Friends, fellow religious remember Sister Frances Evans, CCVI

by Susan Moses

North Texas Catholic

July 28, 2017

Sister Frances Evans, CCVI, conducts a blood analysis in the laboratory of Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christ around 1965. (Photo courtesy Sisters of the Incarnate Word)

Editor’s Note: This story contains information from North Texas Catholic archives.

FORT WORTH — The eternal life of Sister Frances Evans, CCVI, was celebrated July 28 in a Mass of Christian Burial with Bishop Michael Olson presiding at St. Andrew Church in Fort Worth.

The religious woman passed away on July 22, days before her 91st birthday on July 31. She was the last Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word (CCVI) to serve in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Sr. Frances gave 64 years of her life to religious and trailblazing work, spending decades as a medical technician in San Antonio, Amarillo, and later in Fort Worth at St. Joseph Hospital. She later became its first director of social services after helping start up its social work department. She considered her work and ministering to cancer patients as one of her proudest achievements.

“Sr. Frances was a woman of great love and compassion. She was committed to health care, and she kept up her social services ministry even after St. Joseph’s Hospital closed,” said Sister Margaret Snyder, CCVI, general councilor of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.

Sister Louise Smith, SSMN, remembered, “She was a one-woman social agency, doing all kinds of good things for whomever was in need. She did so much for the whole community.”

In addition to serving the sick and needy, Sr. Frances had another passion: the Texas Rangers. Known affectionately as one of the “Baseball Nuns,” she cheered on the Rangers at every home game since the team’s first opening day, along with her close friend Sister Maggie Hession, CCVI, who died in 2013. The pair also attended three playoff games and, in the early 1990s, got hits off former Texas Rangers pitcher and president, Nolan Ryan, during a Rangers fantasy camp.

“There was no more loyal and passionate Rangers’ fan than Sister Frances,” said the Texas Rangers in a July 22 statement. Members of the Texas Rangers organization served as pallbearers, and many more attended her funeral.

For more than ten years, Rangers employees Cheryl Johnson and Dennis Sell met Sr. Frances in the stadium’s parking lot and transported her to her seat in a cart. “She cared about you and about everyone she met. She was family to us,” said Johnson.

Sister Frances Evans, CCVI, is shown with Rangers legend Pudge Rodriguez in 2014. (Photo courtesy M. McWilliams/Facebook)

Sell agreed, “She was a special inspiration to everybody who crossed her path.” The two gave roses to Sr. Frances on her birthday and visited her when she moved to an assisted living community.

Born on July 31, 1926 in Temple, Sister Frances graduated from Corsicana High School and went on to receive her degree in laboratory technique from Gradwhol School in St. Louis. She earned her master’s degree in Social Work from Tulane University in New Orleans.

It was while Sister Frances was a lab technician at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio that she first met the CCVI sisters — as an Episcopalian.

“Then a friend invited me to Mass,” she said.  “My curiosity was aroused and I did a lot of reading” before becoming Catholic and joining the order in 1950.

The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word were founded in Texas in 1866, ministering to the faithful in the areas of health care, education, and spiritual and pastoral ministry. More than 300 CCVIs continue the charism of their order in various countries.

Sr. Margaret was one of eight CCVI sisters who travelled from San Antonio to Fort Worth to pay their last respects to the woman who was “a blessing to so many.” She said, “She was a woman with much joy and a lot of energy. She was one who lived fully that abundant life that we are promised. We remember and rejoice in her life.”

Memorial contributions can be made to:

Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Retirement Fund, 4530 Broadway St., San Antonio, TX 78209

Cancer Care Services, 623 S. Henderson St., Fort Worth TX 76104

Alzheimer’s Association, 2630 West Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76102

FORT WORTH — The eternal life of Sister Frances Evans, CCVI, was celebrated July 28 in a Mass of Christian Burial with Bishop Michael Olson presiding at St. Andrew Church in Fort Worth.

Published (until 12/27/2035)