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Francetta McCann, OP

“I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
Who will bear my light to
them? Whom shall I send?”

Here I am, Lord is Sister Francetta McCann’s favorite hymn. For a time, in her younger years as she lay in her bed at Marywood contemplating ministry, this song woke her night after night. “That’s when I knew I was being called to work with people with addictions.”

A nurse by training, care-taking has long been a part of Sister Francetta’s ministries. She transitioned from healthcare to social services in 1991. For the next nine years, she provided pregnancy support and advised people in recovery from addictions. In 2000, she became a liaison for Heartside Ministries.

The people she saw in her ministries overlapped at times: homeless, prostituted, addict, runaway. “So many are on the streets because of abusive circumstances,” she shares. “Many of the lost have undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues or developmental delays. They’ve ended up on the street because they haven’t received needed health care or support services.”

Francis & Mabel Martendale McCann
Francis & Mabel Martendale McCann, parents of Sister Francetta McCann, OP.

What Helped Form Sister Francetta’s View of the World?

Memories of her parents helping others are vivid. “They believed God helped them in their time of need and they would respond in kind their entire lives,” says Sister Francetta.

“People used to line up at our house to see my mom. Each night at dinner, my siblings and I would ask her, ‘Mom, who did you counsel today?’”

“My dad saw pregnant single women waiting for help at The Salvation Army. He went and got $5 bills and gave one to each at Christmas.”

She smiles warmly as she recalls how her parents taught her about being available to people. “People knew where to come when they needed help: a meal, clothes, a bed to sleep in, a place to sober up. Friends, family, strangers; if they needed support, my parents opened the doors to our home.”

Sister Francetta knows she learned to say, “Here I am, Lord” from the example shown by her mom and dad.

“You never know the life that you can change by really seeing a person and starting a conversation.”

Sister Francetta with her father, Francis McCann.
Sister Francetta with her father, Francis McCann.