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Heritage Hall, located on the first floor of Our Lady of Victory Convent in Lemont, Illinois, is a historical testament to the legacy of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. The room serves as an exhibition hall that highlights 125 years of the Sisters’ ministries in education, healthcare, pastoral and social services and senior living communities. Over the years, the Sisters saved documents, books, articles, letters, and photographs relating to the history of their congregation and the tremendous growth it experienced. Here these historical artifacts are on display in six sections that begin with the birth of foundress Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik in Plocicz, Poland, and takes the visitor through the entire history of the Sisters.

Originally opened in the old Motherhouse, Heritage Hall was developed by Sister Anne Marie Knawa and Sister M. Jude Kruszewski. Sister Anne Marie is the Sisters’ historian and author of As God Shall Ordain, a historical chronicle of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. Heritage Hall was dedicated on December 6, 1992.

In 2002, a new convent was built and Heritage Hall was relocated to the new convent. Sister Anne Marie was once again tasked with supervising not only the transfer of the historical collection, but also the expansion and updating of various sections. Thus, the new and improved Heritage Hall was opened on May 20th, 2003. You may read more about Heritage Hall here.

Recently the Sisters decided to update a section in Heritage Hall that focused on the development and leadership of Franciscan Ministries (formerly FSCSC) in 1988, and the senior living communities that have been opened in the past 30 years. Sister Jeanne Marie Toriskie worked on updating this section, giving it a new look.

On September 20th, a very special day in the history of the Sisters as it is the anniversary of the death of foundress Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik, Sister Jeanne Marie unveiled the newly updated Heritage Hall section to all of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago and various guests with a special tour. The Sisters listened as Sister Jeanne Marie showed the new display and gave a demonstration on how it was assembled with all the graphic elements.

Items such as pictures of senior living communities that the Sisters sponsor, photographs of Franciscan Ministries' leadership, and famous quotes by Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik are on display. Below is the Heritage Hall Mission Statement that appears on display when you enter:

Heritage Hall Mission Statement: The Heritage Hall of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago is a testament of God's loving providence in the life of our foundress, Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik, and in the foundation and growth of our Congregation. In a spirit of family, we encourage those who share our faith vision to witness and celebrate the rich traditions of our Franciscan and Marian legacies exhibited in the Heritage Hall. In this hallowed place of Gift and Grace, we, the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, reflect our memorable Past, our Present reality, and our Future thrust thus incarnating the words of Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik: “We continued working to attain the goal for which we had banded together."