April 27, 2010

The song running through my mind right now is, “For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the sky…” The tree leaves are small, but they are starting to give shade…and the tinges of green are so lovely. The flowering trees are starting to show their beauty and many flowers are showing themselves. It is a wonderful time of the year. I praise God for the 6/10s inch of rain we received last week. The lawns really greened up… and thus far I’ve seen no mosquitoes.

Last Wednesday we had the appreciation reception for Sister Grace and her many years of service in Vocation Ministry. We enjoyed chocolate cake, ice cream and mixed nuts. Thank you, Sister, for your service in this ministry. Many people know lots more about the life and ministries of the Franciscan Sisters because of your many contacts with lots of people.

On Earth Day, the 22nd, we had a prayer service and planted two trees: A Spring Snow Crab tree in memory of Mary Krantz and a Sugar Maple in memory of Joseph and Elizabeth (Nett) Ahles. As we were finishing the planting, an eagle flew overhead. Was it acknowledging and approving our work?

We put out a sign and got the word out about our Spaghetti Supper, Saturday night and lots of guests came. It was a benefit for the Music Center and Health and Rec. We served about 374 guests. I hope there are still left-overs. Thanks for coming. Our next food fund raiser will be November 6th.

Sunday was the String Orchestras Spring Concert. It was another great production. All who came enjoyed the good music. It is heartening to see all these young and talented strings players.

The other big event Sunday evening was the Taste of St. Cloud at the Territory Golf Course/Coyote Moon Grille. It felt like all 500 guests came at 5 p.m. The big room was jam-packed with hungry folks all enjoying delicious foods from twelve participating restaurants. If one went away hungry, it was their own fault! I think everyone would say that it was a VERY successful event. Thank you to all who helped in any way to make it happen. There was a lot of behind-the-scene effort. Planning is underway for next year’s event.

This week is shaping up to be another busy week. Today was the funeral at the St. Cloud Cathedral for Father Ray Donnay, brother of our Sister Emily. Many Sisters attended his Wake Service at St. Mary’s Church here in Little Falls Sunday afternoon and a number of us attended the Funeral Mass today.

Tomorrow the Crosier Brothers and Priests from Onamia, will be our guests for evening prayer and a delicious pork chop dinner. This is our way of helping celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of their Community and their 100-years establishment in the United States. The Crosier Fathers come every Friday to celebrate Eucharist with us. Thank you, Crosiers, for all the good you’ve done these many years. We are happy to call you friends.

Thursday we will have a retirement reception to honor Gen Zimmerman, who has worked in our Housekeeping Department for nearly 30 years. Think of all the floors mopped and rooms cleaned in that many years! Thank you, Gen.

Saturday, May 1st, we will celebrate Sister Rita Marie’s 90th birthday. I will always remember her as a very fine reading teacher in her younger years. She worked patiently with students until they “got it.”

The St. Francis Community Chorale will have their concert on Sunday May 2nd at 3 p.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel. They make beautiful music and are a joy to listen to. Thank you to each member of the choir who generously share their talents with all of us.

Our Values Committee members had a fun noon-time entertainment last week. They carried out a “Back to the Fifties” theme with poodle skirts, leather jackets, 50s music and dancing, yoyos and candy cigarettes. There were lots of smiles as we remembered those days.

God bless you. Keep safe.
And pray for all those killed in traffic accidents last weekend…and their families.
Sister Mary Lou


April 19, 2010

So many little slips of paper to remind me of things to include in today’s writing!

First, the Bloodmobile report: Our goal was 260 units. We received 243. There were 31 who came but could not donate. (So, I’d say we reached our goal.) God bless all those generous people who gave their blood and also all the volunteers who assisted in any way. People do like the cookies we serve, too. I heard raves especially about the peanut butter cookies.

On April 16, 1209, Pope Innocent III approved the first Franciscan Rule and the Order received canonical status. On this date, many Franciscans throughout the world formally renew their commitment to the Franciscan way of life. So, last Friday, at Mass and after the homily, we Franciscan Sisters renewed our vows. Ours are public vows, offered to the church for the building up of God’s presence here on earth. By pronouncing our vows publically, we express our commitment to faithfully live our charism, which is our unique gift to the Church.

On Saturday, April 17th, the Great River Arts Center, in downtown Little Falls sponsored their 4th annual Earth Day Expo. The event featured local businesses, artisans and organizations and their unique contributions to a healthier planet and community. The Franciscan Sisters had a table and distributed information as to how we work to make the earth a healthier place. We will have our own Earth Day celebration at the Motherhouse at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 22nd. This is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The Earth’s 3-Rs are: reduce, reuse and recycle.

This week, April 19—23, is Severe Weather Awareness Week. We will have our tornado drill at the Motherhouse at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday. All who are able are to go to the tunnel as a safe place to be if it were a real tornado. Do you have a plan?

This is also Administrative Professionals Week. God bless all those secretaries and others who work so diligently for us. Give them an extra word of thanks this week.

We also celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation Week this week--the 37th one. It’s hard to adequately thank all the wonderful volunteers we see around the Motherhouse. They offer their time and talents in so many ways. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

Franciscan Community Volunteers (FCV), a new ministry of the Franciscan Sisters, invites you to attend a fundraiser, Sunday April 25, 5 -7 p.m. at the Territory Golf Club/Coyote Moon Grille in St. Cloud. Begun in 2009, the mission of FCV is to accompany young men and women, ages 21-31 to grow in Christian discipleship and leadership through Franciscan spirituality, service and community life. Volunteers make a year-long commitment to work full time with local nonprofit agencies that serve the needs of the poor and marginalized while accepting the challenge of living simply and in accord with Gospel Values. We have five volunteers in this our first year…wonderful young men and women.

One other event for Sunday, April 25th: There will be a Strings Concert at 3 p.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel. This is always a great treat to ones ears. The music is beautiful. We have tremendous talent in our area. Come and listen.

God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


April 12, 2010

We hope for rain this week. May God bless us with this gift of rain. We have a pretty patch of little blue flowers in the back yard. The rhubarb will soon be ready for pulling, but rain would help it grow a lot taller. My bleeding heart plant is growing about an inch a day.

The Bloodmobile is here at St. Francis this week: Wednesday and Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling Sr. Julian at 320-632-0663. Folks can walk in, too, but they may have to wait since appointments are honored first. God bless all generous donors. They literally do give the gift of life.

An article in The Morrison County Record this week, reminded readers that “the Franciscan Sisters are again offering garden plots to those who’d like to garden. There is a minimal charge for each space to cover the cost of tillage, fertilizing and water. Call Jim and Donna Waldvogel, at 320-632-8522 to reserve a spot or for more information.”

We have several large plots for garden spaces just south of the Motherhouse. This is a great opportunity for those who don’t have a garden space at their homes, or those who have never gardened before.

Next Wednesday, we have an Appreciation Reception for Sister Grace who has served as vocation minister the past 9+ years. And welcome to Sr. Carmen, who will continue that ministry.

Saturday, April 24th we will host a Spaghetti Supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Come with a good appetite.

Yesterday afternoon I had a wonderful cultural experience. I attended the Heartland Symphony Orchestra concert at Charles D. Martin Auditorium here in Little Falls. This was the 33rd anniversary of providing live symphonic music to Central Minnesota. Two young men, in 11th and 12th grades played piano and saxophone solos with the orchestra. They are very talented youth.

In closing I want to share with you the following blessing from our prayer book.
May the risen Christ bless us.
May the peace of Christ fill our lives.
May the joy of new life resurrect our spirits.

Pax et Bonum
Sister Mary Lou


April5, 2010: Alleluia! Easter Season

Alleluia! May your Easter Season be blest with peace and joy. Alleluia.

Such a long list of things to write about.

Our Sister Deborah died in the early afternoon of Holy Saturday. May she be enjoying Easter Joy with the Lord. May God bless all the Sisters, family members, Associates and friends who sat with her 24/7 for 17 days. Her Wake Service is Tuesday evening and her Funeral is Wednesday, April 7, 2010.

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of assisting Clare Resident Sisters color Easter Eggs. It was a fun experience. These eggs were blessed Easter Sunday morning and enjoyed by all at brunch.

Holy Thursday evening we had a special Agape Prayer Service before the delicious meal. Our Mass at 7 p.m. was followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 10 p.m.

There were three events on Good Friday. First was the Silent Walk for Peace through the city of Little Falls. At the eight stops on the mile long walk, a prayer was said and a song was sung for the following intentions: healing of the earth, veterans (living and deceased), a just economic system, our civic leaders, for those imprisoned and law enforcement officers, for children, senior citizens, the sick and all who care for them. Participants took turns carrying a large wooden cross. We were a group of 28 people.

I do the “chase car” thing in case any of the walkers would need a ride.

Following the Walk for Peace, we had the Stations of the Cross both in Chapel and outside. Many years ago Sister Alice Doll painted Stations that are placed along the path leading to our cemetery. We were a group of about 27 praying the outdoor Stations. This was one of the nicest weather days we’ve ever had for the Peace Walk and outdoor Stations.

We had a full Chapel for our 2 p.m. Good Friday Service. We appreciate the many friends from the local area who join us for all these Holy Week services.

I always like our Holy Saturday Easter Vigil Service. Father Michael always builds a neat little wood tepee for the Easter Fire. The fire burns brightly for a few minutes and by the time the blessing prayers are said and the Easter Candle is lit and the procession is ready to move to the main Chapel, the fire goes out. Following are a few pictures from /Saturday and Sunday.

A special treat for our Easter Sunday Mass was the addition of four Sobania Children who played their string instruments. Their Mom played piano. It was beautiful!!!

Before we ate brunch, Father Michael blessed Easter foods—eggs, bread, ham, etc.

The Bloodmobile will be at St. Francis next week, April 14, 15 and 16th: 2 to 8 p.m. the 14th and 15th and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 16th.

Enjoy these lovely spring days and may the Lord send us needed, seasonable rain. The lawn area above the heated tunnel is covered with many blooming dandelions! They are so pretty…

God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou