September 23, 2009

Here it is the middle of the week already. We’ve had busy days around the Motherhouse.

Last Saturday was the Retreat Day for Associates. About 35 Sisters and Associates attended the event. Our own Sister Clara Stang gave the presentations. Afterwards one of the participants said, “I will never say the Our Father the same way.” What a great compliment. Whenever anyone’s prayer life is deepened, it is a worthwhile event.

And of course, on Sunday was Donor Day. We had 212 guests for the day’s events. I received a copy of Father Michael’s homily. It touched my heart and I know it touched the hearts of many in the congregation, too. He reminded them that in their donations of “money, support and relationships, they are accompanying the Franciscan Sisters as they continue the ministry of Jesus among the needy, in the spirit of Saint Francis.” And I say with Father Michael, “Thank you, Franciscan Sisters and Donors, for opening your hearts to receive God’s peace in Jesus Christ, for cultivating it there, and for sharing it with others.” After the Mass there was a delicious meal followed by a program. Robyn Gray talked about St. Francis Music Center and all the wonderful things they do there in addition to giving music lessons…how the staff works to build self-confidence and self-esteem in the 300 + persons who come to the Music Center each week. Our guests were also invited to tour the newly remodeled convent kitchen.

I’m sorry I had to miss both events. I was busy about gatherings with the Secular Franciscans. Saturday was our annual Fioretti Fraternity pilgrimage. We visited the new Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Cross Lake, MN. Darrel and Colleen Schneider gave us an insightful tour of the Church. It is a beautiful building. Several of us stayed for the Saturday evening Mass. Then on Sunday I was with St. Leonard’s Fraternity in Minneapolis for their elections of new leaders. Yesterday I was in Brainerd for the funeral of one of our Fioretti Fratenity members, Leona Horak, SFO.

This coming Saturday, our Sister Elise Saggau will give a presentation on Franciscan Prayer. Any presentation she gives is worth listening to.

One of our Sisters, Sister Roberta Zimmer, is near death. Sisters have been staying with her round-the-clock. May the Merciful Lord come to take her home. This afternoon, I got a call that my last living aunt, Sister Agnesine Rosonke, in Dubuque, IA, is not doing well. May God be with all those who are near death.

The other day I came across this prayer. It is called A Child’s Prayer for Morning. As I read it, I thought, “This is good for anyone.” See what you think.
“Now before I run to play,/ let me not forget to pray/ to God who kept me
through the night/ and waked me with the morning light./ Help me, Lord, to love
Thee more than I ever loved before. In my work and in my play,/ be Thou with me
through the day. Amen.”

We are in need of rain. May it come gently and without storms. My friend Larry Anderson from Morris brought more garden produce. I took a picture of some of the beautiful peppers. And I also have a picture of some of the other produce we’ve been given. God bless all those who share their garden products both with us, others and the Food Shelf. Know you are being prayed for.

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



September 16, 2009

Peace and all good. It has been a busy week and I have lots of things to write about.

For me the big event was the Arts and Crafts Fair held in the downtown area of Little Falls, MN. I love the Arts and Crafts Fair. I am a Block Host for south Kidder Street and one block on west Broadway. As Block Hosts the 80 of us volunteers are the liaison between the vendors and the Chamber of Commerce. On Friday evening we are there to see that vendors get set up on their correct 10 X 10 foot spot and have their license number displayed on the upper left hand corner of their booth. On Saturday and Sunday, I am around to check on how things are going and to look around at all the crafts. For me, it is a joy to see returning vendors and to meet the new ones. I generally check out the entire Fair. Because of my little battery operated cart, I can get around to all places. There are so many beautiful things to see…and so many nice people to meet. On my way home Saturday noon, in a four block stretch on our 3rd Street block I saw vehicles with the following license plates: CA, MN. IA, MT, CO, SC, ND, SD. DA, WI. That gives an idea of where shoppers and vendors come from. From what I heard, vendors had good sale days. Because of the pea-soup fog Saturday morning, the crowds didn’t get there until about 10 a.m. ….but they came! And they purchased!

On Sunday the Crosier Brothers and Priests had their BIG celebration in St. Cloud at the Cathedral and at the Civic Center. We were pleased to have 8 Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross from Greenbay, WI, as our guests at St. Francis Center. Their Order was founded by Crosier Father Edward Francis Daems, 125 years ago. The Crosiers were celebrating their 800 anniversary of their founding and their 100 anniversary of serving in Minnesota. A Crosier priest comes to the Motherhouse each Friday to preside at our morning Eucharist. Congratulations. May God continue to bless and care for you, our Crosier Brothers.

The other evening as we were coming home from the Dairy Queen, traffic both directions was stopped. The reason: about 25 ducks were crossing the road from the river to someone’s lawn across the road. It makes me happy to know that wildlife is protected and cared for.

Last Friday there was a meeting for the District 5 Dietary Managers in St. Francis Hall. They had a very busy agenda. The 25 guests from Central Minnesota had several talks: Sister Latona did a presentation on preparedness for the H1N1 flu. Mary Beth Overland talked about conflict resolution. Sue Grossbauer reminded the dietary managers about the importance of safe care and use of eggs so as to prevent salmonella poisoning. And Ruth Land gave information on carb (carbohydrate) counting for diabetics. Terry Bernardy, our Dietary Manager edits the Newsletter for the state.

The 1000 piece The Olde General Store puzzle in the mailroom was completed the other day. Soon it will be taken apart and a new one started. It is great seeing so many Sisters sit for a few minutes (or longer) and work on assembling each new puzzle.

This coming Sunday is Donor Day. I know we will be having many guests for Mass, lunch and the program. We are grateful to all who support our ministries in any way. Our list of donors is long and we appreciate each one. Each is part of our serving God’s people. Thank you.

Enjoy these last days of summer. We’ve had six days of 80 degree temperatures this past week. The only rain we received was 12/100s of an inch just as the Arts and Crafts vendors were getting ready to assemble their booths. And on the farm program yesterday I heard the man say, “Possible frost the end of next week.” Oh, My!

God bless you,
Sister Mary Lou


September 8, 2009

Tomorrow school starts for LOTS of students and teachers. I pray for them all for a good school year. May it be a safe and learning-filled time for both teachers and students. I always liked the excitement of the beginning of the school year and I miss it a bit every year.

Fall is coming. One more sign is all the acorns that fall on our driveway and lawn. One can sweep them up and in no time there are lots more there again. I haven’t seen any squirrels doing their collecting. In fact I’ve not seen any squirrels at all.

Thursday, just before our Motherhouse 11 a.m. Mass, Sister Camille Squillace went to heaven. She was a Sister 56 years. Her Funeral is today. She is my last class-mate. The cancer finally got the best of her. She put up a valiant struggle against it for some long time. Her Wake was last evening. As part of our Wake Service we always have time for story telling. The memories are so great. Sister Camille asked that at the Offertory of her Funeral Mass, I bring to the altar the white rose to remember our deceased classmates: Sisters Helen, Stella, Carla, and Susan. It is my privilege to do so.

Last Wednesday was “Sister Julien Day”. She is our Motherhouse Administrator. This summer she celebrated her golden jubilee and her birthday was Saturday. So we had a surprise double celebration. We had donuts for morning coffee break. At noon lunch there was a special program and then a special apple treat for afternoon coffee brea. It was a good day and she deserves the recognition for all that she does.

The Morrison County Record headline this week caught my attention: “Little Falls expected to grow by 160,000.” This coming weekend, September 12 and 13, is the 37th Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair in downtown Little Falls, the 7th Antiques and Collectables Fair at LeBourget Park on the west side of the Mississippi River, and the 35th Lone Eagle Auto Club Car Show and Swap Meet on Sunday at the Morrison County Fairgrounds. Fair hours are: Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. I love the Arts and Crafts Fair. I like to admire the beautiful things the craters make and I try to get to most of the 600+ booths. I’ll check out some of the Food Court goodies, too. We have almost all the guest rooms at St. Francis Center rented out to vendors who will come Friday and leave on Sunday…29 staying so far.

Last week I forgot to tell you about the special fish supper we had. In August, Terry, our Dietary Manager, went on vacation to Alaska. While there he did some fishing. He caught one or two big halibut, had them cleaned and frozen and sent FedEx to the Motherhouse. He shared his catch with us Sisters. It was delicious. Thanks, Terry.

Let us pray for one another.
Stay well and God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


September 2, 2009

Such a variety of things to write about. I’ll start with Sunday’s celebration of Sister Justina’s 80th Jubilee as a Franciscan Sister. She walked proudly into and out of Chapel.

And when she renewed her vows she walked up the three steps to the altar level and spoke them loud and clear. It gave lots of us goose-bumps to hear and see her do this. Many of her family and friends were here to celebrate with her. The songs at Mass were well chosen: “The Summons,” “Here I Am,” “Center of My Life,” “My Song Will Be for You Forever.” Sister Justina’s most used words of the day were, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” Congratulations, Sister. We admire you.

Last Wednesday we had the commissioning of five young men and women who are our Franciscan Community Volunteers. This is a new program for our Religious Community. These five volunteers will spend the next ten months being part of community and volunteering in areas that serve the poor.

A couple weeks ago, Larry Anderson brought us 30 heads of cabbage…large heads of cabbage. Sr. Ruth made about 35 gallons of sauerkraut on Thursday. It is fermenting away in the locker plant. On Friday, Larry brought us another 30 heads of cabbage. He also brought us two boxes of green peppers. A couple of them are the size of a football! Wow!!! Thank you, Larry. We will have lots of sauerkraut and coleslaw in the coming season.

In all the business of last week I completely overlooked the “O” Bloodmobile drive on Wednesday. It was just a one-day drive and they were looking for mostly type “O” blood. The goal was 85 units and we got 85 units. Thank you, generous donors.

Last week, also, about 30 Directors of Nurses were here for three days of meetings.

I have spent many hours sitting with one of our Sisters, Sister Camille, who is dying. When a Sister nears death, Sisters and Associates keep vigil with her and stay with her round the clock. Sr. Camille and I are the last two members of our class of ‘53.

The beginning of the week, I went to the movie, My Sisters Keeper. I had lots to think about after that.

We have a couple containers on our living room table that have milkweed leaves and branches with monarch cocoons hanging from them. In a couple weeks we can watch them hatch. It always amazes me to see that worm make the cocoon and then hatch into a beautiful butterfly.

Sister Joan Tuberty and Sister Mary Blasé Kulzer each had a brother die this past week. I attended the Wake service for Allen Kulzer Sunday afternoon in Sauk Centre, MN. The Tuberty services were in Florida.

Let us pray for one another.
Have a safe Labor Day weekend.
Students, have a good school year.
God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou