December 22, 2008

The last week of Advent. How fast it has gone. “Wait for the Lord, whose day is near.” These are the words to a Taize refrain we sang at Mass this morning. The Lord is already here, but comes to us anew again each Christmas. My prayer is that we can see and recognize how and when the Lord enters our lives each day. God often comes to us through others who are part of our day, if only we have eyes to see God’s intervention in our lives.

Our first news is that Sr. Ramona Johnson very quietly went to heaven Saturday evening, December 20th. What a wonderful example to all of us of patient acceptance of her suffering of Lou Gehrig’s Disease these past 5+ years…to have such a keen mind and have such a hard time communicating her thoughts and desires. May she live in the joy of the Lord.
And now she can celebrate Christmas in heaven!

Another of our Sisters, Sister Susan Schik, is very near to death. She is my classmate. We are in the Reception Class of ’53 I and many Sisters have spent many hours sitting with her these past days. Sister Baptista, her sister, also appreciates having Sisters coming to be with Sister Susan. It is a consolation to know that someone is with the dying person.

Last Thursday we got a new postage machine in the convent mailroom. So far it is not much of a friend of mine…until I get used to it, and learn better how to use it. This afternoon we were putting postage on boxes of Altar Breads. It took two of us a while to figure out how to weigh and postage the boxes. But eventually we got the hang of it. (That little paper pad of our own written directions will be a constant companion for me for a while. Reading the directions from the User’s Guide seemed quite complicated.)

Last Saturday we had about seven inches of new snow. And more is promised for tonight and tomorrow. When it gets too deep for me to feel safe driving the car, I just stay home. I don’t like to get stuck as I’m not much good at shoveling or pushing!

One thing with all this cold weather, the ice is deep so the fisher people can safely play their trade. I know of several people who have been out trying their luck

A couple weeks ago, they had a blessing for our new house in Mexico. Sr. Janice told me the house was duly blessed with about 300 people in attendance for the event and the goodies afterward.

Christmas Eve we will be singing carols for half an hour before the 7:30 p.m. Christmas Mass. All are invited for refreshments afterwards in St. Francis Hall.

Our Mass on Christmas day is at 8:30 a.m. Again, all are invited to attend.

Sunday, December 28th, is the Feast of the Holy Family. My prayer is for all families that there be peace and harmony. I pray for all families that struggle because of addiction, mental illness, chronic sickness or ongoing trials of any kind, that they will be fortified and blessed with God’s special love and favor.

I wish you a Merry Christmas. May the Lord give you special blessings of peace and joy as we celebrate the Birth of Jesus. It was St. Francis who wanted to see with his own eyes what the birth of Jesus would have looked like. So he gathered shepherds and animals in a cave and read the Gospel of Luke and then preached to the people of the wonder of the event of the Birth of the Son of God in such humble circumstances.

Pax et Bonum
Sister Mary Lou


December 16, 2008

Tuesday of the third week of Advent…and Christmas is only nine days away. Three candles on the Advent wreath are lit each day during Mass at our Motherhouse. Last night I was looking at the reflection of our candles. I so enjoy seeing the differing heights of the burning candles as the weeks go by. Today another sign of approaching Christmas appeared in Chapel. Two great big trees are standing one on each side of the sanctuary. Each day an added piece appears until the whole Christmas Crib is in place. To think that God sent His only Son to be with us. What an awesome gift. What awesome love God shows and shares with us.

Sunday we had an old-fashioned blizzard. After we got home from Mass, we all just stayed inside and watched the snow fall and the wind blow. According to the newspaper we got 8 ½ inches of new snow. (I always wonder how they can figure that out when it is moving around so fast.) I hope the homeless can find appropriate shelter in this frigid weather. And God bless those who provide shelter to those in need.

I never like to hear sirens any time. In winter, I always pray that someone has not been in an accident or their home is on fire. Check the smoke detecters and carbon monoxide detecters so you are safe, too.

This morning it was 18 below zero. That’s cold. When I was teaching, I always liked it when we got a few really cold days. It seemed to kill all the “bugs” and the children were healthier. But when they had to stay confined too long, they just passed the germs around from one to another and that was not good.

Last Friday I spent a couple hours at the Coborn’s Superstore “Making a Joyful Noise” as part of the Food Shelf fund-raiser. We collected $187.00. I thought that good in light of the bad economy and the cold night. We were set up next to the Lion’s Club fund-raiser. When people came and gave them a donation and they didn’t want their name on a slip for a chance, the guys would ask if it was OK to put “Food Shelf” on the slip. So the Food Shelf got their name in the Lion’s Club box quite a few times. I guess that some years back, the Food Shelf was winner of a $400 gift certificate for groceries. What a blessing to receive a gift like that. I was also touched by a couple ladies who made a donation and said, “I’ve had to use the food shelf this year. So I can help a little, too,”

Thursday noon we are having our Sister/Employee Christmas pot luck noon luncheon. There is always so much good food. One really has to make choices! We will bring fresh cooked squash.

Friday morning three of us Sisters will be guests on the KLTF radio Party Line program. We will talk about some of our Christmas memories. I am sure there will be some good stories.

May your days be “merry and bright.” It will be a white Christmas in this part of the world!

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


December 10, 2008

The first words I read this morning after I got up were, “Sometimes it seems as if everyone I meet is tired…tired of working, tired of their daily grind, tired of boredom, tired of loneliness, tired of financial pressures, tired of stress, even tired of being tired.”

It almost made me want to go back to bed again! Next I read from the Gospel of Matthew (1:28-30) “Jesus said to the crowds: ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy, and my burden light.’” That lifted my spirits. Christ offers Himself, opening His arms wide, and inviting all who are weary to come to Him and to find rest. When we are “yoked” to Jesus, we can be assured that the Lord will do the heavy lifting and will be our Guide as we move through the day. So the day has moved along nicely and there have been no burdens that I can’t handle. Thank you, God.

The concert last Friday was beyond words to describe. The Strings players were superb and then the Chorale joined them to do the “Halleluiah Chorus”! It was a spiritual experience that brought the audience to their feet. Thanks, Celo.

Sr. Rosaria just came back from her Mother’s funeral. She said it was beautiful. To think that her Mom lived to the age of 114 years. Think of all the changes she had seen in her lifetime. Wow!

Monday we celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception. None of us will soon forget that feast day Mass. Just at the Consecration, the fire sirens started blaring and kept it up until Father said, “Now offer one another a sign of peace.” We had quiet for a short time and then the noise all began again, but for a shorter time. My thought was, “We are all in Chapel and in what safer place could we be?” A sprinkler system head froze and broke and water was coming down the steps as the men ran up the steps to find the problem. One thing we know for sure is that one cannot ignore the fire alarms!

Various departments are having their Christmas parties. Last night I worked at the Convent Switchboard while the regular workers had their party. Today the Community Relations and Development Department had their party and I was invited to that one.

Good food. Good company. Good visiting and sharing. Next Sunday we have our SFO Christmas party in Brainerd. On Sunday, also, is the Heartland Orchestra concert at the Charles Martin Auditorium. Since I don’t yet have bilocation, I guess I will need to give my tickets to someone else to use.

This Friday afternoon/evening I will be going out to the Corborn’s superstore to “Make a Joyful Noise.” This is a fundraiser for the local Food Shelf. I recruited a helper to join me in my four-hour shift. We will make joyful noises and invite people to help our cause.

Winter has definitely come. Between Saturday and Tuesday we had 5 inches of snow. And the temperatures have stayed cold. I don’t mind the cold and snow so much, but I don’t like freezing rain and ice.

God bless and continue to care for you. I’m off to writing more Christmas cards and letters. The second batch went out this morning. There are still more to go!

Sister Mary Lou


December 3, 2008

Welcome to the first week of Advent. I am happy to see Advent Wreaths here and there around campus. It is such a wonderful symbol of waiting for the coming of Our Savior.

Sometimes a day doesn’t go the way one expects it to go. My intention was to write this Monday morning after I got my date pinwheel cookies mixed up. I got half through mixing the cookie dough and got the call asking me to go to Perham to pick up Sister Sylvia to bring her to Little Falls as it seemed that her sister, Sister Susan, was soon to go to heaven. Three hours later I was back here in Little Falls. {Sister Susan is still with us. She is my classmate in Community—the class of ’53.} Anyway, I got the pinwheel cookies put together Monday night. (The recipe is one that Mom got in 1935 from our neighbor on the farm.) The recipe says “to put the rolled up dough in the icebox overnight.” Since we don’t have an icebox anymore, I decided to put the cookie rolls in the trunk of my car until the next day when I’d take it to the Motherhouse to bake as part of the cookie making/baking project Terry had organized. The cookies are now baked and there are lots of containers of goodies ready for the Christmas holidays.

Sunday night, November 30th, the St. Francis Community Chorale put on a wonderful concert, “Oh, What a Wonderful Child.” Our St. Francis Chapel was full of listeners who appreciated the beautiful Advent and Christmas songs. Barb Stumpf is a great director who really knows how to get the music out of the singers.

This same group will sing again this Friday night when they join Celo V”ec and the sfz String Orchestra and the Beginning String Orchestra in the performance of Hallelujah from Handel’s Messiah. As always, I expect the Chapel to be filled to capacity for the Christmas Concert by the String Orchestras…and the Community Chorale.

Saturday is the Feast of St. Nicholas. He always comes with treats to us at the Convent. I hope he brings treats to you, too. I will never forget the great times we had when I was teaching and St. Nicholas came to visit the classrooms. For those who were not good, they got a stick or a lump of coal.

Saturday we have our Advent Reflection Day. Our speaker for this retreat day is Sister Joann Haney, OSF. I think she is a Rochester Franciscan Sister. I am looking forward to a day of quiet prayer and reflection after all the business of this first week of December…and things will only get busier s the weeks to Christmas fly by.

Next Monday, December 8th, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. For us Little Falls Franciscan Sisters, this is our patronal feast. And then a few days later, on December 12th we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron of the Americas.

Take some time to be aware of Who we celebrate at Christmas. And keep in mind and prayer those who will have a tough time in this time of our bad economy.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Happy Thanksgiving.

“Thank God! Give God the praise and the glory. Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things God has done for you, by blessing and extolling God’s Name in song. Before all people honor and proclaim God’s deeds and do not be slack in praising Him.”
(Tobit 12:6)

As I read that verse, I thought, “That is what Thanksgiving is all about.” It is about praising and thanking God for all the many blessings we receive…every day and all the time. What are some of the things I am thankful for? Some are: My family and friends, my Religious Community, health, a warm, safe home, food aplenty, the freedom to pray and worship our God, the freedom to travel. I am grateful for our Service men and women who give up so much to serve. I am grateful for the people who deliver our mail and keep our roads safe… I am grateful for farmers who grow our food and truckers who deliver the food to our grocery stores. The list can go on and on and on. I hope you make your own list of things you are grateful for.

Already on Sunday we have the first Sunday of Advent. (And a month from today is Christmas.) We are starting the season off with a concert by the St. Francis Community Chorale. There are about 30 members in this singing group. They will perform both Advent and Christmas music. The concert is in the St. Francis Convent Chapel at 7 p.m., Sunday, November 30th.

We’ve had some cold days and when the wind in blowing, it really feels cold. Yesterday I put the flannel sheets on my bed. And for some time already, I’ve had on the wool quilt made by my grandmother with wool she hand-carded herself.

Tonight some of us are attending the High School Marching Band Concert at the High School. I like band music. I’ve always enjoyed the band concerts when they have all the bands play—starting with the first year players through the Senior High School players. How well they play and how much they learn over the years. That is a good use of their talents.

I plan on joining my family at our nephew’s home in Hutchinson for Thanksgiving Day. And I don’t even have to drive since my niece, Ann, and her husband will be going through Little Falls on Highway 10 and will stop and take me along with them. Aren’t I the lucky one!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving.
Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


November 20, 2008

By the time I get this written it will be time to do the next one!
Some weeks are like that, right?

Last Friday evening some of us attended the High School musical, My Fair Lady.
What talented youth to act and sing so well. They were marvelous. It was a wonderful evening of song and dance. Thanks students for an entertaining evening.

From the feel of it, winter is here. The wind is really cold...and it will get worse as time goes on.

A week from today is Thanksgiving Day. And there are so many things to be thankful for. One of the things I am thankful for is that Linzy Martin, SFO, from Iowa, was not more seriously hurt than he was. He hit black ice this past week, totaled his car and rolled three or four times and they needed the jaws-of-life to extricate him. He has cuts and bruises, but no broken bones. The angels were really busy protecting him from further injury. I am thankful, too, for my family and friends and all those who care for me in any way. I am thankful, too, to all of our Community donors and those who assist us in any way.

Sr. Georgine submitted some interesting Turkey Trivia in our newsletter for this week.
Some things I learned or remembered again were:

  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621.
  • Benjamin Franklin was the great American statesman who lobbied to make the turkey the national symbol. (I’m glad the eagle won out.)
  • A mature turkey has about 3,500 feathers. (I wonder who counted them.)
  • Minnesota produces the most turkeys annually.
  • Arkansas is third in turkey production. (I don’t know who is second.)
  • The Wampanoag Tribe was the Indian Tribe that celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the colonists.
  • The name of the skin that hangs from a turkey’s neck is called a wattle.
  • Abraham Lincoln was the U.S. President who specified that the Thanksgiving holiday be celebrated on the last Thursday of November.
  • The best way to defrost a turkey is in cold water.
  • Wild turkeys can run up to 25 mph.
Tonight I will go to Brainerd for the Formation class for our three candidates for the Secular Franciscan Order. We meet at St. Andrews Parish in one of their meeting rooms.

God bless you. Have a safe and good weekend.
Pax et Bonum.
Sister Mary Lou


Veterans' Day

God bless all Veterans, living and deceased. Thank you for your services to our country and for all the rest of us. My prayers are for you as I think about the sacrifices you made for us.

Meetings. Meetings. Meetings. That’s about all there has been these days. Last Saturday we had our Little Falls Regional meeting. And today I have four of them!

The Red Cross Bloodmobile drive last week was a grand success. Our goal was 260 units…we received 269. Thanks, generous donors. Others lives will be better because of the gift of your life-blood.

Last evening I was invited to dinner with friends. We had grilled venison from Saturday’s successful hunt. It was delicious. Thanks. (As I was getting up this morning, I was thinking, “They are almost ready to go to work.”)

The weather prophets today talk about rain, freezing rain and snow today in parts of our state. I’d be willing to have it delayed for a while yet!

Be safe and have a good week.
Pax et Bonum
Sister Mary Lou


November 6, 2008

I am late getting my blog written this week. Excuses. Excuses, Excuses. What can I say? I’ll not say anything.

This week we had Election Day. And a busy one it was. I was at work at the City Hall polling place by 5:50 a.m. I know I signed my initials, “ME” at least a thousand times from when I started at 6:15 a.m. until I finished at 1:30 p.m. I was one of three who verified that a voter was registered and then had them sign their name in the book. We had a long line of eager voters ready to do their civic duty when we opened the doors at 7 a.m. In the first 2 ½ hours we had at least 250 voters. When I left at 1:30 the number 764 was on the counter on the ballot counter machine. I vote in a different ward, and I was voter 710 there. This morning Georgia told me that they finished their work and she was home by 10:15 Tuesday night. There were 300 new registered voters in our Ward. And I think heard that all but 173 registered voters in that Ward did not vote. WOW!
I am glad the elections are finally over. I was so tired of all the negative ads.

Last Saturday, we had a Spaghetti Supper at the Motherhouse. It was another successful event. For me one of the best parts {after the spaghetti}, was to enjoy how our guests just sat and visited with one another. Such a good social time together. We knew we would have a big crowd, when we were starting to fill the second dining room by 5 p.m. We welcomed 572 guests. Proceeds from the event benefit St. Francis Music Center and Health and Recreation Center. Thank you, to all who helped with the event. This will be our last food fund raiser until after the kitchen renovation is completed. Stay tuned for an update in the future.

The lead article in our Community Newsletter has some “Tidbits from Archives”. One of them is: “November 4, 1958: Feast of St. Charles Borromeo--Coronation of His Holiness, Pope John XXIII. We watched it on T.V.” I smiled as I read that because now watching something on T.V. is hardly news.

I was in error. Last time I gave a wrong number about the number of youth served at the Children’s Home. “There have been at least 20,000 youth served at the Children’s Home and thousands of staff who have served in the mission of service to youth overt the last 85 years.” (From talk given by John Krueger, Division Director, Catholic Charities of St. Cloud, Director of St. Cloud Children’s Home, October 24, 2008.)

“They” told us that we could experience all four seasons this week. So far we’ve had summer and spring, I think we’re suppose to get fall and winter tomorrow and the next day with possible snow by the weekend. Most of the leaves on our trees are now down. One more raking should do the trick.

Last Sunday the Associates from the West Central Region sponsored a fund-raiser breakfast in Morris. Some of us who worked there through the years went for 8:30 Mass, brunch and to support them. It is always so good to renew friendships and see friends from past years. At the Mass each person from the parish who had died during the past year, was honored by having a family member light a candle after his/her name was read. On our trip to Morris, after we got past Sauk Centre we ran into thick, thick fog. What a surprise. There was no indication of fog before that.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


October 27, 2008

What busy days this past week.

Last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, volunteers inserted the Christmas Appeal letters into 17,000 envelopes, sealed and addressed them and have them ready for mailing…all in 2 ½ days. They worked hard and had lots of fun, too. Thank you, volunteers, for all your help.

Last Thursday morning I stood at the corner of the road west of the Convent to watch the escort of Patriot Guard and others as they took The Vietnam Moving Wall out to Camp Ripley. May God be with them and all the families of those named on The Wall.

Last Friday, Oct. 24th, some of the staff from the St. Cloud Children’s Home came to our Motherhouse 11 a.m. Mass to present an art piece to us Franciscans to honor all those Sisters who served Children from 1895 to 2007. In Little Falls, in 1895 arrangements were made to build an orphanage. The name, St. Otto, was given to the building in honor of Bishop Otto Zardetti of St. Cloud. The building sheltered as many as 95 to 135 children under the care of twelve Sisters. Four teachers were employed nine months of the year. In 1912, the schools were graded and children graduating from the eighth grade received their diplomas from the Superintendent of Public Schools. In June 1924 and in the course of several months the orphans were transferred to the new St. Cloud Orphanage in St. Cloud, MN. By the time the orphanage was established in St. Cloud over 3,000 children had been in the care of the Sisters. From 1924 to 2007, 172 Sisters ministered at the Children’s Home. “The Caregiver” is the name of the statue we received. It is placed near the Chapel entrance.

Saturday afternoon I went out to Camp Ripley to see the Vietnam Moving Wall. What an emotional experience. Just approaching it, I was covered with goose bumps. I had forgotten that Mark Eklund’s name was on that Wall. Brad and Dawn Laager were at the Wall and they reminded me that Mark’s name was on the Wall. We found his name. Mark was the student that Sister Helen Mrosla wrote about in her article, Thank You, Sister, for Teaching Me. Mark died in Vietnam. He was one of her 9th graders when we taught at St. Mary’s School in Morris, MN. On the 64 panels are listed 58,253 names of American soldiers who died, or are POWs and MIAs during the Vietnam War. (This is one of the two ½-size models of the full-size Wall in Washington, DC, that have been travelling around the United States the past many years.) The memorial honors the 2.7 million men and women who served in the U.S. military in Vietnam. I did watch the video explaining the history of the Wall. It was excellent. The Moving Wall came from Wisconsin and will go to Tennessee next.

Saturday was the Halloween Zoo Boo at Pine Grove Zoo. It is always a fun time for youth of all ages. This coming Friday 50+ town businesses will be hosting Trick or Treaters from 3:30 to 5 p.m. It is fun to drive through downtown to see all the costumed youth.

At the Motherhouse we will be having Little Kids Day on Oct. 31st. Children and grandchildren of employees will be our guests. They will come in costume, too…and so will some of the adults. Many activities are planned. The little ones add a real spark to life whenever they are around!

Sunday there were two activities at the same time that I wanted to attend. So, I went to ½ hour of the presentation at Welcoming House in St. Cloud on the Franciscan-Muslim Dialog. What I heard was very good.

Then I went to the St. Cloud Cathedral for a presentation on Franz Jagerstatter, a Martyr for the Faith. Franz was a Secular Franciscan. He was a 37-year-old man who died because he refused to join Hitler’s army. A year ago yesterday, October 26, 2007, he was beatified, a step on the way to being named a saint in the Catholic Church. His 94-year old wife and four daughters were present for his beatification. This morning I typed in his name in Google and found many articles on him and his life. I am eager to read the book about him, A True Story of Almost Matchless Heroism IN SOLITARY WITNESS by Gordon Zahn.

This morning I attended the funeral at St. Mary’s Parish, here in Little Falls, for native son, Father John Miller, age 76. The Bishop and 65+ priests were in attendance. I am always so edified to see how the priests support one another. May Fr. John be enjoying life with the Lord.

Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you cast your ballot in next Tuesday’s elections. Do vote.

Next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the Bloodmobile will be at St. Francis Center. The first two days the hours are 2 to 8 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Giving blood is a life-saving act of charity. God bless all generous donors and volunteers who make for successful days.

Remember to change your clocks—fall back—before you go to bed Saturday night.

I have more things on my list, but they will have to wait until next time.

Peace and God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


October 20, 2008

Peace and blessings as we begin a new week.

I’m glad I make a list so I can, hopefully, remember items I wish to include in this writing.

Last Friday I attended the Vatican Splendors exhibit at the Minnesota History Center Museum in St. Paul. What a wonderful event. There were so many artifacts to see and so much history to hear and read. I rented the listening device so I could hear about the things I was looking at. I did, also, purchase the booklet, so I am going back to reread and read more about what I saw on the walk through the exhibit. I’m so glad I went and I’d encourage you to do so, also.

After lunch, we went to the Minnesota Public Radio station for a tour. What an interesting place. When we went to the library, the question was asked, “How many CDs do you have here?” The answer: About 60,000. That’s a lot. We met a couple on-air announcers and saw lots of the broadcasting studios. As we left, each person was given a book. I received In Search of a Confident FAITH—overcoming barriers to trusting in God by J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler. I’m looking forward to reading my new book.

One thing I’ve been watching is the five one-gallon jars of dill pickles sitting in the sunshine out in the courtyard getting ready for eating. This is Sister Ruth’s second batch. I missed eating any of those in the first batch. I’ll be ready when these next ones are ready. She said they are good.

Friday evening a couple of us went to Brainerd to attend the Geritol Frolics musical at the Franklin Arts Center What a delightful couple hours of humor, song and dance. The youngest performer was 61 and the oldest was 87. So it’s the senior citizens doing the work! And they do a delightful job of it. The first performance was in 1987. Next year the dates are Oct. 15-18 and 22-25. Remember…You are as young as you act. You are as young as you feel!!!

Last Saturday was the Orphan Train Reunion at the Motherhouse. In two years it will be the 50th anniversary of these reunions. Our 96-year-young Sister Justina was an Orphan Train rider many long years ago. From 1854-1929, an estimated 250,000 children born in New York rode orphan trains to find new homes with families throughout the United States. There were six orphan train riders and about seventy family and friends of riders with us for the day’s events. Check out Orphan Train on Google to find out more information. I’d never heard of the Orphan Train until I heard Sister Justina talking about her orphan train ride and how she found her new family. She is the one who started these Orphan Train Reunions.

Sunday afternoon the KCs served cake and ice cream to the Sisters at the Motherhouse. It is always fun to visit with our brother Knights. They have been doing this for many years. God bless you, KCs. Thank you for all the good work you do.

Sunday afternoon, also, there was an Open House in Waite Park at our newest house which is also the Novitiate for our Community. We have one novice and one postulant at this time. Many Sisters attended the open house. And it was a beautiful day for a ride!

There are two Franciscan TOR priests, Fathers Gregory and Jude, studying at St. John’s. Today Benedictine, Father Michael, our chaplain, brought them to the Motherhouse. One presided at Mass today and the other will come on Wednesday for Mass. Fr. Michael is the acolyte to assist them if necessary. They speak good English. It is always a good reminder that the Church is universal and that there are Franciscans serving all over the world.

This noon as I looked down the first floor corridor at St. Francis Center, I knew that the Development Office was getting ready for the annual Christmas Appeal. What was the clue? It was the long line of tables from one end of the hallway to the other, all set up for the volunteers who will come the next three days to put addresses on and then stuff some 17,000 envelopes. These many cartons of envelopes will be sent to the post office about the middle of November. We will be ready!

Lots of people are busy raking leaves. Many leaves from our big oak trees are in our neighbor’s yard, but today they are all blowing back our way. It’s only right that we get them back!

Pax et Bonum (Peace and all Good),
Sister Mary Lou


October 14, 2008

How beautiful the colored leaves are…and they seem to be falling like rain carpeting the earth with their crunchiness. It is interesting to me that some trees are barren while some are half clothed and others keep their leaves hanging on tight.

Last weekend was busy. On Saturday I attended the SFO Regional Fall Gathering at St. Patrick’s Church in Inver Grove Heights. Our Speaker was Dr. Catherine Cory, an instructor at St. Thomas College. Her topic was, “Paul for Today.” This is the year of St. Paul, so I’ve heard a few talks on St. Paul, his life and his works. Each one is interesting and gives me new information about St. Paul. Paul’s writings in the New Testament are arranged from longest to shortest and not in chronological order. Dr. Cory showed us some classic pictures of Paul. The similarities are that he was short, bald and had a beard. Paul’s conversion experience transformed him into a man zealous for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday’s big event was Associate Day. New Associate, Kathy Brusso made her commitment as a Franciscan Associate. Sister Gloria Haider is her Sister companion. All other Associates present made a renewal of their commitment. After the Liturgy, we shared in a great dinner. It was a good day. Associate Maxine Strege shared her Franciscan journey via a power point presentation.

Also, Sunday afternoon, the Heartland Symphony Orchestra had a concert at Charles D. Martin Auditorium. It was called “A Dark and Stormy Concert”, since it is nearing Halloween. My favorite pieces were Hector Berlioz’s March to the Scaffold and the Thunder and Lightening Polka by Johann Strauss, Jr. The next two concerts are December 14, 2008 and April 5th, 2009.

Yesterday, Columbus Day, with no mail delivery, the Housekeeping staff was busy scrubbing carpets and floors and other cleaning tasks in the mailroom. God bless them for their work in keeping our home clean and in good repair.

This morning Sister Moe was very busy making grape jam. There are 12 jars cooling on the counter in the second kitchen. It was fun hearing the lids pop as the jars sealed. I haven’t heard that sound for some time.

Thursday morning there will be a farewell reception for our Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters Alice and Beatrice, who will be returning to their convent in Africa after living and working with us here in Little Falls the past two years. We thank them for being here. We will miss them both at the Motherhouse.

I am looking forward to my trip on Friday to the Minnesota History Center to see the display of Treasures From the Vatican. There will be over 200 extraordinary objects of history from the Vatican and Vatican museums. This is our chance to see items rarely displayed to the public. The exhibition comprises one of the largest Vatican collections ever to tour North America.

On October 9th, in San Rafael, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, there was a ceremony of Reception for Maria Isabel Berrones Morales. This means we have another candidate who wishes to become a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, MN. Congratulations and welcome, Isabel.

Enjoy fall and may the farmers get their crops harvested without accidents or rain delays!

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


October 9, 2008

What a glorious day…bright sunshine, temps in the upper 60s, a nice wind and 2 inches of rain the past couple days. Thank you, God.

Last Friday night, the evening of the day before the Feast of St. Francis, we had the Transitus, the commemoration of the death of St. Francis. It was good to have so many Sisters, Associates and Secular Franciscans join us. It is a very prayerful and meaningful prayer service. Then on Saturday was the Feast of St. Francis. We started the day with Morning Prayer followed by brunch. The 11 a.m. Mass and Homily focused on St. Francis…and of course wonderful music all the way through.

Saturday afternoon I went along with Sisters Mary Ann and Annella to Browns Valley for the Profession of three new Secular Franciscans. (Browns Valley is a long way from Little Falls!) Again, it is the people there that make the event special. I re-met Tom who was working at Morris when I was teaching there—a long time ago. Tom expects to be ordained next May. God bless him in his studies.

Sunday afternoon a friend and I went to West Union, MN for their Sausage Supper and then continued on to our cottage on Ottertail Lake. My brother said they served over 1,700 hungry folks at the Supper. That’s a lot for a little, rural parish.

We had rain Sunday and Monday and that was OK. I forgot the cribbage board. I had it on my list but didn’t check the list before I left home—well, so much for a list! But with no cribbage board, we played many games of Farkel instead. And I will send a cribbage board to the cottage the next time someone goes that direction.

The trip back to Little Falls on Tuesday was beautiful. Seeing all the gold, red, yellow and greet trees and grasses was beautiful. Times like that make me very grateful for the gift of sight. And then the memory of the beauty continues to live on.

God and the angels sure were taking care of me. I took the car out to get two new front tires put on before the winter snows. After he got the tires on he came and stood in front of me and said, “You have a BIG problem.” I don’t understand “struts” and I do know what a “spring” is. Anyway, he told me that the front, driver’s side strut was broken—hanging down, and that I should not have been able to drive the car and should have heard a lot of noise if/when I made turns, and the tire should have been torn to pieces. Nothing like that at all! However long the strut was broken, or how it broke, I have no idea. The car stayed at the garage and he brought me home. Like I said, God and the Angels were taking good care of me. Thank you, God and Angels.

Saturday we have the Fall Gathering of Secular Franciscans, hosted by the St. Thomas More Fraternity in Inver Grove Heights. On Sunday we have Associate Commitment Day at the Motherhouse. One new person will be making her commitment and all other Associates present will be renewing their commitment. Always something going on.

Let us all pray for honest and trustworthy political candidates and that God guide our decisions as to how to vote.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


September 29, 2008

What a week of special events! I hope I don’t forget to include some.

Last week I attended a meeting in Plymouth, MI for Spiritual Assistants to the Secular Franciscan Order. The information was very worthwhile and will be valuable to me in my new work as Regional Spiritual Assistant to the Queen of Peace Region of the Secular Franciscan Order. But the people were the best part of the meeting. I reconnected with two Franciscan Friars that I’ve not seen for 30+ years. Fifteen years ago I made a Franciscan Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. Father Todd was one of the pilgrimage leaders and he was also at this same meeting. It made my heart happy to see these special people.

Our Sister Lois went home to heaven to meet the Lord last Wednesday night. She has been sick for some time…always so pleasant and uncomplaining in her pain and suffering. Her Franciscan Wake is tonight and her Funeral will be tomorrow morning. She was a quiet, gentle, caring person. I so appreciated her visits when I was recovering from my “big fall” and was laid-up for such a long time.

At the Motherhouse, last Saturday, the family and friends of Sister Mary Adella Blonigen celebrated her 60th Jubilee with a Mass, visiting and a meal. She had many family and friends present for the joyful event. We had a two-part homily at the Mass: Brother Albert Becker, OSC, Sister Adella’s nephew, and Father Kermit Holl, OSC shared the honors. It was a great afternoon.

Sunday morning we had a “Dad’s Belgian Waffle Breakfast” fund raiser. We served 525 hungry folks. There were at least eight different kinds of syrups one could choose from to put on the big fluffy waffles! One would walk along the serving line and they took the waffles right from the waffle iron to your plate. The proceeds from the breakfast were going to scholarships to the Music Center and the Health and Recreation programs

At noon on Sunday, we had the Blessing of Animals in the little park across from the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour. About forty dogs got blessed as well as at least three cats. (The cats weren’t too keen on having all those dogs so near them.) The event is sponsored by the Episcopal Church and the Franciscan Sisters in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast is October 4th. Special treats were served to the pets and to their companions after the prayer service. It always amazes me how quiet the dogs are during the prayer service and blessings.

In the afternoon, I went with a group of Sisters to Sauk Rapids to the Open House at Speltz House, the retirement home for retired priests of our Diocese. We had a nice visit with Bishop John Kinney in his soon-to-be- new home. It is new construction and connected to the former Sacred Heart Parish Church and just down the hill from the Poor Clare Monastery. Bishop said he is moving in “one-book-at-a-time.” The sanctuary of the church is the Chapel for the Priests where they can preside at Mass and say the Divine Office together if they wish. It is a very homey place. I’m glad I got to see it.

After that we stopped at Benedict Center for a short visit with our former Chaplain, Fr. John. Even in his memory loss, he recognized us as “his family” when we came into the room. The smile on his face was one of pure delight. This was the first time I’ve been at Benedict Center. What a nice place. When we arrived they just finished praying the Rosary in the Chapel. They put their names in a container and after the Rosary one name is drawn and that person can have the statue of Mary in their room until the next Sunday. What a nice touch.

Pax et Bonum.
God bless you in all your comings and goings.
Sister Mary Lou


September 21, 2008

The last day of summer and tomorrow starts fall! This past week has been a nice summer week. And it sounds like rains will start tomorrow and for a few days.

Last Sunday evening I was with Sister Mary Kalis when she went to meet God. She had a very peaceful and quiet death. She just stopped breathing. What a wonderful way to leave this world. Sr. Mary’s Funeral was Friday. I just looked back at my last Blog and I said that Sr. Lois was very sick. I meant to say, “Sr. Mary.” Sorry for my error.

Today we had “Donor Appreciation Day.” About 150 Donors joined us Sisters for 11 a.m. Mass, Lunch and a Program. Sisters Rose Mae and Aurora told us about Mexico and the work of the Sisters at our Mission in Mexico.

Our Friend Larry Anderson from Morris, MN, came today bringing us 305 pounds of cabbage. That is in addition to the cabbage he brought a few weeks ago. Sr. Ruth made all of that cabbage into 50 gallons of sauerkraut. Now she can make more sauerkraut and we will NOT run out of sauerkraut this next year. Larry also brought us a couple boxes of green peppers, some tomatoes and a watermelon. God bless you, Larry for sharing the produce of your garden with us Sisters. Gardening is hard but rewarding work. Larry, we are grateful for your generous gifts. And we pray for you and your family.

On Wednesday this past week, I went with the Gary Block Tour to the Old Log Theatre to see the play Forever Plaid. The trip, the meal and the play were all worthwhile ventures. With almost two hours of singing, dancing and moving around, I said to one of the performers afterwards, “You must be really tired after a show like this.” He said, “We are!” I can believe it. A little treat on the journey home was a stop for a dish of ice cream at Culvers—a treat that was brought right out to the bus for us!

Each year our Brainerd Fraternity of Secular Franciscans does a pilgrimage. Yesterday was the day. We went to visit the new St. James Church in Aitkin, MN. It is beautiful! They used all the beautiful stained-windows from the old down-town Church in the new building. In the old Church the rose window was high up. Now it is the first thing one sees when one enters the new building. I admire architects who can plan and erect such marvelous structures.

For some time now we have been making our own laundry soap. It is called “Going Green Laundry Soap.” (Green meaning environmentally good.) For some time, I have been meaning to give the recipe. So here it is: 16 cups of HOT tap water, 4 Tbsp. of Washing Soda (such as Arm and Hammer Washing Soda,) 2 Tbsp. of Borax and 1 oz. Castile Soap. Put all ingredients into a one-gallon jug and mix. Use one cup for a large load of laundry and a smaller amount for smaller loads. We have been using this laundry soap for some time now and are happy with the results.

May God bless all the activities of our week.
Pax et Bonum,
Sister Mary Lou


September 12, 2008

A beautiful fall morning! Yesterday God blessed us with about 1 ½ inches of rain. We need more rain to get us up to par, but we are grateful for every bit we receive. This morning the sun is bright. In Marty Haugen’s song, Canticle of the Sun the refrain is so true “The heavens are telling the glory of God, and all creation is shouting for joy. Come, dance in the forest, come play in the field, and sing, sing to the glory of the Lord.” One other blessing to the cooler nights is that the mosquito population seems to be lessened.

Last weekend the city of Little Falls had its big Arts and Crafts Fair. It was a great weekend. As a Block Host, I spent many hours touring the Fair. I loved it. I saw almost every one of the 650 booths. I always marvel at the creativity of the artisans and the beautiful things they make. Except for a few gusts of strong wind Sunday afternoon, the weather was perfect. I always think, “Cooler is better.” The years when the temperatures were in the 80s, it was too warm. It made my heart happy to hear from vendors who stayed at St. Francis Center, how well they liked the accommodations there. I recommended staying there to several additional vendors.

On the radio, I just heard that Jason’s Restaurant, south of town, was destroyed by fire during the early morning hours today. I am sorry to hear that.

Tonight we are expecting special visitors to the Convent. Sisters Pauline Mary and Albina, from Kenya, will be here a few days to visit us. They are Community superiors from the Community that Sisters Alice and Beatrice are from. Sisters Alice and Beatrice, from Homa Bay Diocese in Kenya have been living at our house since October 2006 and are minitering at the Motherhouse.

Saturday afternoon I will be at a Memorial Service for deceased Secular Franciscans from our Brainerd Secular Franciscan Fraternity. We have this service at the Camp Ripley Cemetery since that is where Diane Beal, SFO is buried.

Our Sister Lois is very ill. She is so ready to go to heaven. Please pray with us for her. Thanks.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


September 4, 2008

Oh, so many happenings in a week!

Last week I attended the Election Judge Training Session at the Courthouse, so I am prepared to be an election judge on both September 9th and November 4th, 2009. I will work the early shift starting at 6 a.m. both dates.

On Friday, my friend Larry Anderson from Morris brought us 312 pounds of cabbage. This past Tuesday, Sister Ruth and her volunteers made 48 gallons of sauerkraut. That should be enough for meals for the Sisters for almost a year. Larry also brought tomatoes and peppers. Thank you, Larry, for your generous gifts of fresh garden produce.

Today Sr. Ruth is busy making refrigerator pickles—three five-gallon pails so far…and Sr. Joel is making dill pickles, The convent kitchen is a busy place.

On Saturday I drove out to the farm for a few days to visit with my family. Swallows are gathering on the highline wires…a sure sign of approaching fall. On Monday on my way back to Little Falls three deer crossed the road ahead of me. I’m sure glad they were a block ahead of me. I don’t want to touch one with my car.

At the farm, my brother and sister-in-law and I made eight gallons of apple juice. When I saw all the buckets of apples near the garage, I had an idea of what we’d be doing later in the day.

Last Wednesday we had a one-day blood drive…usually it is three days. Anyway, it was a marvelous collection. Our goal was 80 units and we got 106! Thank you, generous people.

School started this week. God bless all the teachers and students. May they all have a good year filled with lots of learning.

Last Sunday, too, we went to an Ice Cream Social at a little county Lutheran church near the farm. My sister, Rita, met many people who support her in her work in Indonesia. After that, my sister, brother and I went into Sauk Centre to visit with Millie Gans. When we were young, she lived on an adjoining farm and we visited her often.

The other day I received a copy of the Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity newsletter. That Brainerd area group is really busy. Since 1990, they tithed $216,933 to their sister affiliate, Habitat for Humanity Guatemala. With the support of all their donors they built 64 homes in the Lakes Area and 73 homes in Guatemala! Good Job!!!

The Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair is this coming weekend. With help, tonight we will get the vendor spots marked on my two blocks--Kidder Street and Broadway. I am a Block Host and so will be spending many hours at the Fair the next three days. I always marvel at all the beautiful crafts people make. The Fair will be a little smaller this year and we are expecting only about 650 vendors. The new thing this year is the Farmers Market open both days of the Fair. Please pray for good weather. Cool is OK. Rain makes it more challenging.

Pax et Bonum.
Sister Mary Lou


August 25, 2008

I’m glad to start a new week…and it is cooler today. This morning, during Morning Prayer, I looked at the beautiful begonia plants hanging on the post in our front yard. They are at their prime right now. Why, when they are looking their best, does their season come to an end so soon with the first frosts?

Wednesday was the day our dear Sister Monica went to heaven. For the last weeks she has been in so much pain in her leg, back and hip. God is good to have taken her to heaven. In June she celebrated her 75th anniversary as a Franciscan Sister. What a day of joy it was for her. She had a great devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit. She lived and worked in Wisconsin for many years. Whenever they would travel back to Minnesota, she would say, “Watch for a white bird. That will be the Holy Spirit telling us that everything will be OK.” And so it was. As Sister Therese walked across the street for Sr. Monica’s Funeral on Saturday, there was a white bird flying over the street and over the Chapel. (That’s quite remarkable, because about the only birds we’ve seen around lately are the big black crows!) Sr. Monica’s Wake was Friday evening and her Funeral Saturday.

On Friday, my classmate, Sister Camille moved to the Motherhouse because of health reasons. I am glad to have her here, but sad that she is here because she is so sick.

When I came home after work on Thursday, I didn’t even have both feet out of the car when the neighbor lady came over to me and said, “You have a big problem in your back yard.” My question was, “What kind of big problem?” One of the three trunks of the big, old box elder tree had fallen over. It went from one side of the yard to almost the other side and took out the electricity, phone and cable lines to our house. The electricity was hooked up again by 4:45 and the phone and cable were back the next day. Next, the “tree-cutters” will come and take down the other two trunks. I’m glad we didn’t take out the services of our neighbors along with ours.

The Bloodmobile folks will be in St. Francis Hall on Wednesday, August 27th for a blood drive from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. God bless all the generous donors who share their gift of life.

Schools will be starting a new year next week. May the gifts of the Holy Spirit be with both students and teachers so that the year will be profitable for all.

The big Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair is coming soon—September 6 and 7. Please pray with me for favorable weather for this event. One year it was VERY hot and we thought we’d melt. And another year, the vendors selling sweatshirts and jackets did very good business because it was so chilly…mid sixties to mid seventies would be my desire…and no storms or rain during the day. I am again a Block Host on Kidder Street.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


August 19, 2008

I am having a hard time getting it into my head that next week is the last full week of August. Where has the summer gone? I always get a little nostalgic at this time of the year when I think about the beginning of the school year starting soon. For me it was always an exciting time of the year. All those eager faces checking things out and ready to begin again…new text books and new students and new challenges. I do miss all that activity.

Yesterday I attended the Annual Rural Life Celebration in a harvested wheat field at the Jim and Debbie Knopik farm. What a great couple hours. This event is co-sponsored by Catholic Charities of the St. Cloud Diocese and the three local parishes. The rosary was prayed at 10:30 a.m. Bishop John Kinney presided at the Mass. He rode down the hill in a shiny green "Bishop-Mobile" golf cart at the beginning of Mass. The music was led by singers from the three Little Falls Parishes. Seating was rows and rows and rows of straw bails. (And fortunate were the ones who remembered to bring a blanket or towel to sit on.) A few grasshoppers danced their joyful dance on the carpet before the altar.. And just at the end of Mass in a field across from the Mass site, the four horses came and stood at attention for the final blessings, closing song and talk by Professor Dr. Levins. The message I came away with was, that we need to work together as a "we" to make changes for a better future. They served over 700+ meals in less than an hour--a free hog roast with baked beans, potato chips, coleslaw, desserts galore, and ice cream cones.
Have you been watching the Olympics events? I marvel at the discipline the athletes have put into perfecting their skills. WOW!

We have a one-day Red Cross blood drive on Wednesday, August 27th from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event takes place in St. Francis Hall—the big room under the Chapel. God bless all the generous donors. It is a life-giving donation and service we give to others.

This Saturday, August 23rd there will be a reunion for all Sisters, teachers, students and parents who were part of the education system at Holy Spirit School during the time the Franciscan Sisters helped staff the school. It should be a fun event. I never taught at Holy Spirit School. The event will take place at the Welcoming House in St. Cloud—the former Convent, just across from the school.

God bless your week.

Pax et Bonum.
Sister Mary Lou


August 12, 2008

Greetings. The blog I wrote last week disappeared from the face of the earth! And it was a good one, too. So, I’ll back up and see if I can recall at least a few things I wrote about.

On Sunday, August 12th, we celebrated the 50th Jubilee of five of our Sisters. It was a grand celebration. We had a special evening prayer service the evening before. The Chapel was full for the Sunday Mass. With many Sisters home for the Jubilee celebration, the singing and music was GREAT for all events. Terry and the Kitchen Crew were outstanding in the good things they provided for us and all our guests.

Yesterday we had the Reception into the Novitiate for our newest member, Sister Aurora Tovar. She comes to us from Mexico where she has lived and worked with our Sisters who are living and working there. We welcome you, Aurora. May your novitiate experience give you a better idea of who we are: the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota. Sister Aurora will be living in our house in Waite Park, MN for the coming year.

The Sisters Retreat ended last Thursday noon. We had LOTS of Sisters making this retreat. I stopped into St. Francis Hall for a couple conferences. I liked what I heard. The rest of the time I was subbing in the mailroom for Sr. Georgine. The retreat director was Sister Kathleen Warren, OSF and the theme was Being Peacemakers.

This coming Sunday is the Rural Life Mass at the Jim and Debbie Knopik farm just north of Little Falls. Bishop John F. Kinney will be here for the 11 a.m. Mass. Let us keep in mind the valuable part farmers play in our lives.

Yesterday afternoon, last night and this morning we have been blessed with about 4/10s of an inch of soft, gentle rain. We are grateful for this rain and we will gladly take more. The fields, gardens and lawns are grateful, too.

On August 2nd over 200 volunteers painted 7 homes in Morrison County. This was sponsored by the Paint-A-Thon committee. I am on the advisory board for this group. We had a beautiful day and most of the work was completed before noon. We sent the enthusiastic painters off to work after a substantial and free breakfast at First United Church, which is just across the street from the Convent. The Franciscan Sisters donate caramel and cinnamon rolls for the breakfast. I was very pleased to see the number of youth who participated. It maybe was a Confirmation project for them. It was a good one.

God bless you and those you love.

Sister Mary Lou


July 29, 2008

A truly summer day. The temperature is about 85 degrees this afternoon. There is a little breeze and if one were in the direct sun, it would be hot! During the night, we had a little shower, 2/10s of an inch. I just saw one flash of lightning.
Thursday evening I am helping with the Oasis Share-A-Meal supper at First Lutheran Church. Many church groups and other groups provide a free meal to anyone who comes on Thursdays all through the year. Our Franciscan Sisters and Employees serve one or two meals each year.

Last Friday evening I went out to the Morrison County Fair. Our Sister Fran was one of those in the talent show. Then next day they were talking about the program on the Party Line radio program. One lady said, "Sr. Fran was awesome!" And it is true. We were all so proud of her performance. Winning first place qualifies her for participation in the State Fair production. Thanks, Sr. Fran. "You done good."

A retreat starts Friday evening, August 1st until August 7th. The theme is "Being Peacemakers" and Sister Kathleen Warren, OSF is the retreat director. There are many Sisters making this retreat so it will be pretty quiet on the campus. Three of the six Sisters living at our house will be on retreat, and another one is on vacation all week. So the two of us left at home will have opportunity to really kick up our heels! The only problem is that I will be working in the mailroom all week and Sr. Jean will be involved with her liturgy work.

Saturday, August 2nd is the day for the Morrison County Paint-A-Thon. Volunteers will be painting 7 homes. We start the day at 6:46a.m. with a breakfast for all the painters and the home-owners. Please pray for favorable weather. Usually most homes are painted by about noon. Only once, that I can remember, did we have rain and the paint teams had to go to plan B and get the houses painted at later dates. But all the homes did get painted.

In a little over a month it will be the Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair. September 6th and 7th will be here real soon. Today I was making phone calls to recruit Block Hosts for the Fair. I have a lot of work to do before that task is finished.

Now I wonder what is going on. There are many sirens blasting away. Whenever I hear a siren, I always pray for the ones involved in the incident, whatever it is, and for the safety and well-being of the rescue workers.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


July 21, 2008

The last sentence of today’s first reading for Mass from Micah is: "You have been told what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God." Sure sounds simple, doesn’t it? Let’s all keep on implementing that directive in the best ways we can.

Outside the Motherhouse dining room is a 6 foot by 2 ½ foot paper "thank you" banner from the Habitat 500 Bike Riders who had a spaghetti supper and stayed on our campus last Tuesday evening. They began their ride in Maple Lake, MN. on the 13th and would finish it back in Maple Lake on the 19th….with 500 miles of biking in between. There were little tents and clothes lines everywhere. This was their 16th annual ride. Last year nation-wide they raised over $336,000. WOW!

Last Friday night was the 15th annual Relay for Life cancer walk at Flyer Field here in Little Falls. I attended the dinner for Survivors and did the first trek around the field—the 1/4th mile Survivor’s Walk. My friend Larry Sharon walked with me at my slow pace as did Ted Pfohl, next year’s Committee Chair. As we neared the end, they both slowed down so I wouldn’t be the last one to finish. I thought that was very thoughtful of both of them. At the 10 p.m. Luminary Ceremony they announced a total of $171,405 collected so far. There were 42 teams—450 walkers. Last year Little Falls was the #1 fund raiser in the mid-west region of the county and #9 in the nation for Relay for Life contributions. Congratulations folks for your great work. See you again next year.

We had our monthly Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) gathering on Saturday in Brainerd. Our speaker was Dr. Robert Kapitzke, a Religious Studies teacher from St. Cloud Technical College. He had a very informational talk on the history and beliefs of the Muslim religion. St. Francis went to visit the Sultan in his day. We felt we needed to know more about this religion. The important thing for me was to hear again that the religious fanatic Muslims are a very small percent of Muslims. So often we lump them all together and that is not fair. Most of them are good and peaceful people.

Last April 11th we had a Dinner and Dance scheduled for developmentally disabled persons and their families of Morrison County. We had a blizzard that day. The meal and dance were rescheduled for yesterday, the day nearest the Feast of St. Camillus. We served 253 meals to our guests at the Little Falls Ballroom. There were many smiles and much joy as they danced their hearts out the rest of the afternoon. St. Camillus Place is the home on our campus that cares for 14 adult residents with developmental disabilities. This was our 23rd annual Dinner and Dance sponsored by the St. Camillus Advisory board. I am on that board. We are grateful to the many service clubs that donate to help pay for the meals.

The Pope has declared this year, (June 29, 2008 to June 29, 2009) as the year of St. Paul. Father John Echert, from the St. Paul Seminary was speaker at Our Lady of Lourdes Church here in Little Falls, last Wednesday evening. In two hours I learned a lot about the life of St. Paul, his travels on his three missionary journeys and his writings. Reading the writings of St. Paul will make a lot more sense to me from now on. And I am motivated to study more about St. Paul—quite a guy!

August 2nd is the day for our Paint-a-Thon here in Morrison County. Volunteers will be painting 7 homes of elderly, disabled and needy persons. Please pray with me for good weather that day.

We got 1 ¾ inches of rain Saturday noon. So again everything is lush and green…and my car got a good washing.
May the blessings of the Lord be upon you.

I bless you in the name of the Lord.

Sister Mary Lou


July 14, 2008

Welcome to a beautiful Minnesota Monday morning.

God blessed us with 2 ½ inches or rain Thursday and Friday. It was quite a storm on Friday evening. I had plans to attend the concert at Grace Covenant Church that evening, but with the strong winds (60+ mph) and the heavy rain, I changed my mind. We lost several big branches and many twigs but no trees in our yard. The west side of town seems to have lost many more trees, and even their electricity for about 24 hours.

With the rain our lawn greened up again. The lawn will need to be mowed this week.

Yesterday afternoon, I watched video from the tornado that struck south of Willmar, MN on Friday evening. Oh, the power of wind. I was amazed at the picture of the turkey barn that was blown completely away and all birds still standing as if the barn was still there. As Mom would have said, "God is still in charge."

I got an e-mail last week asking, "How smart are you?" The Question: What do the words "banana, dresser, grammar, potato, revive, uneven and assess" have in common? Answer at the end of this article.

Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m., several of us greeted three busses on their way to Camp Ripley. The busses carried 155 troops returning from Iraq. This is the second time I’ve been at the road’s edge to greet the troops. I hope I do it many more times in the near future. I had goose-bumps as the busses passed by—and I didn’t know anybody on those busses. I can’t imagine the joy and excitement in the hearts of the men and women on those busses. The grandson of one of our employees was one of the returning men.

The other evening we were talking about wedding dance customs. Apparently it is a Polish wedding custom for the bride to dance in a wash tub. Probably in a plastic tub now days, but in the "old days" it was a metal tub with a rug under it. So they really moved around the dance floor. It must make for lots of laughs and excitement.

The Morrison County Fair is next week, July 23 to 26. I always enjoy the fair, especially the 4-H and Homemakers building. I am always so impressed with the beautiful things people make. I didn’t go last year. The weather was too hot. I hope to get there next week.

Answer to the question: In all the words, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell the word backwards, it will be the same word.

Have a good week. Peace and blessings
Sister Mary Lou


July 9, 2008

Good Morning, Good People (A greeting used by St. Francis.)

Well, the 4th of July is now past. I hope you had a good one. I went to West Union, MN for the big 45-minute parade. The Eltgroth’s had three entries: The 12-member Kazoo Crew marching band, the 1948 Desoto car and the side-by side bicycle-built-for-two. After the parade, there was a pot-luck dinner in the West Union Park. Many of our family were there for the parade and meal. We then all gathered at the farm afterwards. The weather was great. It was a fun day. Rich and Louise got 4-H buttons for all of us. My number was lucky 87 and I won $15.00 in cash.

Over the weekend I learned a new dice game named Farkle. I had heard of it a few weeks ago on the local radio station Party Line program. I checked Google and found much information and a variety of directions with variations of the ones we had at my brother’s home. Now I have to find someone to teach and play it with. I haven’t worked too hard on that yet.

Rejoice with me. I put in the mail today the last of the lessons for correspondence class I’ve been taking. I have been studying The Franciscan Family Connection, a training book for Spiritual Assistants for the Secular Franciscan Order. If I am accepted, I will be the Queen of Peace Regional Spiritual Assistant. This office for our region has been vacant for some time so I was asked to give it a try. I’ve learned a lot. But as with so many things, one won’t know what it is all about until you jump in with both feet” and get to work.

The other day, I went out to look at the Community Gardens located on the Motherhouse property just south of the buildings. There are many plots. The gardens look great and are starting to produce good vegetables—and some flowers. The deer are liking the gardens, too. The deer are not friends of Sister Ruth. The deer like her garden, too. Sister Ruth is our convent gardener. We are starting to enjoy the fresh produce from our garden. Sister Ruth has tried products that are suppose to keep deer from eating the garden plants. She says, "None of them work." On Monday she and a number of other Sisters picked strawberries at a local "You Pick" field. They came home with 43 five-quart pails of berries. When the pickers returned with the berries, it didn’t take long for the word to spread. There were many Sisters at work in the kitchen readying the berries for eating. They are so good. Thanks, Sisters, for all your hard work. We are greatful.

Let us continue to pray for all who are sick. We have a couple Sisters who are very ill at this time. And I am sure you know others who also need our prayers.

God bless your day.
Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


July 2, 2008

We are into July. The first half of the year just flew by. And the 4th of July is just two days away!

I came across this great story about eagles from At the Edge of Tomorrow, by Tierney Trueman, OSF, Rochester, MN, that I want to share with you.

"The eagle possesses the greatest longevity of its species. It lives for 70 years.
To arrive at this age, at 40 it must make a decision. At 40, its pointed beak curves inward; its claws curve inward and become soft. It cannot grab prey needed for food. Its wings are heavy with its thick feathers. To fly is difficult.
It has two alternatives: die, or face a painful process, which consists of flying to a high mountain near a wall. The eagle begins to peck the wall with its beak until it wears off. Then it must wait for a new beak to grow, with which it begins to pull out the old claws. With the new claws, it pulls out the old feathers.
Free of the weight of the past, it catches the trade winds and begins to live again."

God says: "I have dearly loved you from of old, and still maintain my unfailing care for you. I will build you up again." (Jeremiah 31:3-4)
Come…Am I able to say "yes"?

Last week, we had the Bloodmobile here for three days. Our goal was 320 units of blood. The actual count received was 241, which is a lot of blood. If we counted in the 39 deferred persons we would have had 300 units. The summer collection is often lower because of people vacationing. But I am pleased with what we got. God bless all those generous people who took time from busy summer schedules to donate this gift of life. I’ll let you know when the next blood drive is.

I, again, plan on going to West Union, MN for the big 4th of July parade (2 p.m.) and the pot luck meal that follows. Our family has been a big part of this event for its entire history of over 20 years. Being a small-town parade, we have lots of tractors and farm machinery—both modern and old time, and a marching band or two, with many other great features. Come and join us.

Kevin has just finished mowing our lawn. It is surprising how fast the weeds can grow even when we haven’t had rain. We do need a good and gentle rain. It’s starting to get pretty dry.

Last night, I spent about 4 1/2 hours sitting with one of our Sisters who is very ill. So I got a few hours of sleep before mid-night and then some extra hours of sleep in the morning. I got some extra reading done during my watch. About mid-way through, Sister decided she wanted to get up. I was glad I was there to keep her from falling until the night nurses got there to assist her into a wheelchair. I took her for a walk down the darkened corridors and after awhile she was ready to go back to bed and to sleep. Many Sisters are keeping watch with Sr. Clara.

Have a safe 4th of July…and of course, safe all other days, too.

Peace and all good.
Sister Mary Lou


June 23, 2008

Oh, so many things fill up a week!

Yesterday we had a great celebration with five of our sisters who were honored for 75 years of service as Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls. Think of it, a total of 350 years of service . Great ladies each one. Four of the five made it both ways down the long center aisle of the Chapel by their own power. It was a slow walk, but they did it! The Mass was followed by a delicious meal and then lots of visiting.

This past weekend was the Little Falls Dam Festival. Two highlights for Saturday were the parade and the fireworks. The parade lined up in our convent parking lot, so it was with great ease we could watch the parade! Our own 96-year-young Sister Justina was the Grand Marshall for the parade. She looked great waving and riding in that little red convertible at the head of the parade. She was surprised to see so many people lining the entire length of the parade route. Because I had to leave early to attend our SFO gathering in Brainerd, I could stay only for the first few minutes of the parade. So I walked through the parking lot checking out the parade entries before it started. The dental office parade float was giving away dental floss and tooth paste—a healthy treat! The weather was perfect for all the weekend festivities. Friday night, the music was furnished by a group called The Roosters. I could hear the music very well in my bedroom—five blocks away! I really enjoyed the fireworks on Saturday night. The kid in me likes the sight and sounds of the "pretty, pretty boom booms."

Yesterday afternoon I attended the Concert in the Park at Maple Island Park. The music was provided by "The Alaska Polka Chips." The old-time music brought out a VERY LARGE crowd of mostly older folks. Again, the weather was perfect. Concerts in the Park are scheduled every Sunday at 3 p.m. all summer.

Last Tuesday evening, Eileen and I attended a presentation of "Godly Women Out of History" at American Lutheran Church in Long Prairie. The ladies, from Trinity Lutheran Church in Cyrus, MN, told about the 13 women who had a Godly influence in American History. We heard from Betsy Ross (1752-1836), Lucy Hayes (1831-1889), Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983), Maria Von Trapp (1905-1987), and Harriet Tubman (1820-1913).

Last Friday and Saturday the Franciscan Sisters hosted "Faith and Fun with Franciscans." It was a camp-out with 20 girls who completed 6th, 7th and 8th grades from central Minnesota. They camped out and tented in Assisi Park on the south end of our campus. They had a good time and want to come again and for a longer time.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week the Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at the Convent. The first two days, it is from 2 to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pax et Bonum,
Sister Mary Lou


June 17, 2008

My, it’s been a long time since I wrote an entry! My little scrap of paper is filled with many reminders of things to talk about.

All last week we participated in "Community Days". It is a gathering of all the Little Falls Franciscan Sisters at the Motherhouse here in Little Falls. All 187 of us were here, except for my classmate, Sister Camille Squillace, who is getting chemo treatments and was not able to attend. I called her each night to give a report on the happenings of the day. An unplanned for event was the funeral for Sister Sheila Mortonson, age 92, on Wednesday. She was one of my High School English teachers at St. Francis High School quite a few years ago! Our meeting days were full and very good. Terry and the dietary staff did a marvelous job of feeding us. Today seems pretty quiet around the place with most of our out-of-town guest gone home.

Today we had two events that were fun. Four young people told us about their projects for the Youth in Theology and Ministry (YTM) program. This program is facilitated through St. John’s University with the purpose to develop leadership skills in high school students. Four young men and women shared their projects with us. Our Community helps sponsor this program. It makes my heart happy to see the involvement in the Catholic Church that these committed youth witness to.

We took a break in the middle of the presentations to move next door to the dining room to celebrate Sister Mary Obowa’s birthday. Sister Mary is our Community Minister. Our treat was German Chocolate cake with fresh strawberries and ice cream. Yummmmy!

On June 8th we celebrated the 60th Jubilee of 11 of our Sisters. Together that’s many years of service! On June 22nd we will be celebrating five of our Sisters who have been in our Community for 75 years. And on August 10th we will celebrate our five Golden Jubilarians.

The first weekend in June, I was at the Regional Secular Franciscan meeting in Buffalo, MN. I was the "Friar Witness" for the Fraternity Elections…not too much work involved for me. I just had to be there to see that they were doing it according to the Constitutions. And they did. Our Brainerd Fraternity Minister, Ed Feiler, is now the Regional Minister.
We have a Blood Drive coming up June 25, 26 from 2 to 8 p.m. and 27th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Let us pray for a good response to the 350+ post cards we sent out.

Today I got something done that I’ve wanted to happen for a long time. With the assistance of our neighbor, who can climb a ladder, we exchanged all of the outside light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs.

Let us also pray for all the people whose homes and property are being damaged by the vast amount of flooding all along the rivers from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. My heart sinks every time I see pictures of the damage. What is God telling us? May the Lord give strength and courage to all those who are in harm’s way.

Peace and all good.
Sister Mary Lou


May 29, 2009

God is blessing us with a gentle, beautiful rain. Praise the Lord.

Last Monday we drove to Melrose for a picnic meal at Sister Adela’s home. The wind was chilly, but eating our meal in the garage was quite pleasant. I enjoyed seeing the rows of little corn plants coming up in the fields along the way.

Last Sunday, Sister Georgine and I attended the Memorial Day ceremony at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery at Camp Ripley. Because it had rained hard in the morning, they moved the program from the cemetery to the recreation building on the Camp site. This is a huge space. They had chairs set up for everyone. The crowd was large. They even had golf carts to bring people back and forth from their cars to the building. I appreciated that. The program started with a beautiful half-hour band concert by the Richfield Symphonic Band, directed by Adam Sroka. They are good!!! There were many United States Flags and many other flags, too. There were about 30 to 40 Patriot Guard members also present. A group of musicians and singers named Water into Wine lead the singing. Father Leo Moenkedick, US Air Force chaplain, prayed the Invocation. The Memorial Address was given by Bill Ryan, US Army (1966-1967) from Paynesville, MN. What a witness to faith and courage. He spoke of the gifts of faith and friendship. There was hardly a dry eye in the audience by the time he finished. The Rifle Salute and Taps always give me goose bumps.

I just finished laminating a little sign that says, "Please don’t let the cat out." Jan, one of our Rehab therapists, frequently brings their family cat in to visit with Sister Sheila during the day. Sister perks right up when the cat comes…and they’d like the cat to stay in her room.

This afternoon we are having a thank you gathering for Sister Deborah Honer for her years of service to our senior Sisters. She is battling cancer at this time. Please keep her in your prayers.

This week we welcomed our new co-director for our Associate Office, Geri Deitz. Geri will be working with Judy Virnig in the Associate Office. Welcome. I knew Geri before she was married to Rick Dietz, who was religious education coordinator in Morris when I ministered there—a few years back!

Enjoy a State Park for free on Sunday June 1st. I plan on going out to the Lindbergh State Park and the Lindbergh Museum here in Little Falls. The Fishing Museum is also open and free on the 1st. The Fishing Museum is an interesting place to visit. I was there a few months ago when they had Business After Hours there.

Pax et Bonum. (Peace and all good.)
Sister Mary Lou


May 22, 2008

It’s quite a little pile of notes I have before me as I type this memo.

Last Sunday St. Francis Music Center presented a concert by the newly formed St. Francis Community Chorale, conducted by Barb Stumpf. The 30 women and men sang beautifully. To listen to them was a delight to our ears. Anyone wishing to join them can call 320-632-0637.
Sunday afternoon, eight of us Sisters went to Onamia, to attend the Jubilee celebrations for Father Ray Steffes, OSC, 50 years a priest; Father James Cashman, OSC, 60 years a priest; and Father Oscar Schoenberg, OSC, 60 years a priest. These are great men. It was a joyous event. The Crosier’s are most hospitable. Everyone was busy serving beverages and desserts as part of the chicken dinner that followed the Mass.

Last night I attend an Ecumenical Military Prayer Service at the Camp Ripley Chapel. I felt bad that there were so few people attending until today when I learned that there were many conflicting meetings. We prayed for service members currently serving overseas, service members waiting to be deployed, families of service men and women, service members re-entering society, wounded soldiers, fallen soldiers and for lasting peace. Pastor Gregg Valentine, Father Mark Innocenti, and Father Leo Moenkedick lead the prayers. Curt Hanson lead the music part of the service.

Tomorrow afternoon we will have a little party to thank Bob Dalen for his years of service in the convent Maintenance Department. We will miss him around here. He has helped me out several times when I was having car troubles.

Tonight CEC (Continuing Education Center) is having graduation at St. Francis Center for their 30 graduating seniors. The CEC program is such a wonderful program to assist students to get their high school diploma. It is good having these students on our campus for their classes. Each year the Franciscan Sisters give out one scholarship to a deserving student to help her/him continue their education.

Sunday is graduation for the Little Falls High School seniors. We wish them the best in whatever is next for them. May their celebrations be safe and without accident.

Blessings on you as you celebrate this Memorial Day weekend. Travel safely and be safe in all your activities. I will be going to Melrose for a picnic supper on Monday.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


May 14, 2008

Peace and many blessings. I hope your day is going well. Yesterday on my way out to the aluminum can recycling place, I saw a small tree FULL of white blossoms! It was beautiful. The lilac bushes have buds on them. And tulips are blooming in many places.

Tomorrow, May 15, is the Feast of St. Isidore, the farmer (1070-1130). After our 11 a.m. Mass we will gather on the east side of the convent and bless the gardens and fields. St. Isidore has become the patron of farmers and rural communities. He married Maria de la Cabeza. She also is a saint. He communicated with God as he walked behind the plow.

As the story goes, the angels plowed his fields when he went to Mass. Let us pray for all farmers and growers of food, that they have a good growing season and that the people of the world have sufficient food.

To this time, I have not seen a lot of farmers out planting in the fields. But they are getting started. We’ve had about 1 ½ inches or rain the past week or so. But no snow in May!

Last evening I sat in on part of the program put on by the Emblom-Brenny Funeral Home. The two short talks I heard were very informative. One was about scams, junk mail and identity theft, etc. It distresses me that the elderly as so often picked on for scams and identity theft. Don’t give personal information to anybody over the phone or on the computer. Bobby Bad Guy is out to get your money. They also mentioned to be careful in use of your credit and debit cards. Be careful what you put in your garbage bag at the end of your driveway. There’s lots of personal information on all that junk mail that gives Bobby Bad Guy what he needs to go after your bank account. Steve Emblom said that after he heard this talk a year or so ago, they went out and purchased a paper shredder.

Speaking of Emblom-Brenny, they are building a new funeral chapel across the road from the Motherhouse. It is coming right along. In a day or two the roof will be going on. We saw a picture of what the place will look like when it is completed. It will be beautiful…and it will have a big parking lot!

Tomorrow night, 23 little dancers from St. Francis Music Center will be having their spring recital. The little girls are so cute all dressed up in their frilly dresses and one little boy is a dancer, too. And they are so serious about what they are doing.

On Sunday, some of us will be joining the Crosier Brothers and Priests at Onamia, MN as they celebrate jubilees for some of their members. Father Ray Steffes is one of those celebrating. The Crosier Priests come to celebrate Mass at the Motherhouse every Friday. We are grateful to have such wonderful Crosiers serving us. They are our brothers.

Another event at 7 p.m. on Sunday is the concert by the St. Francis Community Chorale in Sacred Heart Chapel at the Motherhouse. This group was just organized this past January. They like to sing and practice every week. I am looking forward to beautiful music.

Enjoy the lovely spring days.
Pax et Bonum
Sister Mary Lou


May 9, 2008

Blessings and Peace.

Two beautiful yellow tulips on the dining room table at our house this morning! They were there last evening already. But I wasn’t home for supper so I didn’t notice them.

At breakfast on Sunday morning, John asked me if I’d been to the dam on the Mississippi River lately. I hadn’t so I stopped twice that day! The water is rushing over the top of the long mid-section of the dam and four of the eight gates are wide open. There is quite a splash when the water gets to the bottom. I enjoyed watching the water and feeling the mist on my face. The sun on the water made it look like moving diamonds. Now I drive past the dam anytime I’m nearby.

Our dear Sister Felicia Kroll, age 86, went to heaven last Saturday. May she be enjoying Life with the Lord. Sisters were sitting round the clock with her for a couple days before she died. I took a couple three-hour stretches in the middle of the night. It is a wonderful, quiet time to pray. The Sisters get wonderful care here in Clare Residence.
In Chapel, we have an eight-foot potted tree in honor of Sr. Felicia donated by her family members. The tree will be planted on the west side of the Motherhouse after the funeral.

This coming Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. May the Holy Spirit fill your life with the Gifts of the Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Council, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.

Enjoy these nice spring days. I’m praying for farmers that they will be able to get their crops planted without further delays. Yesterday I had a message on the telephone answering machine. A couple weeks ago at the Home, Garden and Leisure Show here in Little Falls, I signed my name on a number of free drawings. Yesterday I found out that I won a day lily—it should be a yellow one. What a nice surprise.

Pax et Bonum
Sister Mary Lou


April 21, 2008

Peace and All Good.

This is the day the Lord has made. It is clouding up a bit now, but this morning was beautiful. And it is 67 degrees! The rain forecast for tonight will clean things up and knock off the protective coatings from the leaf buds on the trees. Soon our world will be green again. I can hardly wait.

I was just out at the greenhouse looking for "casings" or "worm casings." They didn’t have any. Sister Janice had gotten some as a gift and gave them to Sr. Evangeline who put this fertilizer on her baby African Violets. How they grew! And the leaves on the plants are so healthy and strong. I’m going to keep on looking.

The Blood Drive last week was a good success. They collected a total of 266 units of blood. That is a lot. God bless all the generous donors.

The Spaghetti Supper on Saturday evening also was a great success. We served 463 meals. That’s a lot of spaghetti and sauce. This noon for lunch we had leftover spaghetti and sauce. It is just as good the second time as the first time! One thing that delights me is to see how happy our guests were and how they enjoy visiting with one another during and after the meal. Celo and his strings players always give us great entertainment. God bless all the wonderful volunteers who helped serve, set and reset tables, wash dishes, clean up, provide bars and however else they helped out.

Tomorrow is Earth Day. We will have our Earth Day Celebration on Sunday, April 27th from 1 to 4 p.m. Everyone is invited to join us in St. Francis Hall. We will gather to reflect on the great gift and the mysteries of planet earth. We will have three speakers: Don Hickman, John Korzenlowski and Bernie Evans. Don Hickman, Program Manager for planning and Preservation at the Initiative Foundation, Little Falls, will speak on the topic: "A look at the demographic and economic changes we can anticipate in the coming decades, and what that could mean for our natural resources." John Korzenlowski, area Forest Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, will share information about, "Trees: Our dependence on them, their dependence on us." From producing oxygen to providing building materials, we depend on trees. We also have a responsibility to ensure forests for the future. Bernie Evans, Professor at St. John’s University, will share "Catholic perspectives on the environment." Catholic teaching holds that the entire universe is sacramental and that we are to respect all life. What does that mean for how we respond to global warming and other challenges? Renew your commitment to take the utmost care of our planet for our sakes and for the sake of children.

Sunday, April 27th at 7 p.m. we will again have a Strings Concert in our Sacred Heart Chapel. There will be two groups of strings players. This will be an hour of good music to warm your heart. Come if you can. A free will offering will help support the strings music program.

Pax et Bonum.
Sister Mary Lou