March 16, 2010 - Spring is nearly here.

Spring is here on March 20th. The snow is nearly all melted. Green shoots are showing up in flower beds, the pink rhubarb nubbins are poking up under the leaves and the buds for tree leaves are getting bigger each day…and there are fears of flooding all around the state.

What an eventful week we’ve had. First, our dear Sister Mary Ellen Dinndorf went to heaven shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday morning. She was a holy woman who had a good head for business, a practical view of things and lots of common sense. Her funeral will be on Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day. I just learned today that her parents were Secular Franciscans.

Last Friday our 11 a.m. Mass was a bilingual liturgy…both Spanish and English readings and songs. Fr. Tony Kroll preached in English. We have bilingual Masses a few times a year. Many of us are beginning to catch on to the Spanish pronunciation of the words in the responses and songs. We honored Fr. Rutilio Grande, a martyr in El Salvador.

Saturday and Sunday, 18 ladies from the Benton County Extension group had a sewing retreat at St. Francis Center. After Sunday Mass I went to see the lovely things they were making. Last year and again this year they will donate some of their crafts to Ann Marie Shelter in St. Cloud. Ann Marie Shelter is a safe home for women and children who are abused. The ladies already have their dates reserved for coming again next year.

A large group of priests and other guests came Sunday afternoon for a program in St. Francis Hall to honor and express gratitude to the priests of our area who serve the local parishes and us here at the Motherhouse. Afterwards there was time for treats and additional visiting. Let us remember to pray for and support our priests during this, The Year of the Priest.

And yet one more activity on Sunday was the Little Falls Community High School Pre-Tour Concert in our Sacred Heart Chapel. We can know that the beautiful music these 30+ young men and women will “do us proud” and speak well for Little Falls, MN. Next weekend, this group will sing a concert at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas, the oldest cathedral in the United States. Our Chapel was full of appreciative listeners. We are blest to have this group do a dress rehearsal in our space.

This week, March 14--20th, is National Agriculture Week. Let us remember to thank farmers and gardeners, for their contributions to our life through their hard work. And let us also pray for them that the Lord be with them in their planting, growing and harvesting seasons.

March is also Food Share Month. This coming Sunday there will be a talent show fund-raiser at Our Lady of Lourdes School gym to generate funds for the local food shelves and Oasis Share-A-Meal. The Franciscan Sisters furnish the cookies for the snack. We have containers in many places in our building to accept cash donations for the Food Shelf. Because of matching, cash donations almost double the value of money given during the month of March.

Our 2010 Census form came in today’s mail. We will get it filled out and returned in the next couple days. I hope everyone else does the same, too.

We are past the half-way point of Lent. I hope it has been good for you so far.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou

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