who have been here are having on our world, it just thrills my heart.”
Schumer explained that, at one point in her life, she had what she refers to as a Messiah-complex.
“I was going to save the world — forgetting about the fact that Jesus Christ had already done that and I didn’t need to reinvent that,” she said.
Many of Schumer’s work roles were considered hands-on, whether it be teaching in schools or working with children who were emotionally or behaviorally disturbed. When her skills, talents and call in the community led to more management-style positions over time, she said she struggled to accept the shift.
“I thought, ‘What am I doing to transform the world by sitting in an office, being public relations director in a hospital, or whatever else it was?’ But then I realized that through that, I’ve been able to walk with a lot of people, encouraging them, helping them develop their skills and their talents.”
Schumer currently oversees three long-term care facilities and continues to visit them on a regular basis. The care ministries include Villa Maria in Mulvane, Kansas, St. Joseph’s Vallencourt in David City, Nebraska, and a large continuing care facility in Columbia, Pennsylvania.
“I may not be the one that’s providing care to the staff that is there, but yet hopefully I can be an encouragement and can, in a sense, walk with them as they provide that healing touch to the elderly and those in their last years of life,” she said.
“I don’t know how much of an impact I have had, but I just enjoy knowing that at least I’m a little piece of the puzzle,” Schumer added. “And you know, maybe filing and shredding doesn’t seem like it is changing the world, but I work with a great group of women in the Registrar’s office. And if I can be a support to them, as they are a support to the bigger organization, then, in the end, God sees and that’s all that matters.”