June 15, 2010: "Hunger Banquet"

Here we are into our busy week. I heard that we had rain today. I was inside all day in a basement room so didn’t know anything about it until supper time…and heard we were under a storm watch, too. I am grateful for gentle rains. Now I’d like some sunshine…tomorrow’s gift.

Last Saturday we celebrated the 60th Jubilees of five of our Sisters. It was grand. With so many Sisters home for the coming week, we make good music at Mass.

After the Mass and festive meal, I drove to Perham, MN for the Baptism of our newest family member, Joanna Rose Dardis. The parents have waited fifteen years for this birth. So there is much joy for our family.

On Sunday we had the Profession of First Vows for Sisters Aurora and Isabel. Sisters Aurora and Isabel are from Mexico. The Presider at Mass was Fr. Omar Guanchez, Associate Pastor at Elk River. We had many prayers and songs in Spanish. Again, great music and enthusiastic singing. A beautiful picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe was part of the entrance procession as were two big bouquets of red roses.

Our week-long Community meetings started with prayer and roll call at 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening. Many of our Associates (42) joined us for the Monday and Tuesday sessions. The picture below shows the ambiance for the gathering. It is a picture of St. Francis by Massimo Cruciani from Assisi.

Our meal last night was a “Hunger Banquet.” When we entered the dining room, we drew a slip of paper from a brown paper bag. This paper told us at which table to sit. At the beginning of the meal, two Sisters read us some sobering statistics: more than 2.5 billion people live in poverty. Over 1 billion people suffer from chronic hunger. A child dies from hunger or a preventable disease every 3.4 seconds. That’s 25,000 children a day. We think hunger is about too many people and too little food. That is not the case. Our rich and bountiful planet produces enough food to feed every woman, man and child on earth. Hunger is about power. Its roots lie in inequality in access to education and resources. The results are illiteracy, poverty, war and the inability of families to grow or buy food. People who drew pink slips were in the low income tables—they live on $2.70 a day—and this is roughly 50% of the population. They got a bowl of rice and a glass of water. Those who drew green slips of paper were in the middle-income group and they got a bowl of rice and beans and a glass of water. The rich people were those who drew a white slip of paper (15 % of the population) and sat at a table with a white tablecloth, were served their meal of chicken, rice, green beans, a salad, wine, coffee, water, and an apple dessert. It was a humbling experience to sit at the rich people’s table. But it graphically made the point of the prevalence of hunger and poverty in the world.

This weekend the City of Little Falls celebrates the Dam Festival from Friday through Sunday…with a parade Saturday noon.

Next week the Bloodmobile will be at St. Francis Center Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The hours are 2 to 8 p.m. the first two days and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the last day.

God bless you and please keep us in your prayers as we Sisters meet the rest of this week. Peace.

Sister Mary Lou

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