July 29, 2009

These must be what are called the “lazy, hazy days of summer.” Rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow…and that will be good. But my prayer is that the rain will come without storms and hail. Last weekend was the weekend for the Eltgroth Family Campout. I joined them on Saturday only at the Glacial Ridge State Park. I saw lots of very nice corn and grain fields as I headed toward Starbuck, MN.

Yesterday Sister Therese and Theresa Eccleston went to the Benedict Center in St. Cloud to visit Father John Eccleston. Even in his memory loss he recognized us as family and friends. He was happy to have visitors. And we were happy to see him.

Tonight for supper we had a meal in preparation for next week’s Green Fair and Peace Concert. We had green vegetables: lettuce, peas, beans, pickles (and also new potatoes and pork roast.)

The Directors of Nurses are at St. Francis Center for three days of meetings this week. And last weekend we had seven young women here for a “Come and See” weekend. It is an opportunity for girls to see and meet Sisters and find out about our life.

This coming Saturday is the Paint-A-Thon in Morrison County. Two hundred plus volunteers will be painting seven homes. We, the committee, serve a big breakfast to all the painters at 6:46 a.m. at First United Church. Again, please pray for no rain until after the painting is finished.

Next Wednesday evening, August 5th from 4 to 8 p.m. is the Green Fair and Peace Concert on the west lawn of the convent. This is the third year for the Green Fair which welcomed over 800 guests last year. Highlights of this year’s fair will be activities for children, good music from the URock Camp, and the St. Francis Peace Choir, a Eco Fashion Show featuring local models and lots of recycled but fashionable clothes, many from the Clothes Review. The Green Fair and Peace Concert , an evening of universal ecological awareness, is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota and is a FREE EVENT. Many vendors will provide educational information for everyone.

Please pray for dry weather for the Green Fair and Peace Concert and the Paint-A-Thon.
Thank you.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou



July 20, 2009

Today is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. What a lot of events since that time. Where were you that day? I remember watching the TV coverage and thinking, “Could that really be happening?” I admire the people with the smarts to be able to figure out how to carry out the technology that was needed.

Where do I start today? Last week seems like such a long time ago…so many things going on. Last Tuesday we had 1 and 8/10s inches of rain—most of it coming in half an hour at 7 p.m. The rain came straight down. We had some street flooding in our neighborhood and some rain came into our basement, too. The lawns sure liked the rain.

Friday evening we had the Relay for Life event at Flyer Field, here in Little Falls. There were 190 survivors and care-givers at the 5:30 p.m. Survivors’ Dinner. The sponsors for the dinner were Kentucky Fried Chicken and Dr. Phil and Susy Prosapio. Thank you. The theme was Every Step Counts. There were over 400 walkers in the 38 teams that walked through the night. The amount of money raised at the time of the Luminary Ceremony was given at $160,870. The final total will be higher than that. God bless all those who helped organize that big event, especially Ted and Mary Pfohl and their many assistants. I again did the first lap around the track—the Survivors’ lap. Thanks Larry and Pat for walking slow with me. The Franciscan Sisters were responsible for printing the yellow programs.

The St. Francis High School All-school Reunion was the BIG event of the weekend! It was wonderful. So much joy in graduates seeing one another. Lots of visiting, laughter, and some tears. There were 550 at the Falls Ballroom for the dinner and dance Saturday evening. And about that many again Sunday morning for the Mass in Sacred Heart Chapel and then for the dinner. For at least one graduate, this was the first time she was back since she graduated in 1961. The graduates really enjoyed the tours to see the rooms where they went to class and to rooms where there boarders lived. Sister Judine received standing ovations for her work in organizing the event. We all know that it takes a LOT of people to help carry out such a huge event. So THANK YOU to all of them, too. There was as wonderful display of class pictures for all the classes and other artifacts all around St. Francis Hall that everyone enjoyed viewing. I wore my 1953 class ring. The picture shows the band uniforms and the gym and swim suits from an earlier era.

Next week we have the Morrison County Fair…another exciting event.

Enough for this time. Let us pray for gentle, storm-free rains.

May peace fill our world.
God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou



July 13, 2009

God bless the strawberry pickers. Thanks to their efforts last week we’ve had more fresh berries. And thanks, too, to those who helped clean them.

The other day I noticed how lovely the flowers are around the Mary statue that is between Hurrle and Mary Hall. In the remodeling project a couple years back Mary was moved to her present location, which, if I remember correctly, “they say” is where she was when we originally got the statue.

Friday I attended two funerals. In the morning I was at Bethel Lutheran Church for the funeral of David Thelander. age 40. Walter Andres, David’s father-in-law, is one of our employees.

Then in the afternoon, in our Motherhouse Sacred Heart Chapel, we had the funeral for Mary Krantz, wife of Jeff Odendahl, another of our employees. Mary and Jeff have been Franciscan Associates for the past 20 years. Mary struggled valiantly against her cancer. She planned her entire funeral. God bless Jeff. He was the homilist…and did a beautiful job! Mary selected the presider, Fr. Kevin Anderson, the musicians, choir and all who took part in the Liturgy. It was a true celebration of New Life for Mary.

This coming weekend will be a busy one. Friday night will be the 16th Relay for Life cancer walk at Flyer Field, at the High School. (Nation-wide this is the 25th year for these walks.) The theme is: “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back.” There is a survivors’ supper at 5:30. The opening ceremony is at 7 p.m. I do the survivors’ walk which is the first group to walk around the field. My favorite part of the evening is the luminary ceremony at 10 p.m. Next week I can give more details on the event.

The St. Francis High School all-school reunion is Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19. It will be a GREAT event. Sisters Judine and Liz have been working hard on the arrangements for a LONG time. Their biggest desire is that everyone will have a good time. It will happen. Saturday evening there will be a dinner and dance and LOTS of visiting at the Falls Ballroom. That building will be filled to capacity, I am sure. I will be eager to see the members of our class of ’53. On Sunday we will have Mass at 11 a.m., lunch and of course much more visiting. I will have more about this event next week, too.

I/we pray for needed rain and protection from storms.

Pax et bonum (Peace and good).
Sister Mary Lou


During Community Days many Sisters worked on a 1,000 piece puzzle of cats wearing red hats. A week or so ago the puzzle was finished. And here it is.


July 6, 2009

God bless the six people who went to an organically-grown strawberry patch near Bowlus and in about three hours picked two hundred pounds of berries. We have had many meals with fresh berries on the menu. They are so good. Again, thanks, pickers.

Last week I forgot to report on the Blood Drive here at the convent. Though we did not reach our goal of 260 units, we did receive 231 units…and that can help a lot of people needing blood. May God bless each of the donors and of course all the staff and volunteers who worked together to make the drive a success.

Also, last week we had a special evening presentation by Rev. Robin Hoover, Ph.D. He is the director of Humane Borders and he spoke about their work. What an informative talk. Two of our Sisters, Audrey Jean and Kizzie, work with this group. You can read more about it on the web: www.humaneborders.org.

Wednesday morning I went to Nisswa to attend the funeral for Larry Fyle, brother of our Sisters, Sharon and Blanche. He was a member of the local fire department for a long time. My first clue to that was when I came to the church and saw two BIG fire trucks parked in front. The boom of Fire Truck #1 was lifted high and a USA flag was suspended from it. Larry was also quite a fisherman. May he be enjoying life with the Lord. Peace, blessings and comfort to his family.
On returning from Nisswa, I worked at Coborn’s for a couple hours at the brat sale. The proceeds went to Oasis-Share-A-Meal. Many groups volunteer to serve a free meal every Thursday evening at First Lutheran Church to all who come. In a couple weeks, the Franciscan Sisters and Employees will furnish the meal.

I was at two nursing homes Thursday…The Lutheran Home here in Little Falls and Bethany in Brainerd. I was very impressed with all the beautiful flowers and plants that welcome guests. At the Lutheran Home, there is a little garden that I had never before seen. Around the edges of the big cement slab are about 25 large clay pots. In the pots, residents planted tomatoes and flowers and many other plants, too. Each pot has the name of the gardener. There is something so healthy about digging in the dirt and watching the plants grow.

And of course, the big event of the weekend was the West Union 4th of July Parade. There were maybe a few less groups in the parade, but it was a very nice 40-minute parade. Following the parade there was a short program in the city park and then a pot-luck lunch for everyone. Lots of people stayed to eat and to visit. There was a marching band. Then members of my family were part of the Kazoo Crew marching band. They even did a few formation routines. It was a good day.

Let us keep Bishop John Kinney in our prayers. He will have his second back surgery on July 10th. May the surgery go well and may his healing go fast. God bless you, Bishop, and the surgeons and your other care-givers, too.

God bless you. Peace and goodness.
Sister Mary Lou