August 30, 2010

Saturday was the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream“ speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. We have a ways to go to reach the ideal he spoke of. I like his quote saying, “The time is always ripe to do right.” Let’s go for it. Dr. Valeria Elverton Dixon says, “The words spoken on August 28th, 1963, remain our charge, to speed up that day when ALL God’s children will be able to sing, ‘Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’”

Saturday a number of us went to The Crosier Communiy in Onamia, MN to celebrate the 50th Jubilee of Religious Profession of Fathers David Gallus and John Hawkins and Brother Robert Mandernach. Congratulations. It was a great afternoon and evening.

At our Sunday Mass yesterday, we had the commissioning of our five new Franciscan Community Volunteers (FCV). They will be serving the marginalized in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare at the St. Cloud Children’s Home, Hands Across the World, Boys and Girls Club, Place of Hope and at Lutheran Social Services. Thank you, young people, for the good works you will be doing.

Our one-day Red Cross Bloodmobile stop last Thursday, was a GREAT success. Basically it was for type O blood, but they took all blood types. Our goal was 85 and we had 92 donations! Thanks to all the donors who came. Our next drive is November 3, 4, 5th. Mark your calendars.

The other day, as I was going home after work, I got a picture of Steve Januschka as he was heading out to mow some lawn area. He is a wonderful groundskeeper and does a great job of keeping the lawns and flowers looking good on our campus. With all the rain this summer he has not had to do as much watering, but had done a lot of lawn mowing. Thank you, Steve for the way you model generous service.

God bless him! Yesterday Larry brought us another 400+ pounds of cabbage. Tomorrow is sauerkraut-making-day in the Convent kitchen! They will be a busy crew. I’ll have a picture next week.

Yesterday the parish in Flensburg had a party to celebrate Sr. Bernarda’s 75th jubilee. After Mass they sang a blessing on her and had a pot-luck brunch with lots of goodies and a big cake with two pictures on it—one of her wearing the habit and one from now.

Today is the death anniversary for our Sister Rufina, “the Bee Lady.” She knew the art of bee keeping and provided lots of honey and beeswax for the convent. She would ask, “Have you seen a white bee?” When you said, “No” she would invite you to come to the candle shop and she’d remove the lid of a super and show you a white painted “B”. And then we’d all laugh.

Next Monday we celebrate Labor Day. Let us thank God for the ability to work…and let’s keep in prayer the many people who are looking for work and would love to have job.

And then the next day school starts for many students and teachers. May you all have a good year. I can hardly wait to go over to Lindbergh School and read to Mrs. Hanson’s first graders. I really like that volunteer job.

Then the Saturday and Sunday after Labor Day are the days for 38th Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair. We are expecting about 600 vendors this year. We have 29 vendors staying at St. Francis Center and Sr. Christelle says we have three rooms yet available. I will again be a block hostess and look forward to meeting the vendors on my two blocks. Please pray for favorable weather. See some of you there…I hope.

The puzzle-putter-togetherers finished this puzzle last week. It was titled “One Hundred Chickens and One Worm.” I’ve looked and I still haven’t found the worm. I’m wondering if it isn’t inside some chicken!

God bless you. Keep safe and healthy.
Do something good for yourself and for someone else.

Sister Mary Lou


August 24, 2010: Feast of St. Louis

It looks like we will have a week mostly of sunshine and no rain. We did have ½ inch of rain last night. Crops are looking so good. I do appreciate this lower humidity.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we have a one-day type O Blood Drive in St. Francis Hall…1 –7 p.m. Call 632-.0663 for appointments.

Wednesday is also the Feast of St. Louis of France. Born in 1214, he became King of France at age 21. He sought to rule by Gospel standards. He was a solicitous father to his children and a devout Third Order Franciscan. He died of typhus in 1270. He is the patron of the Third Order…so he is also our patron. St. Louis, pray for us.

Last Saturday I attended the wedding of employee Carol Schirmers. They looked so happy.

Then on Sunday two of us went to her brothers’ farm near Pierz, MN to see cows being milked by robots. Quite different than when I milked cows using the bucket milking machine we had when I was a kid. They milk 217 cows and have four robots that do all the milking…milking goes on 24-hours a day. Computers play an important part in this work. Computers recognize the cow’s collar number, record the poundage of milk given by each teat, when the cow was last milked and other information. Amazing.

At the north edge of the south woods on our property, we have a lovely, quiet meditation garden. Sister Mary Matthias’ sister, Kay, started work on this garden some years ago. Now Bev looks after the garden and makes it a beautiful spot. Thank you, ladies.

The other day the Sisters and Employees finished another puzzle. Now they are working on another puzzle. There is always one on the table where one can spend a few minutes or a few hours.

Friday we have a bilingual liturgy in remembrance of Dom Helder Camera of Brazil. We have a bilingual liturgy four times a year.

God bless and care for you.
Sister Mary Lou


August 16, 2010: Mighty Brother Wind

In his prayer, The Canticle of Brother Sun, St. Francis says, “Praise be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind.” Well, Brother Wind got a bit rambunctious last Thursday evening/Friday morning. The strong winds took down lots of trees south of Little Falls. Several trees blew down at Umbria, our house on the Mississippi River, south of Rice. One branch went through a living room window. God bless our maintenance men who cleared trees and boarded up the window. Many people in the area spent lots of time cutting wood over the weekend.

Yesterday we celebrated Sister Mary Amy’s 90th birthday. Many Sisters, family and friends joined her for a celebration in the afternoon. Happy Birthday, Sr. Amy.

Garden produce is in abundance right now. We have been the beneficiaries of many gifts. Yesterday my friend, Larry Anderson, from Morris, MN, brought us 409 pounds of cabbage and other garden products. In the near future, Sr. Ruth and friends will be busy making sauerkraut. Yummy!

We had a wonderful response to our collection of school supplies that took place the last couple weeks. These supplies will be taken to the Food Shelf and distributed to needy children.

There will be a special one-day Red Cross Blood Drive on August 25th at St. Francis Center. Mark your calendar.

God bless you and continue to protect us all from damaging storms.
Sister Mary Lou


August 9, 2010: Green Fair and Paint-A-Thon

No lack of items to write about this week.

Last Wednesday we had the Green Fair Folk Festival. It was another great event. God provided us with a beautiful evening. The temps were a little high for the morning and afternoon set-up…but in the shade it was OK. The gentle breezes made for a pleasant time. MANY people came to visit the 47 booths. There was a big area of activities for kids. They had a truly wonderful time. The slices of fresh bread with peanut butter and jelly were a big hit. Terry said they went through 13 loaves of bread—24 slices per loaf (you do the multiplication). They also used half a case of un-popped pop corn. I think all the food vendors did well. I had a very informative visit with the Smude family who were selling their cold processed Virgin Sunflower Oil. They raise and process the sunflowers right here in our area, in Pierz, MN. (www.smudeoil.com). Lots of people brought their old electronic items for recycling. It was a good evening all the way around. Next year’s date is August 3, 2011.

Last Saturday was the Morrison County Paint-A-Thon. MANY volunteers painted five homes in Little Falls and two in the Swanville area. We served 126 volunteers a free breakfast at First United Church starting at 6:46 a.m. The morning was overcast and pleasant for painting. I checked out the house on the next block that was being painted. They had a big crew for a big house. Home-owners are very pleased with the looks of their property once the painters finished their work. The Franciscan Sisters furnished the caramel and cinnamon rolls for the breakfast and also four of us helped with serving and clean-up after the meal. Again, God provided good weather for the event. The rains came about 7:30 p.m.—and for some of us, cut short our stay at the Concert in the Park that evening.

On Sunday, we celebrated two Sisters who have been Franciscan Sisters for 50 years and three who have been with us for 75 years! The Chapels were filled for the 11 a.m. Mass. The music was outstanding! Thanks to all who helped with the liturgy, the food service, the set-up and whatever else got done to make for a wonderful day. After the meal there was great music in the dining room for listening to and for dancing to.

Tomorrow, August 10th, is Primary Election Day. Please get out and vote. Sister Nancy and I did our election judge training a couple weeks ago. We are ready to work.

Wednesday is the Feast of St. Clare, special friend and follower of St. Francis and the founder of the Poor Clare’s. She is a most special woman in the lives of all Franciscans.

Thursday, Sisters Loretta and Grace leave for their new assignment in Monterrey, Mexico. They will be living with and forming Community with our two newly professed Sisters who will be attending colleges there. May God continue to go with you on your journey and in your new home.

Saturday is the feast of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, a Franciscan Friar who gave his life for his Faith. I’ve read several books on his life. I admire his courage.

Pax et Bonum.
Sister Mary Lou


August 2, 2010

July was a rainy month. I think I heard we had over 5 inches of rain. And now on the second day of the month, we’ve already had over ½ inch with more to come in the next couple days. There are two days this week in which we do NOT want rain.

We don’t want rain on Wednesday, the 4th. That is the day of the Green Fair Folk Festival—4 to 8 p.m. on the west side of St. Francis Convent. There will be lots of activities for both young and old. Last year we had over 800 people attend.

The other day we do not rain is Saturday, the 7th, the day when volunteers will paint seven homes in Morrison County as part of the Paint-A-Thon. The Franciscan Sisters provide cinnamon and caramel rolls for the 6:46 a.m. breakfast at First United Church.

Last Thursday word came that a U.S. Marine, who died and would be buried at Camp Ripley, would be going through Little Falls on Highway 76 at 1:30 p.m. A number of us Sisters and Employees paid our respects by standing at the roadside as the procession passed by. God bless him and give comfort to his family.

Last week the Franciscan Federation had their annual meeting in Buffalo, NY. Six of our Sisters attended the meeting. Sister Grace received an award. The message was: Passionately Embracing Gospel Living / Annual Federation Conference, July 30, 2010 / Buffalo, NY / Gratefully celebrating Sister Grace Skwira, OSF / * for being alive with passion, * for allowing the light to shine with radiance, transparency, clarity and optimism, * for being a beacon of light to others, especially the marginalized, * for being a witness to the challenge and power of gospel values in daily living. Ramona Miller, OSF, President and Ann Lyons, fssj, Execuitive Director, Franciscan Federation. Congratulations, Sister.

Sunday, the 8th, we will celebrate the 50th Jubilees of Sister Lorraine Olmscheid and Bernice Rieland, and the 75th Jubilees for Sisters Marcelline Virnig, Bernarda Sanoski and Alice Rudnicki. Congratulations, Sisters. It is good to recognize a total of 325 years of service to Community and to the Church.

Yesterday a number of us went to Royalton, MN to help Bernie and Marcy Gallus celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Marcy was the Director of the Housekeeping Department at the Motherhouse for many years. Congratulations, Marcy and Bernie, for being an example of faithfulness to your marriage vows for 50 years.

God bless and continue to care for you. May you stay safe and healthy.
Sister Mary Lou


July 27, 2010: Green Fair Folk Festival

Lord, protect us from damaging storms. Most of us appreciate the rain, but not farmers who have cut hay or grain waiting to be harvested. As I write this about 9 a.m., about an hour ago a very heavy rain went through our area…abut an inch and a half in my rain gauge. The weather prophets say it will happen again a couple more times today. My thoughts are for the safety of the 900 TRAM bicyclists who left Little Falls this morning. TRAM means The Ride Across Minnesota, and is a six-day cycling event that raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. Thank you, riders, for your efforts. We pray for your safety.

The retreat ended Saturday noon. It was good having so many of our Sisters home for the week. They are all back to their work and our Chapel and the Dining Room are less full.

Yesterday was the Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus. May God bless all Grandparents, living and deceased. Especially, I pray for grandparents who care full-time for their grandchildren. May God give them the strength and energy they need.

Saturday, July 31st, is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. We used to celebrate this as our Foundress Day to honor Mother Ignatius Hayes, who is responsible for getting Sisters to Belle Prairie, MN. Now we celebrate March 1st as Foundresses Day—the day when our first 16 Sisters became the first Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN. For many of us, the 31st is the day we entered the Novitiate.

Sunday is Prayer Sunday. On the first Sunday of each month, we have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from after morning Mass until 4:15 prayer time. Come join us if you are in the area. Each of us can think of plenty of things that need praying over!

Next Wednesday, August 4th, we have the 4th Green Fair Folk Festival from 4 to 8 p.m. It takes place on the west lawn of St. Francis Convent. There are activities for every age group. Lots of things for children to do while their parents see the wares of the 40+ vendors. One of the new events this year is the Teddy Bear Clinic. Thanks to Lost Lake Design, injured stuffed animals will be repaired on the spot. If more intensive repairs are required, the toys will be taken to the shop and the owners can pick them up at a later date. All work performed on the day of the Fair is free of charge. “It is an opportunity to encourage the next generation to repair, repurpose and reuse everyday objects,” said Stacy Ziegler, owner of Lost Lake Design.

This evening only, SW Recycling is offering reduced rates to recycle electronics. Bring your old VCR’s, DVD players, copiers, TV’s laptops, CPU’s fax machines and printers instead of having it sit in your garage or go to the landfill. These items, can be repurposed and reused instead of harming our planet.

For entertainment, there will be live music, a style show, a fiddle festival, Club Ramon will play in the afternoon along with the Women’s Slavic Choir. The grand finale will be with the URock students who have studied at St. Francis Music Center to learn how to be a band, the business side as well as the performance side.

The event is free and open to the public.

For not having much to write about, I did find a lot of things.
God bless you and keep you safe.
Sister Mary Lou