October 26, 2009

Here it is Monday again!

Yesterday, Father Dick McGuire had a “Teaching Mass” at the Motherhouse for the Sisters, about 30 Confirmation Class Students and many parents and other family members. It was a marvelous experience. Fr. McGuire gave us a lot of information on the meaning of the vestments and the parts of the Mass. I learned and relearned many things. It was long but it was good. After Mass everyone went to the dining room for soup and sandwiches.

Then, yesterday afternoon the local KCs came to serve ice cream and cake to the Sisters.
Every year these generous men come to treat us. We are grateful for the treat and more so for their friendship.

Thursday we will have our Employee/Sister Potluck lunch and costume party. There is always so much good food and good visiting…and usually some kind of entertainment!

Next week two special events will happen. First, the Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at St. Francis November 4, 5 and 6th, 2009. Call Sr. Julien to make appointments (632-0663) if you have not yet received your appointment notification card.

Then, on Saturday, Nov. 7th we will have a Spaghetti supper fund-raiser meal—4:30 to 7 p.m. Come and enjoy a delicious meal. The proceeds will benefit St. Francis Music Center and St. Francis Health and Recreation.

In reading Sharings, our employee newsletter, I read about the Morrison County United Way Campaign, which is underway now. I was surprised to find out that just 50 cents taken out of a pay period check will be a donation of $13. Last year our employees donated $3,156 to United Way. Thank you for your generous donations.

One last reminder. Day Light Savings time ends on November 1st. Set your clock back one hour. You can change the clocks before you go to bed or get up at 2 a.m. like they show in the newspaper. I’ll opt for the before-bed time. (In spring, spring the clocks ahead one hour. And in fall, fall back an hour.)

God bless you and have a good week.
Sister Mary Lou



October 23, 2009

The past three days have been busy ones for the Community Relations Department. About forty volunteers came to stuff envelopes for the Christmas Appeal. They started Tuesday morning and had the 16,000 plus envelopes stuffed, sealed and addressed by shortly after noon today, Thursday. Are they efficient? Yes. And they have such a good time working together. Thank you, volunteers.

Saturday we had about 70 guests for the Orphan Train Reunion. There are not too many survivors from the original riders, but the children and grandchildren of the original riders like to get together and share stories. For a couple people this was the first time they have been here. Our Sister Justina was an Orphan Train rider and arrived in Minnesota from New York City in about 1915. She was the one who started these reunions. This year was the 49th annual reunion. Their speaker was someone from the Foundling Home in New York City. I heard it was a very good program.

Last weekend I was in Cedar Rapids, IA for an SFO (Secular Franciscan Order) Gathering. It was a great weekend and I met many nice Secular Franciscans. I stayed at Sacred Heart Convent in Cedar Rapids, the Motherhouse for the Mercy Sisters. One very nice surprise for me was that my friend, Sr. Phyllis Ann, was there Saturday evening so we had a good visit. I didn’t know she’d be there and she didn’t know I’d be there.
Coming home on Monday the sky was clear all the way so along the way, I could see farmers busy harvesting corn.

Now we need some dry weather so our local farmers can get in the fields. We’ve had over an inch and a half rain so far this week. I’m still waiting for a couple weeks of Indian Summer.

Sunday we will be having a group of Confirmation Students coming for Mass at the Motherhouse. For some, I am sure, it will be their first time being at the convent.

More next week.
Pax et Bonum
Sister Mary Lou



October 13, 2009

I was in a state of denial! I did not want to believe the weather forecasters when on Friday night they said we’d have snow Saturday morning when we got up. Then I looked out the door!!! October 10th is too early for the snow season to start! Now, today, the snow is mostly melted. Farmers need some more time to get the beans and corn harvested. I am waiting for Indian Summer—several weeks of it would be really nice in my estimation.

Saturday afternoon we had a most marvelous concert in Sacred Heart Chapel. The Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra (WCO) were on their way to Brainerd to do a Church Service and Concert in Brainerd, MN on Sunday. They asked if they could stop and do a concert here at the Motherhouse on their way to Brainerd. What a blessing they are! It has been six or seven years since they last performed here. They are about 40 singers and 20 in the orchestra and they make beautiful music. The Director, Gerrit Willem Lamain, born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, gave a little story or history of each of the pieces they did. I like that. They are a non-profit organization and take up a collection at each site where they perform and all the proceeds go to the local food-shelf. In the past 18 concert seasons WCO has helped raise more than $265,000 --enough to provide 1.4 million meals. In the past 13 years they have performed in 75 different sites in MN and WI and have had 7 European tours. Through the generosity of the Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra, our Morrison County Food Shelf received $691.00 in cash and two large bags of groceries. You can read more about them at their Web site:

St. Andrew’s Parish, in Elk River, MN, had a celebration to honor Sister Carmen Barsody for her 25 years as a Franciscan Sister and to honor and celebrate the 70 years that the Franciscan Sisters served in that parish. Our service there started as a Catechetical Mission in 1939 and then after 13 years a Catholic School was built. Sisters Giles and Marcelline left there in 2008. And now Sister Karen Niedzielski is the only Franciscan Sister teaching at the school. As I looked at the display board, I counted six of our Sisters who came from that parish. Six Sisters were on staff when the school opened in 1951. In 1966 there were 13 Sisters there.

On Sunday, at the Motherhouse, there was also a celebration. It was Associate Commitment Day. Three new associates made their commitment. Also 54 Associates celebrated 20, 15, 10 and 5-year anniversaries. God bless all these Associates who live Franciscan values in their daily lives.

On Sunday, I was in Waseca for Profession for six new Secular Franciscans into the John Paul II Forming Fraternity. Profession took place after the Gospel at the 10 a.m. Sunday Liturgy. One additional nice surprise for me/us was that my cousin Jane, who lives in nearby Janesville, MN, was in attendance at that Mass.

Peace and all good.
Sister Mary Lou



October 7, 2009

Since I wrote last week, we’ve received 4+ inches of rain here in Little Falls. Today is sunny and bright. Many trees are wearing beautiful fall colors. But in the weather forecast I heard the word “snow” for Friday for our area!!!

Since my last writing, we’ve celebrated the Feast of St. Francis on Sunday, October 4th. A faith-filled Mass started the day. In the evening we celebrated with a special dinner. John made pork chops and ribs on a wood-pellet-fired-smoker-grill--the use of which came from the Nelson Hardware Store in Swanville, MN. Good prayer and good food, good company—this must be heaven will be like!

I am quoting an article Sr. Bernice Rieland wrote in our Community Newsletter this week. It is too good to not share. “Animal Blessing: All God’s creatures had a voice in the choir on Sunday, October 4, at the Blessing of Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. A menagerie of pets—all sizes, colors and voices with names such as Woody, Rylie, Sophie, Taco, Cinder and Willy—were present in Washington Park in Little Falls, MN, for the well attended event. We heard howls, barks, purrs and yips. One participant stated he brought his dog, Rose, to last year’s blessing and later she gave birth to a litter of 12 puppies. This year Rose refused to get into his pickup. The blessing obviously had merit and Rose wanted no part of it this year.’

Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10th, we have a special treat. The Woodbury Choir and orchestra will be performing a concert for us in our Sacred Heart Chapel. They have been here before and they make beautiful music. They are stopping here to perform before they continue on to Brainerd where they will make music for a Church service and a concert Sunday afternoon.

This coming Sunday we have Associate Commitment Day. Four applicants from the St. Cloud Area will be making their commitment as Franciscan Associates. The afternoon program will feature Associate Rick Dietz speaking on “Engaging the Franciscan Charism: As Associate’s Perspective.” It should be a very good day. (Long ago, Rick and I were both on staff at St. Mary’s Parish in Morris MN.)

Let us pray for one another.
Peace and all good.
Sister Mary Lou



October 2, 2009

Feast of the Guardian Angels.
I thank God for the heavenly angels that watch over, care for and protect us. I am also grateful for the many angels in human form who also care for us in ways we may never know in this life. Thank you for ways you have been an angel to me.

What a busy week. Last Saturday I was in Bloomington all day for the Fall Retreat for the Secular Franciscans. Our speaker was Father Lester Bach, OFM, Cap. We were a group of about a 100 Franciscans. It was a good day.

Here at the Motherhouse on Saturday was also the funeral for Sister Roberta Zimmer, age 84. Sister Roberta was one of the very first of our Sisters who drove a car, and as such, served as chauffeur for the sisters at the Motherhouse for a time. May she be enjoying life with the Lord.

On Sunday we hosted a Dad’s Belgian Waffle Breakfast. Approximately 468 guests came. This fundraiser brought in $2,491 for the St. Francis Music Center and St. Francis Health and Recreation Center ministries. Everyone enjoyed the delicious waffles, sausages, beverages and the array of toppings that were available.

Sunday evening my brother Nick picked me up and we went to our brother Richard’s home near West Union, MN, overnight. Then early Monday morning we were on our way to Kandiyohi to pick up our sister, Cecelia, and then on to Dubuque, IA, for our aunt’s funeral on Tuesday. Sister Mary Agnesine Rosonke, age 95, was the last of the generation ahead of us to die. (Now we are the “old folks!”) Sister’s funeral was a true celebration of life. Almost all of us first cousins were in attendance along with the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters for the funeral. In her many years as teacher and principal she touched many lives.

We started our homeward trek late Tuesday afternoon. One thing that impressed me was the large number of wind turbines along I90 across southern MN…hundreds of them. At night each one blinks a red light to warn airplanes that they are there. And as we traveled Highway 71 there is another BIG bunch of wind turbines. I Googled “Wind turbines” and found out that Minnesota is third in the nation for using this source of energy production. Ten years ago Minnesota had very few wind turbines. One article said wind turbines have “sprouted like dandelions” across the landscape. I am always amazed that they seem to move so slowly and yet produce so much energy.

As we drove along we noticed quite a bit of soy bean harvest going on as well as some corn harvest. We saw LOTS and LOTS of corn…some looking strong, green and healthy and some very short and shriveled.

Yesterday was “Flu Shot Day” at the convent. Sisters got their seasonal flu shots in the morning and the lay employees got theirs in the afternoon. My hope and prayer is that no one gets either the seasonal flu or the H1N1 flu. There are hand sanitizers everywhere. I joke that this is the new “holy water” as we enter the dining room. Let’s hope that all the precautions are effective.

This Saturday evening we have the Transitus. This is a commemoration of the death of Francis as told with acting, song and narration. Sunday is the Feast of St. Francis. It is our patronal feast…and so a very special day for us. Sunday noon there will be a Blessing of Animals at Washington Park here in Little Falls. We will again see lots of dogs and cats and maybe a few other animals. One year I blessed a little turtle. And another time some baby pigs.

That’s enough for this time.
Happy Feast of St. Francis.
Sister Mary Lou