May 24, 2010

May the Holy Spirit guide and direct you throughout this Pentecost season. In the Church Year we are back into Ordinary Time.

I am grateful that we have been protected from damaging storms, though the strong winds over the weekend knocked off lots of leaves and small branches, and a tree on the next block. It sounds like we will have lots of heat and humidity the next few days. Two weeks ago we had a temp of 35 degrees! Only in Minnesota…!

Saturday, I drove past the Community Gardens, on the south end of the Convent grounds.
Lots of the garden plots already have nice looking vegetables. There are 41 gardeners. Eleven of these are new this year. There are only four plots left. Jim and Donna Waldvogel are the persons to contact if anyone wishes a plot. Their phone number is 632-8522.

St. Francis Music Center was very busy these past four days. They had a dance recital Thursday evening and music recitals Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Now there is a little lull before their summer program begins.

Last week I talked about our porcupine visitor. Here is a picture taken by Judy Welle.

Tomorrow afternoon is an Appreciation Tea for our Senior Sisters—that’s most of us around here. May is Senior Citizens Month. Thank you Senior Citizens, for all the wisdom you share with the rest of us.

And on the 26th is a plant sale of both indoor and outdoor plants. Sr. Ruth has been selling tomato and other plants already the past week. (I drove past Sr. Ruth’s gardens the other day, too. They really look nice.)

Thursday, May 27th, is the graduation ceremony for 36 CEC students. CEC is the alternative school for our local public school system that happens at St. Francis Center. This is a most wonderful education program. The teachers are fantastic and have great care for their students. Congratulations to all graduates.

Established May 30, 1869, Memorial Day officially commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in military service. At our 8:30 a.m. liturgy on Sunday, May 30th, we will remember and honor those who pledge their lives in service to others. Our Sister Cornelia Lee (1893-1943) served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War I both in France and England. She was discharged from the Army in 1921 and entered the convent in 1923. Also, our Sister Marcella Schuller served as a nurse during the height of the Vietnam War. And our Sister Mercita Pipp served for 11 years with Project Hope, a peace-time hospital ship bringing medical care to the people in the South America waters. Thank you, Sisters for your service.

Mark your calendars for the Green Fair Folk Festival on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 (4 to 8 p.m.) This is an evening of ecological awareness will feature lots of family fun, interesting displays, fantastic music, vendors, food and much more. Free and open to the public. More information later.

God bless you. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.
Sister Mary Lou


May 18, 2010

Praise God for the 2½ inches of rain last week. ..and now we’ve had four days of sunshine and warmer weather. The grass is really growing. And I can hardly believe how full the leaves are on the trees. I covered many miles this past weekend for Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) business and saw only two farmers working in the fields. The poppies in my flower bed at home are starting to show many heads, so soon we will have lots of red flowers.

We have enrichment programs during lunch hour that we call “enLUNCHment” programs. Our speaker last Wednesday was Andrew Jilani who was originally from Pakistan. He is a Catholic and currently lives in the United States and has a USA passport. He holds a doctorate in International Education and social Justice. His talk was titled “Understanding the Taliban and Developing Strategies for Peace.” It was a most informative program. He worked four years with Amnesty International. Last year he was teaching at St. Cloud State University. He speaks several languages: English, Punjabi, Hindi, German, Spanish and Urdu. Most of us would have enjoyed listening longer to him. And we will be able to do so when he gives a two-hour presentation, Tuesday, June 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Many sisters do many kinds of fancy-work. Pictured here we have Sister Julien with the quilt she made. It has the state name, bird and flower for the states of the USA. It is beautiful and a real treasure.

I will close with a blessing of St. Francis: May knowledge become clearer in us that we may know the breadth of God’s blessings, the length of God’s promises, the height of god’s majesty, the depth of God’s judgments.

Peace and blessings on you and on those you love.

Have a good week.
Sister Mary Lou


May 10, 2010

The two inches of rain in the past week really greened things up. With the colder temps, I am surprised at how good the flowering trees and plants look. The flowering trees seem to be keeping their flowers a long time. Great! Trees are almost fully leafed out—except for the oaks, and they always take a long time. My Grandma used to say, “When the oak leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear, then you can plant corn.”

My little trillium at home is blooming beautifully. So I thought I’d better make a trip over to Pine Grove Park. There are trillions of trilliums blooming there! What a wonderful sight to see.

We had an unusual visitor on campus last Wednesday afternoon—a big porcupine! Several people noticed it lumbering along the road side not to far from the Motherhouse buildings. What a surprise. Someone said porcupines like pine trees. We have lots of those on campus.

Last week we invited Associates Jim and Alice Blake to noon lunch before they moved to an apartment in Elk River. Several other Associates and the Associate Directors joined us for the meal. Besides being our Associates, they are neighbors and I will miss them.

Last Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. we had our “Appreciation of Our Volunteers” event. Terry set a table of great treats that everyone enjoyed. And there was a live band!

The band’s name was The River Breeze Band from Sauk Rapids. They played Old-Time music. There was a lot of dancing. What a fun event. (If anyone wants to hire them call Mel Hauck on his cell phone: 320-223-9217.)

About a year ago we started using a couple tables in the outer mailroom area for jigsaw puzzles. I have no idea how many different puzzles have been assembled. But a lot! All have been very pretty. Some have been really hard, but the “puzzlers” persist and get the job done. Sisters and employees stop by for a few minutes on their break time and put in a few or a lot of pieces. Always there are one or two boxes waiting their turn on the side cupboard. Getting the tables for jigsaw puzzles was one of the best ideas we’ve had.

The development Office recently sent out a letter for Memorial Day. Our Sister Cornelia Lee served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War I both in England and France. Honorably discharged from the Army in 1921, she entered the convent in 1923 and died in 1943. Two other of our Sisters were also involved in service. Sister Marcella Schuller served as a nurse during the height of the Vietnam War and Sister Mercita Pipp served for 11 years with Project HOPE, a peace-time hospital ship bringing medical care to people in the South American waters. We will remember all military persons and our donors on May 30th and on Memorial Day.

May is National Bike Month. Enjoy your bike…and the beautiful outdoors.

Peace and God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


May 3, 2010

We received about a quarter inch of rain the past several days. Lawn mowing can’t be far behind. There are so many beautiful blooming trees and shrubs. Makes it a joy to go for a ride.

Last Wednesday, about 30 Crosier Priests and Brothers were our guests for prayer, dinner and a trivia game. It was a joyful evening filled with much story telling and laughter. We are grateful to have their Community as friends of our Community. It was so good to see Fr. Ray, who is recovering from a nasty fall and bump on his head. At the end of the meal we sang our Franciscan Blessing over our guests. Then they sang their Crosier Blessing over us…first in Dutch and then in English. It was the first time I’ve heard Dutch sung.

St. Gabriel’s Hospital sponsored a Health Fair at the Little Falls Middle School last Friday. The Franciscan Life Office had a table with materials showing help for nurturing one’s spiritual life. St. Francis Health and Recreation Center had a table displaying the opportunities available there to nurture ones physical health. I spent an enjoyable hour + visiting all the displays. Thank you to all who work to keep us healthy and active.

Sunday afternoon several of us Sisters attended the St. Camillus Place Dinner and Dance at the Falls Ballroom, for mentally challenged adults and their families of our county. I don’t know exactly how many people were there, but it was a lot. They all seemed to have a good time. And I am sure there are many very happy, tired people today. I know that it is quiet at St. Camillus Place today as the residents rest from all the dancing and excitement of yesterday. This was the 25th dinner and dance. The first one was held in Rainbow Hall at St. Otto’s Home. We’ve outgrown that small space by many times.

The other big event on Sunday was the Spring Concert by the St. Francis Community Chorale. Those singers are so generous in all their practice time to put on such a beautiful concert! Besides making lovely music, one can tell they have a good time, too. Barb Stumpf is the director and they are accompanied by Vicki Spofford. Thank you for sharing your talents with a chapel full of enthusiastic listeners. Now they will have a summer break and will be back together next fall.

Before the Chorale sang, we were privileged to hear four Folk Songs sung by thirteen members of the newly formed Sestri Na Mir (Sisters of Peace) Choir directed by Celo V’ec. They sang Croatian, Bulgarian, Georgian and Macedonian Folk Songs. We have marvelous musical talent in our Little Falls area.

I close with a blessing of St. Francis: May knowledge of God become cleared in us that we may know the breadth of God’s blessings, the length of God’s promises, the height of God’s majesty, the depth of God’s judgments.

Sister Mary Lou