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