July 19, 2010:

That was quite a storm that roared through Saturday night. We spent a couple hours in the basement waiting for the all-clear time. The Sisters at the Motherhouse spent time in the dining room during the tornado-warning time, too. I did not like the looks of the green sky and churning clouds. Praise God that we were protected from damage. And my prayers go out to farmers who lost crops and all others that suffered property damage.

Last Friday night was the17th Relay for Life event in Morrison County at Flyers Field. Several of us attended the Survivors dinner. I walked the first round, the Survivors’ Walk, for myself and all our Sisters who are cancer survivors. There were 31 teams who walked through the night. I heard they raised about $133,000. That’s a lot of money. Brittany Dobmeier told her story of having pancreatic cancer. Since hearing those words, she said, “The Relay has a whole new meaning for me. It hit home.” Brittany is a 22 year-old pre-med student at Hamline University in St. Paul. This year’s theme was: To Celebrate More Birthdays. Next year the Relay will be July 15. The awards went to Kathy Hubner as the top individual and the Bookin It team as the high money raisers. Thanks. The quilt is made of the various shirts worn during the Relay over the years.

The County Fair came to an abrupt and early end Saturday night when the storms came up and the Fairgrounds were evacuated.

Last Wednesday evening the group, As Good As it Gets, came to entertain the Sisters. They are five ladies who like to sing and play together. They invited us to join them in singing some of the songs we knew.

Last week I was to the Mississippi River. I could hardly believe how low the water is…rocks sticking out all over the place.

Yesterday three of us went for a Sunday afternoon drive. (It reminded us of when we were kids and went with our parents to check-out-the-crops.) Our first stop was at Umbria, our cottage on The River south of Rice, MN. We had heard that the fields of wild flowers were so beautiful. The ARE!!! This is the third year that the land has not been grain fields. The land was planted with prairie grasses and wild flowers. It is a beautiful sight to behold.

Our next stop was to enjoy the beauty of the Munsinger and Clemens Gardens. They are so beautiful. I talked with a couple from Duluth who came to St. Cloud just to see the gardens. If you’ve not been there, it is worth the trip.

It is quiet around the house these days because a big, silent retreat started last evening and goes until Saturday noon. May God bless all those in retreat and renew their spirits. There are 70+ making the retreat. I am working in the mailroom all week so Sr. Georgine can make the retreat.

Peace and blessings. May God protect us from damaging storms.

Sister Mary Lou


July 12, 2010: Concerts

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” are the beginning words of a familiar hymn. These words surely say what I am feeling this beautiful Monday morning with cool temps and low humility. We had a bit of rain over the weekend. Lawns and gardens are looking great.

We are so fortunate to have wonderful concerts in our chapel. Yesterday afternoon was another of those great experiences. Four young, talented artists and professional musicians treated us to an hour and half of beautiful classical music. Scott Lykins played cello and piano. Rebecca Yeh played violin and Emma Hughey played viola. John Taylor Ward shared his beautiful baritone voice. I especially enjoyed his renditions of songs of Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Richard Rogers. Scott, a native of Nisswa, MN, and a few friends started the Lakes Area Chamber Music Festival last summer. The inaugural year of concerts was a colossal success. They have six concert scheduled for next month in Brainerd and Baxter. For more information check http://www.lakesareamusic.org/.

This week we have a special guest visiting us here in Little Falls. She is Sister Margaret, Leader of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph from Kenya, Africa. Last night she had supper at our house. She is meeting with our Leadership Sisters these days and this afternoon I will take her on a tour of Little Falls.

Our Morrison County Fair is this week, Wednesday through Saturday, July 14--17. The Relay for Life is from Friday evening through Saturday morning. I hope to spend a little time at the Fair and also to do the first walk around the Flyers Field Track for cancer survivors.

This coming Saturday, many of us Sisters will be attending the Region 11 Conference for Women Religious sponsored workshop, “Consecrated Life, a Gift and Sign of God’s Presence: Exploring Individual and Common Good” at the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN. I am looking forward to the day.

Last week one day Sr. Ruth and friends went one last time to pick strawberries. I caught a group of workers preparing the treasures for our eating.

Have a good week. May God bless us and keep us. May God’s face shine upon us and be gracious to us. May God look upon us with kindness and give us peace.

Sister Mary Lou


July 6, 2010: 4th of July Parade

I hope you had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July Holiday. I attended the 23rd West Union 55+ unit Parade. After an early morning inch+ rain, it was very pleasant to watch the parade—not too much sun and a very nice breeze. My brother and family rounded up enough people to form a marching Kazoo Band. The West Union Band marched and played, and then were part of the tribute in the park after the parade. (This band consists of anyone who ever played and instrument. They practice once, half an hour before the parade!) This small-town, rural parade has its usual fire trucks (1880s and new), tractors, old and new farm machinery, old cars, clowns, horses, and LOTS and LOTS of candy. My grand-niece, Abby, decided that going to a parade was hard work because she was so busy picking up candy. After the parade, there is a pot-luck meal served in the city park.

On my way back to Little Falls, I took a detour to Flensburg to see Sr. Deborah’s flower garden. The last couple years before she died, Sr. Deborah planted MANY, MANY perennial flowers and grasses. She must be smiling from heaven to see the joy that this beautiful garden brings to so many people.

Last week was the Girls Camp. From all I’ve heard it was a raving success. The 31 girls made many new friends, learned a lot and had good experiences. On arriving, their first activity, after and opening prayer service, was to paint their shirts. They did a beautiful job. I saw the shirts hanging up to dry and then later I saw the girls proudly wearing their creations. Sr. Sharon provided delicious camp meals. Many Sisters helped with the various activities. I expect we’ll do it again next year.

Fresh garden produce is coming in—raspberries, strawberries, black berries, lettuce, radishes, etc. Yummy!!!

Enjoy the days of summer. In January we will long for them!

Peace and all good.
Sister Mary Lou