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

April 18, 2008

A weekend without snow - coming right up! We will all appreciate it.

This morning I went to Chamber Morning Coffee at The Depot. Various businesses sponsor the event and it is held at either their places of business or at the Chamber office. This morning Larson Abstract was the sponsor. It is an opportunity to learn something about the various businesses in town—and they always serve treats! One of the treats today was Orange Julius and Strawberry Julius from the local Dairy Queen. Ummmm. They are good!

This is the last day of the Bloodmobile. It is held here every 3 months. We sent out 545 reminder postcards. Our response has been good. I have totals from only the first two days—197 units collected so far. God bless all those generous donors.

Tomorrow we have a Spaghetti Supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m., served in the Motherhouse Dining Room. There is lots of activity in the kitchen and bakery today. The proceeds benefit St. Francis Music Center and St. Francis Health and Recreation Center.

Peace and All Good.
Sister Mary Lou


April 14, 2008

"Oh, What a Beautiful Morning. Oh What a Beautiful Day…" Do you remember the song? It is on a tape I have in the car. And I sing along with it every time it comes up.

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is bright and cheerful. The pure, white snow is melting. Soon we will again see the grass getting green. Friday’s foot plus of snow coming down sideways, kind of put the city on hold. All the schools were closed as well as many businesses in town. I’m glad I got a room at the Motherhouse on Thursday night so I could get to work in the mailroom on Friday. I would surely have gotten stuck trying to come to work. Before work in the mailroom, I spent a little time working at the convent switchboard until Carol could get in. It seems everyone had to put their shovels to work…and four-wheel drive vehicles were much appreciated!

The Home, Garden and Leisure Show was held Saturday and Sunday at the Exchange arena. They seemed to have good attendance. One thing was sure: No one would be working in their gardens. Friday’s snowstorm took care of that thought. I went for an hour or so to see what I could see. If you wanted to build, remodel or add an addition to your house, you could have found several businesses who could assist you. I also saw some huge lawn mowers and four-wheel vehicles and one VERY fancy fish house.

This week the Bloodmobile will be coming. On Wednesday (16th) and Thursday (17th) it will be in St. Francis Hall from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. and on Friday (18th) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. God bless all those generous folks who give their blood to save the life of another. I have my five gallon pin.
Going to Mass on Sunday morning, I saw robins skating on ice puddles as they looked for water. There were many robins walking on the snow looking for food. They seemed pretty puffed-out to keep warm.

Sunday afternoon, I drove to Osakis to listen to the concert by the Gordan Men’s Choir. They are good! The youngest member was a five-year old young gentleman. His grandfather sings in the Choir. The little fellow came along with his grandfather for all the practices and sang along with all the songs, so the choir invited him to participate in the concert. He walked on stage wearing a white shirt, tie and black pants. Everyone clapped to welcome him. Two other groups also sang a few songs. It was all music of faith and prayer.

On my trip back from Osakis, I saw two male Ring-necked pheasants. (I haven’t seen any for a long, long time, so that was a joy.) I also saw a couple big flocks of blackbirds and a couple hawks or owls. I’ve heard, but not yet seen the neighborhood cardinal. I’m so glad the birds are back for the season.

Peace and All Good.
May you recognize the Lord’s blessings in each day.

Sister Mary Lou


April 8, 2008

Good Morning, Good People! This is a greeting St. Francis used. It is a good morning! God loves us and what more is needed. I just saw the crocus and some little white flowers blooming in the flower bed near the east kitchen windows!

Here in Little Falls, we missed out on the BIG snows that attacked points north of here. We did get a little over ½ inch of rain. I talked to my sister-in-law, Nancy, who lives near Cohasset, MN. She said they have two feet of snow on their deck! Before this, except for the little piles of snow in the woods, it snow was all gone.

In the weeks before Easter, Coborn’s, the local grocery store, offered "Ham Cards."
For every ten dollars of groceries purchased, we would get a stamp on the card. When the card is full, one could get a free ham. Well, many of us could never fill the card, but we gave our partially filled cards to the Food Shelf. With these partially filled cards, Carol was able to get 16 whole hams. Thirteen of them were cut in half, so 29 families were able to receive ham for a meal when they went to the Food Shelf. Thanks for your sharing, Employees and Sisters.

Last Saturday, April 5th, the Secular Franciscans from the Queen of Peace Region, had their Spring Retreat at St. Francis Convent. Many SFO Members were present to hear Sister Elise Saggau share the message of "Franciscans and Muslims in Dialogue--Sharing the Message and the Mission." I learned a lot. Thanks, Sr. Elise.

That evening I attended the concert of the Heartland Symphony Orchestra at the Charles D. Martin Auditorium here in Little Falls. As always, the music was beautiful. I was very impressed with the two young women who played solos. They were were really good. Youth Concerto Senior winner was Beth Hauer, 17-years-old, who played the euphonium. She’s studied the euphonium for seven years. The other soloist was 14-year-old, Madeleine Steup who played violin. She is in 8th grade, is home schooled, and has studied violin for 5 ½ years. What talent these youth have! Thank you Heartland Symphony Orchestra for encouraging talented youth like these girls.

This coming Friday evening we have Spring Magic. This is a dinner and dance for the developmentally disabled of Morrison County and their families. St. Camillus Place sponsors the dinner with the help of MANY local service organizations who help with generous financial donations. It is a joyous evening for all.

Weather permitting, I plan on going to Osakis, MN on Sunday for the concert of the Gordon Men’s Choir. It is a group of men who like to sing together. My brother, Richard, sings in the choir. They make good music.

May the Lord look on you with peace and blessings.
Sister Mary Lou


April 3, 2008

Here I am again. It’s been awhile since I last had an entry. That’s what happens when the computer is ill and needs cleaning up and fixing. Thank you, Elsie, for getting us up and running again.

Winter is having a hard time leaving this year. The calendar says "spring," but the snow keeps coming. At least it melts fast. Coming home from Mass the other morning, I saw about 30 or more robins in the next block to ours. I heard my first robin the Wednesday of Holy Week, but I couldn’t see it. That is a good sign of Spring!

Today I am working in the mailroom as I do on Thursdays. This morning I took a couple boxes that UPS delivered to the Music Center. In visiting with Robyn, I learned that they have about 340 students that come for music lessons each week. That does not count the 30 folks who are part of the St. Francis Chorale. These folks come together to sing and have fun. There are also two strings groups that come to play and have fun. They will be giving a concert April 27 at 7 p.m. in the Convent Chapel. Come join us for the concert. It is always great music. Check www.sfmusiccenter.org for information on all the programs at the Music Center.

Today we are honoring our 380+ volunteers. At least 125 have responded that they will be joining us for dinner this evening. Needless to say, the kitchen is a VERY busy place today. Our volunteers do so much for us and we are very grateful for all their assistance in so many ways. THANK YOU, VOLUNTEERS.

On Saturday, April 5, the Secular Franciscans are having a retreat day at St. Francis. Our speaker will be Sister Elise Saggau. I am looking forward to the day. This year the Elk River Fraternity is responsible for organizing the retreat. Next year it is our Fioretti Fraternity that will plan the retreat. (We don’t have our speaker yet!)

Last Thursday evening, the Chamber of Commerce had their annual meeting at the Falls Ballroom. At that gathering, the Franciscan Sisters received an award as the 2007 Employer of the Year. The March 16, 2008 issue of the Record says: "The Franciscan Sisters continue to provide services ranging from a community garden to offering scholarships for instrumental, voice or dance instruction to the services of their recreations center." Deb Boelz said, "The Franciscan Sisters are a shining example of community involvement, serving on Chamber and nonprofit boards and committees, promoting the betterment of the community while demonstrating their commitment to social justice and life-long learning." Thank you for the award!

Peace and all good.
Sister Mary Lou