October 25, 2010

Now it looks and feels like fall. Tree leaves are mostly down. The 1 ½ inches of rain the past couple days have probably slowed corn harvest. I’ve heard and seen the word “snow” in the forecasts for later in the week—and strong winds, too. Enjoy(?) the changing of the seasons!.

Last Tuesday we had the funeral for Sister Mary Gerard Wald. Abbot Brian Wangler, OSB, Sister’s nephew, was the Presider at the Mass…and it was his birthday. There were four religious Sisters in her family. At the time of the death of a Sister, the Archives folks put up a beautiful memorial display of the Sister’s life and achievements. Sister Gerard loved to dance. One of her favorite songs was “You Are My Sunshine.”

Last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 55 to 60 wonderful volunteers came to “stuff envelopes.” The envelopes are to about 17,000 of our generous donors in our Annual Christmas Appeal.. The volunteers started Tuesday morning and before noon on Thursday had stuffed, sealed and addressed all those envelopes. They work hard and fast and have a good time, too. Next week the post office will get a big present! We pray for our donors every day. God bless them.

We’ve all most likely, heard about the changes in the Liturgy of the Mass that will come about the First Sunday of Advent 2011. Last Thursday evening, I attended and informational meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in which Anita Fischer, from the Diocesan Office of Liturgy, gave a very fine presentation. I understand the “what” and the “why” a lot better now. There is much more information at www.USCCB.org’romanmissal, if you are interested.

A number of us Sisters attended the Geritol Frolics program in Brainerd the past week. Geritol Frolics is a 2 ½ hour lively, fast-moving vaudeville song, story and dance type show. All singers, dancers and performers are senior citizens: age 55+. I was most impressed with the tap dancers, two of whom were over age 80. It’s a wonderful entertainment and if you can, think about attending next year.

The Take Back the Night program will be held in St. Francis Gym Thursday starting at 6 p.m. I am always touched to see the clothesline display of shirts and the stories remembering the lives lost through physical abuse of children, women and men.

Halloween is next Sunday. Some up-coming related events are a Sister/Employee Pot Luck noon lunch on Thursday (28th), ZooBoo at Pine Grove Zoo on Saturday from 4-8 p.m. for the younger children and Cage of Terror for people age 13 and older also at Pine Grove Park. After 8 p.m.

Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. are two Halloween music recitals sponsored by St. Francis Music Center. Young performers will come dressed in costume. These concerts are always fun. And I am always amazed at the talents of these young performers.

Remember to vote on November 2nd. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you as you exercise your right to vote.

The Bloodmobile will be at St. Francis November 3, 4, and 5. Times: 1 to 7 p.m. on the 3rd and 4th, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 5th.

We have a Spaghetti Supper November 6th from 4:30 to 7 p.m. This will benefit the St. Francis Music Center and St. Francis Health and Recreation Departments

Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday November 7th. Move the clocks back one hour before you retire on the 6th.

God bless you,

Sister Mary Lou


October 18, 2010

The temperatures are getting a little more fall-like, but the warm sunny weather surely is welcomed. The leaves are hanging tight on the oak trees, though most of the other trees have shed their colorful dress. Sister Joel has a lovely corn shock set up in chapel. Makes one really believe that fall is here.

They did it! The Vikings won their game Sunday. It didn’t look good at half-time.

Sunday was Mission Sunday. Who is a missionary? A missionary is one who shares her or his faith in Jesus Christ with other people and thus brings them to Christ and His Good News. I’d have a long list if, I listed all our Sisters who have served in foreign missions. Let us keep all missionaries in our prayers.

Early last Thursday morning, our Sister Gerard Wald left us for heaven. We knew she was on hospice and getting weaker. Then suddenly her breathing changed and her soul took flight. We welcome her body back to the Motherhouse this afternoon with a short prayer service. The Franciscan Wake is at 7 p.m. tonight and the Funeral is Tuesday at 11:a.m.

At the death of a Sister we do what we call Project Alert calls to all the Sisters.

Usually I am the one to make the calls, but because I was out of town most of the day Thursday, Sr. Julien did most of the calls and I finished the list when I came home. Besides the calls we also do an e-mail to all the Sisters who have e-mail. I do that, too.

We also do Project Alert calls at the death of a parent, brother or sister of a Sister.

Saturday, October 23rd is Make A Difference Day. Shaq O”Neal says, “ If you can help someone, do it. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. People with influence can help make the world a better place.” He is working to make a difference. How can I make a difference on October 23? And every day? Do it.

God bless you.

Sister Mary Lou


October 12, 2010

What a difference a year makes. Last year on October 10th we had an inch of snow on the ground. This year we have temps well into the 70s and 80s. I’d be happy to keep this nice weather for a couple more months!

Sunday we welcomed 8 new Associates into our Associate Relationship. We had many guests for the Mass and a delicious meal. At the afternoon program Sister Janice Wiechman was one of those who received the first Franciscan Earth Citizen Award. This award was given to those who have observed well the principles of the Earth Charter. There were also many others deserving this award. I congratulate you, Sister Janice, on receiving this award.

Sunday I attended the Canonical Establishment of the Saint Alphonsa Fraternity as Secular Franciscans in Columbia Heights, MN. It was a happy time for all. Congratulations.

Monthly the Chamber of Commerce hosts an event called “Friday Morning Coffee.” Last Friday The Franciscan Sisters hosted 57 Chamber members and guests. Many Sisters also joined the Chamber members for rolls, fruit and coffee.

Homecoming was celebrated last week in our local public school. It was a beautiful day for the parade and football game…and the Little Falls Flyers were victorious.

Friday afternoon we celebrated the 90th birthday of Sister Leonette Bursch. Her brother and sister-in-law joined us for the celebration.

Work is being done to repair a leak in the roof of the bell tower section of Chapel. God bless people who can work in those “high-up places.” The view must be great from such heights!

God bless you and together let us thank God for these lovely Indian Summer days we are experiencing.

Sister Mary Lou


October 6, 2010

Oh, so many things to write about!

First was the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis on Monday. Our celebration starts with the Transitus the evening before the Feast. The Transitus is a prayer service commemorating the death of St. Francis. Seven Sisters, Associates and Friends do the acting out of the narrative with another group reading the dialogue. It is a prayerful time for all who attend. The Feast itself started with Morning Prayer together in chapel, followed by brunch. Next is Mass and lunch. And the day ended with Evening Prayer and a festive meal. It was a good day. St. Francis, pray for us.

Sunday noon we participated in the Blessing of the Animals at the little park across from the Episcopal Church. There were LOTS of dogs, two cats and a gerbil. At Brainerd’s blessing they blessed a pet snake, too.

Last Saturday we hosted the 50th Orphan Train Reunion. We had a full house with over 150 guests. The main morning event was a theatrical performance by Pippa White. In spoken narration and song, she gave a touching presentation of the history of the Orphan Train and the stories of some of the riders. Senator James Oberstar was one of the speakers in the afternoon. In the United States there are still 100 survivors who rode the Orphan Trains…Minnesota has 11 of these and six of them attended the reunion. Orphan Trains ran from 1854 until 1929. An estimated 250,000 children from the urban East Coast, predominately New York, were placed out on what has become known at the orphan trains. One of the planners for the reunion purchased a Lionel train which was given away at the end of the day. One lucky Orphan Train descendent went home with a nice toy for her grandchildren to play with when they got to Grandma’s house. Our 98-year-young Sister Justina had a wonderful day visiting with her many family and friends.

Yesterday morning when we came to prayer we had a special birth. A beautiful Monarch Butterfly spread its wings for the first time. After prayer we set the bouquet outside and during the day the butterfly took flight and left us.

Tomorrow we have the flu clinic for Sisters and Employees. I’m scheduled for 8:45 a.m. I hope you seriously consider getting a flu shot, too.

Sunday the Associates will have their day with the renewal of their commitments and new persons making their commitment. More about that next week.

God bless you.

Sister Mary Lou