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