As an integral part of our Catholic Franciscan University, University Ministry and its staff are here to serve and welcome each member of the USF community no matter your faith or religious background. Following the example of our patrons saints Francis and Clare, we challenge students to recognize God’s presence in all things. University Ministry at St. Francis is centered on our four cornerstones of prayer, discipleship, community, and service. All are invited to join in the faith life of this vibrant community.
Located on the third floor of the Motherhouse, the St. Joseph Chapel was dedicated in 1893 and originally served as the spiritual home of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, the University’s sponsoring congregation. Today the chapel is used for University liturgies and prayer. The chapel is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week when school is in session and provides the University community with a space for quiet and prayer.
Mass times are as follows:
- Sunday at 7 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel
- Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 12:15 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel
- Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. in the Tower Hall Chapel
- Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in the Immaculate Conception Chapel at the St. Clare campus
- Feast Days and Holy Days of Obligation will be announced
Reconciliation is always offered before Mass on Sundays or anytime by appointment.
An Interfaith Reflection Space is available across the hall from the St. Joseph Chapel. It is a place for quiet reflection and prayer for people of all faiths.
Alumni and select other friends of St. Francis are eligible to use the St. Joseph Chapel for the celebration of their wedding ceremony. The wedding couple must include at least one alumnus/a and it must be a Catholic wedding ceremony approved by the Diocese of Joliet. If you are interested in getting married in the St. Joseph Chapel, please contact Jessica Peek, Director of University Ministry, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University Ministry offers two retreats each year. Each semester, students have the opportunity to participate in an overnight retreat offered by University Ministry. Students of all faiths and of no faith at all are welcome to participate in our retreats. Please contact Sr. Gayle Rusbasan, Assistant Director of University Ministry, at email@example.com for more information.
University Ministry is comprised of professional full-time staff and a group of student leaders called Peer Ministers. Peer Ministers organize programming in residence halls, lead small faith communities, help to lead retreats, serve as lectors and Eucharistic Ministers at Mass, plan service projects and much more.
For information on how to become a Peer Minister, contact Jessica Peek, Director of University Ministry, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During breaks and over the summer, University Ministry offers students the opportunity to serve, learn, and grow through mission experiences. If you would like more information about participating in any of these opportunities, please contact Jessica Peek, Director of University Ministry, at email@example.com.
Fall Break (Nazareth Farm, West Virginia)
Students are encouraged to spend their fall break participating in this experiential opportunity which truly embodies Franciscan living.
“Nazareth Farm is a Catholic community in rural West Virginia that transforms lives through a service-retreat experience. We are devoted to living out the Gospel message through the cornerstones of community, simplicity, prayer, and service. We serve alongside our neighbors to address substandard housing by providing home repair. We celebrate the richness of Appalachia and experience God by building relationships between our volunteers and the local community.”
In the past, USF students have been joined by other colleges such as: Creighton (NE), Aquinas (MI) and Notre Dame (IN).
INTERESTED? Seven students per year are able to join this trip, which costs approximately $275. University Ministry takes applications from August through September.
University of St. Francis students have the opportunity to join the Diocese of Joliet University Mission to Bacolod, Philippines. The primary goal of the mission is to build a house with the Gawad Kalinga organization. Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, Inc. (GK) is a Philippine-based movement that aims to end poverty for 5 million families, by first restoring the dignity of the poor. Students who attend also dialogue with local university students and spend time with families in the village.
INTERESTED? The trip usually leaves at the end of December or early in January and lasts around 10 days. Please contact Jessica Peek for more information.
Each spring break students are offered an alternative spring break trip; the purpose of which is to serve the chosen area, build community among students, and grow as an individual in faith. USF students have gone to Whole Kids Outreach in Missouri and to Biloxi, Mississippi to help with home repair/construction/demolition through Hope CDA – an agency helping residents, six years after Hurricane Katrina, to recover. Our place may change, but the purpose will always remain – to live lives of service.
INTERESTED? The trip costs approximately $250-$300. University Ministry takes names from December through February so that the group size, cost and arrangements can be finalized. Deposits are required by Feb. 1.
Summer Break (Bolivia)
The University Mission to Sucre, Bolivia began in 1995 through the efforts of Sr. Dolores Zemont, O.S.F., at the University of St. Francis. In 2001, it was expanded by the Diocese of Joliet’s Peace and Social Justice Ministry to include students from all three of the diocese’s Catholic universities: Benedictine University, Lewis University and the University of St. Francis. In partnership with the Diocese’s Peace and Justice office, students from the College of DuPage, Elmhurst College, Joliet Junior College and North Central College are also included in this mission opportunity. While in Sucre, students serve at several orphanages, day care centers, a hospital built by the diocese and two psychiatric centers.
INTERESTED? The Bolivia Mission generally occurs for 12-15 days in June. Please contact Jessica Peek for more information.
University Ministry Team
Vice President for Mission Integration and Ministry
Fr. Terry Deffenbaugh
Director of University Ministry
Sr. Gayle Rusbasan, OSF
Assistant Director of Campus Ministry