June 29, 2010: Orphan Train Riders

What a surprise to have such a cool morning again today. One will have to work hard and fast to work up a sweat! With all the rainy days last week we didn’t get all that much rain. The lawns look beautiful and the grass needs frequent cutting.

Governor Pawlenty proclaimed Saturday, June 19, 2010 as Orphan Train Riders Recognition Day in the state of Minnesota. “Between 1854 and 1929 an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 impoverished, orphaned and abandoned children were placed on trains by the Children’s Aid Society and the New York Foundling Hospital and sent to new family placements all over the United States. Minnesota welcomed thousands of infants and older children during this Orphan Train Movement. The legacy of the Orphan Train riders adds to the rich history of our state.” (From the proclamation) Six Riders were present for the program on June 19, 2010 at the 3M Auditorium in the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. One of those Riders in attendance was our own Sister Justina Bieganek, age 98. Sr. Justina still volunteers in the Music Center. And she does e-mail! What a Lady!!!

The Bloodmobile was at St. Francis last week. Each day I would call Party Line to give the report and to drum up business. Our three-day goal was 260 units. We received 226 unit of blood. (We had 27 who were turned away because the hemoglobin was too low.) That’s a lot of blood! When asked some questions I didn’t know the answers to, I asked Sr. Julien some questions and found out some very enlightening information. In October it will be 11 years that the Bloodmobile has been coming to St. Francis. Each year we collect between 1,000 and 1,100 units of blood. Do the multiplication. That’s a LOT of generous donors. After they donate blood, donors get the usual juice, water or coffee AND convent home-made cookies. Friday morning I went to see what kinds of cookies were in the baskets: Carmel Apple, Peanut Butter, M & M, and Oatmeal Raisin are the ones I can remember off the top of my head. I’ve heard that some people donate blood just to get the cookies!

Saturday night we had a wonderful choral music ensemble concert in Chapel. The group, From Age to Age—changing the world one concert at a time, were six women and seven men. This a cappella group sang in Latin, German, Russian and English. The harmonies were very pleasing to the ears. Just looking at them, one could tell they liked to sing together. The founder and artistic director is Andrew Miller, who in 2007-2008 school year, taught vocal music K--12 in Long Prairie/Grey Eagle school district.

Another thing that happened last week was that three YTM (Youth in Theology and Ministry) participants came to the Motherhouse to share their ministries for the past year. A year ago these young people attended two weeks of theology camp at St. John’s and during the past year lead projects in their home parishes. They showed great leadership ability in working with peers and young children. (The YTM students also had another two-week theology camp this year.) One project that I liked was “Rent a Kid.” The YTM student gathered young people who offered to help elders and others in need with raking lawns, washing windows or whatever was needed for a free will offering. We can be very proud of these young people. The Franciscan Sisters help sponsor the YTM program.

Tuesday – Thursday we have the Girl’s Camp activities going on. The 32 girls and seven adults will be tenting in Assisi Park on the south end of our property. They will be having other activities in Breezy Inn and will tour the Motherhouse. They will attend Mass with the Sisters on Wednesday. We are hoping for no rain the next couple nights.

Saturday several of us attended the Memorial Service for Sister Maristell’s brother, Bill, in Grand Rapids, MN. On Wednesday some of us will be going to the funeral for Lois Loher in Morris, MN. I taught a number of the Loher children when I taught at Morris.

Have a safe and fun 4th of July. I will be going to the West Union Parade on Sunday. If you want something to do on the 4th, come to the parade. Pot-luck lunch in the park afterwards.

Have a good week.
Pax et Bonum.
Sister Mary Lou

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