February 22, 2010 -- Sunny February

Greetings on a sunny February day. I took my little blue battery operated cart outside for a little spin this afternoon and yesterday and the day before, too. Saturday I got the minutes written up from the St. Camillus Advisory Board meeting. So today I took them over to Lisa so she can make copies and send them out. It was great to be outside for a while.

Last week my friend, Ron, said, “If you put an ‘e’ in ‘Pacemaker,’ then you have ‘Peacemaker.’” I thought, “What a Lenten Resolution!” And I guess it is true not only for me, but for everyone. Pat had the following information in her display in the Library window:

Lenten Reflection

Give up complaining—focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism—become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments—think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry—trust divine Providence.
Give up discouragement—be full of hope.
Give up bitterness—turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred—return good for evil.
Give up negativism—be patient.
Give up anger—be more patient.
Give up pettiness—become mature.
Give up gloom—enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy—pray for trust.
Give up gossiping—control your tongue.
Give up sin—turn to virtue.
Give up giving up—hang in there!

Now for three music opportunities:

Charlie Maguire, folk song composer and performer, is staying at St. Francis Center this week while he is working with students at Lindbergh Elementary School. He is part of the Arts Alive Program and helps students compose and perform their music. Charlie has stayed here at the Center the past 5 + years. Thursday evening he will entertain the Sisters during the supper hour and join us for the meal. He wrote some of the music for the Orphan Train performance at the Minnesota History Theatre a couple years ago. Maybe you’ve heard Charlie on Public Radio.

On Sunday, February 28th at 1 p.m., there will be a free concert in Sacred Heart Chapel by “Mila.” Mila is a professional women’s vocal ensemble committed to the authentic reproduction of vocal traditions from over 30 countries. Mila’s nine singers all hail from unique musical backgrounds. Between then, the singers of Mila speak nearly a dozen languages. The name “Mila” has connotations including “dear one,” ‘love” and celebration,” in many of the languages represented by its repertoire. Through its music, Mila celebrates the beauty of the world’s cultures. Come, join us for the concert.

Celo V’ec, strings instructor at St. Francis Music Center, is creating a Women’s Slavic Choir in the style of Mila, so anyone interested in joining this choir can take this opportunity to hear this style of music. Celo is the founder of the world famous Yale Women’s Slavic Choir. Let the Music Center know if you are interested in joining this group.

Last Friday, Shelly Funeral Chapel sponsored the Chamber of Commerce Friday Morning Coffee event. After the visiting and announcements, the Mayor read a beautiful prayer and then 13 white doves were released. I got to hold one of the birds and let it go. Terry Nelson trains these beautiful, white homing pigeons. (I wonder how you train a bird.) Often Terry releases a bird at the end of a burial. I know he has done so a few times in our cemetery. It is beautiful to see.

Every Friday during Lent we have Stations of the Cross at 3:30 p.m. You are invited to come.

We have many little nooks and crannies around the building. The picture below is a little work of art as one enters the dining room.

God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


February 15, 2010 -- Happy President’s Day.

One step into the dining room and we knew we were celebrating something special! There were red, white and blue streamers on railing into the room, red white and blue balloons on the tables and stars and stripes patriotic tables cloths. The menu was an All-American Meal: *Southern Fried Chicken, *Mashed Idaho Potatoes with Gravy, * Midwest red, white and blue Jello Salad, * Washington Cherry Pie, *New England Apple Pie and root beer. Yummy! There were fun trivia questions about the presidents posted on the door…lots of conversation starters all around.

These two weeks, a hundred Norwegian Home Guard members are guests at Camp Ripley for winter training. And we have a hundred National Guard members training in Norway. This is the 37th year of this exchange program. Quite a number of years ago, my brother-in-law, Karl, went to Norway on this exchange.

Last weekend St. Francis Center hosted a Marriage Encounter weekend. There were 9 couples and a team of 5 facilitating the weekend.

Last Saturday the SFO (Secular Franciscan Order) Regional Council had their meeting here at St. Francis Center, also. Sister Christelle frequently talks about our “Dynamic Center.” And that is the truth of the matter—there is always something going on.

Wasn’t the hoar frost beautiful on Saturday? Only God could create something so vast, delicate and beautiful.

Are you watching the Olympics? There are lots of us watching every time they are on. I admire the discipline and training that those participants have to do to develop their skills to be part of the program. And even if I were able, some of those things I would want no part of.

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, or Donut Day. In our Community, donuts are the treat of the day. We have them for morning coffee, noon lunch, afternoon coffee and supper…and on Wednesday we start Lent. Easter will be here before we know it.

Let us continue to pray for the people of Haiti.

God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


February 10, 2010

Two sunny days in a row. How the sun lifts people’s spirits. And I’m glad I don’t live in Michigan or on the east coast where they are getting another dumping of snow! I pray for the safety of all drivers and walkers.

The new whirlpool in Clare Residence is wonderful. I had opportunity to try it out yesterday. I was amazed at how fast it fills once the door is closed…and again how fast it drains. It sure makes it a lot easier for the care-giver with the door at the end and you can just slide the chair into the tub. No more lifting and turning. Thanks to all who donated $ for this great item.

We have some lovely amaryllis flowers in various places around here. Sister Moe’s plant is in front of the altar in chapel. It is 30 inches tall! I’ve never seen such a tall amaryllis. I always enjoy watching these bulbs grow and produce flowers.

February is “I Love to Read Month.” Usually I’d go to read to the First Graders, but will have to put that on hold for a few more weeks. Then I will get back to it. Yesterday Pat caught me reading while I was waiting for an elevator. These days we have a “Book Exchange” going on in the library office. You can look the selection over and take for free what you want. For fun reading, I am reading “How to Talk Minnesotan” and “A Light in the Attic.”

Tomorrow evening we are having our Employee Appreciation Evening. We will have a social, dinner, program and awards for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year employees. God bless each of you who have ministered with us for these many years. You are the greatest!

Thursday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes…a day when we remember the sick and their care-givers. We will be having two special prayer services for the wonderful care-givers we have in Clare Residence. They minister to our sick and elderly Sisters in such loving and gentle ways. Having just been the beneficiary of their care, I speak from experience. We are blest in the care we have available to us. Thank you.

Happy Valentines Day to each of you. It is great to celebrate love on one special day of the year, but also good to know that we celebrate the love of one another all the year long, too. Let’s not limit it to just one day. Father Dalseth had a good column in last week’s St. Cloud Visitor about practicing the gift of loving in all our living.

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Have you given any thought to your Lenten resolutions? I am thinking more along the lines of “giving” than of “giving up.”

Let us continue to pray for the people of Haiti and all those who are in any way aiding them.
Pax et Bonum.

Sister Mary Lou


February 3, 2010

Welcome to another winter day…and the sun is shining. God is good.

Well, I didn’t have to wonder too long what to write about this week. I had one very significant event last week and that was that Friday afternoon I had a pacemaker implanted. My heart was stopping and it was documented on the Holten Monitor that I wore for 24 hours. As soon as the cardiologist read the report from the monitor, I was scheduled for surgery immediately. Everyone moved fast! I am now doing well and my heart is ticking along very nicely. Last week I talked about my blacking-out. Well it was because my heart was stopping. Anyway, now that is over. I am doing fine. As I read the little booklet that came with the pacemaker, I realized that I can no longer use a Jackhammer, or stun gun or arc welder, or lean over running motors and alternators, especially those found in vehicles. What an adjustment for me! Will it curb my lifestyle? Since I never did any of those things in the first place, it shouldn’t be too hard to get used to not doing them!

Yesterday the new whirlpool was installed in Clare Residence. It was purchased with the funds raised in our Christmas Appeal. The tub they took out has been used LOTS in the past 16 years. It was starting to leak and they had trouble getting parts when needed. The three pictures show “out with the old,” and “in with the new.” And the third picture is of me last evening checking out the new tub. Thank you to all who helped make the new whirlpool a reality by their contributions to the Franciscan Sisters.

God bless you. Keep safe. And let us continue our prayers for the people of Haiti and all those who are helping there.

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