Briar Cliff dedicates Sisters of St. Francis Prayer Garden


SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Briar Cliff University held a dedication ceremony on Oct. 2 for the new Sisters of Saint Francis Prayer and Reflection Garden on campus.

Located between Heelan Hall and the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace, the peaceful setting was designed to honor the 191 members of Briar Cliff’s founding order who have served at the university — from the school’s 12 foundresses to the group of sisters who still currently work and teach at the university.

All 191 women are listed on a commemorative plaque in the garden.

“Our commitment to our students builds upon those simple life teachings modeled by these influential women,” Tina Stroud, vice president of university relations and a Briar Cliff alumnae, said at the ceremony. “They embraced us, challenged who we thought we were going to be and taught us the importance of self-sacrifice.”

The garden was made possible thanks to generous donations from BCU alumni, many of whom attended the ceremony. The event, which included a blessing from the Rev. Gerald Feierfeil, was held in conjunction with Homecoming and Alumni Weekend on campus.

If you wish to make a donation in honor of a sister, visit

Photo: Dr. Hamid Shirvani, president of BCU, with the Sisters of St. Francis currently serving at Briar Cliff: (From left): Sister Ruth Schock, associate professor of education; Sister Janet May, director of campus ministry; and Sister Shirley Fineran, assistant professor of social work. Not pictured is Sr. Mary Jane Koenigs, librarian.  Photo contributed by Briar Cliff University.