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c1Msgr. Robert S. Meyer, Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, pins corsage on Sr. Grace. David Roberts is at left. On April 28, 2012, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hoboken NJ, held “An Evening of Gratitude,” honoring Sister Grace Frances Strauber, S.F.P. and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. As Msgr. Robert S. Meyer, Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul, put it: “What an incredible evening, one where we honor a woman who was ahead of her times and whose love and dedication to the poor and vulnerable in Hoboken is still having an impact. Sr. Grace Frances Strauber, as well as her community, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, over the years have brought healing and peace to countless thousands of people…Sr. Grace made it a joy to be an employee of St. Mary, an institution that took its mission to care for the poor seriously…I hope that this evening serves as a small sign of our gratitude to Sr. Grace and to the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor…”

Monsignor Meyer was joined in his praise by Hoboken’s Mayor, Dawn Zimmerman, who added: “…We owe a debt of gratitude for a life time of dedication and sharing.” the physicians and employees of Hoboken University Medical Center (formerly St. Mary Hospital) who were “proud to join the salute to Sr. Grace Frances Strauber, SFP  and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor who founded Hoboken’s only – and New Jersey’s oldest – hospital.”

c2Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (left) and Event Chair David Roberts present Sr. Grace with an iPad Sr. Grace came to St. Mary’s Hospital in January of 1971. The moment she arrived, she hit the ground running to bring the hospital out of financial problems and to organize the medical staff. The first thing Sr. Grace did was to tackle the union contracts that needed to be settled – by locking the administrators in a room until they reached an agreement – which they did the following morning (and she made them breakfast!). “I tried to establish a competent executive staff… whose goal was to make people well. No one was to be turned away.”

“My congregation, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, always treated people the same. Rich or poor, they were all people who needed our help, and we were delighted to be of service.” Sr. Grace left after 15 years when St. Mary’s merged with St. Francis Hospital in Jersey City -- only to come back five years later as Chair of the Board – which she did. And she stayed for three years before moving on again. Sister Grace has done many things, but she says of St. Mary’s, “It was one of the best jobs I ever had…Everyone was dedicated, and really very giving.”

And while she has been to many places and countries, she remembers Hoboken and its people as such a friendly place. “I feel very blessed by God,” Sr. Grace said. “I’ve had a wonderful life and met a lot of good people who have helped me understand the presence of God in our world…”

c3Newark: L to R: Father A. Benny Prado (left), Sr. Grace Frances and Most Reverend Thomas A Donato (right), Auxiliary Bishop of Newark c4Srs. Grace Frances, Rita Marie Donnelly, Anita McArdle

Leah Curtin

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