January 24, 2011

Things are looking up. After last Friday’s -28 degree temperatures, anything warmer is better! I am grateful that we had no wind that morning. The steam from the heating plant chimneys was going straight up.

Last Tuesday we celebrated the anniversaries of 21 of our employees. Dolores Gaffke has been part of the housekeeping department for 30 years. WOW. Thanks for hanging in there with us for that many years.

That same evening we gave the Francis Award to Allen Riedeman for his positive spirit and leadership in showing the Franciscan Values at work and to all at the Motherhouse. Congratulations, Allen. Thank you.

Last Thursday, Liz Rydeen and Sister Michelle were presenters at our noon enLUNCHment program. They came wearing the clothing they were given from their hosts. They told us about their trip to Homa Bay, Kenya, Africa in December. They had a wonderful slide show and entertaining stories about their ventures. Liz is our grant writer. And we, Franciscan Sisters, have given grants to assist the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph in their ministries. We are a Sister Community to those Sisters.

There are about 50 Sisters making an 8-day silent retreat at the Motherhouse from last Thursday to this Wednesday. The retreat director is Father Jim VanVurst, OFM.

The other day Sharon Kloss brought pictures of the frost on the chicken house windows at her son’s farm. All who have seen the pictures marvel at the beautiful, intricate designs. Only God could do something like that.

The Soup Supper is coming up on February 5th fro 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Motherhouse dining room. There will be 3 kinds of soup and fresh home-made bread. “Come hungry. Leave Happy.”

God bless you and keep you safe.

Sister Mary Lou


Martin Luther King Observance Day—January 17, 2011

On the radio this morning I heard two interesting statements: “In the past three days we’ve picked up 4.5 inches of snow." “We’ve had 12 inches of snow already in January.” I think I would rather have six inches of snow in one day rather than one inch every day for six days.

Bloodmobile report: Our goal was 250 units of blood collected. In actuality we collected 209 units and had 13 who were turned away for whatever reasons. Though we did not reach our goal, we did very well. Two hundred nine units is a lot of blood. I know that some of are donors are “snowbirds” enjoying warmer temperatures and missing out on our Minnesota winter event. Thank you to all you generous donors. You are life savers.

The “Make a Joyful Noise” fundraiser in December for the local food shelf, raised a total of $5,150 which is over $1,300 over last years collection. We know that the number of persons needing to use the food shelf services is up. So, thank you, too, to all who donated to this good cause.

Friday afternoon the Sisters who live in Clare Residence celebrated Sister Justina’s 99th birthday, which was yesterday. Her nephew brought a big cake yesterday. So Sister Justina’s family and Sisters enjoyed cake, ice cream, nuts and mints to celebrate her 99 years of life.

Tomorrow we have our Employee Recognition Dinner and awards for those employees who have worked here 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. We have wonderful employees.

A silent retreat starts Friday evening at 7 p.m. and lasts until noon on Thursday, January 27th. It is a quite large group of Sisters making this retreat. The retreat director is Father Jim VanVurst, OFM. I am not making this retreat. I have too many things on my calendar that would keep me from prayer and quiet.

Another beautiful 1,500 piece puzzle was finished last week. It is fun to see employees and Sisters spending time working diligently in little spaces of time to fit the pieces together. As soon as one puzzle is finished, another one is started.

Peace be with you and God bless you.

Sister Mary Lou


January 10, 2011

The Christmas decorations are all put away—almost. I was so happy that everything was boxed up and back on the shelf. The next day I saw two items that missed the packing! Has that ever happened to you? All the poinsettias are still vibrant and full. They last a long time. More snow is predicted in the next few days.

The new Memory Care Unit at Clare Residence is shaping up very nicely. Walter has been very busy painting bedrooms, hallways and the dining room in lovely pastel colors. The first Sisters will be moving into the area this week. Since January 6th, the area is staffed with staff who have had training/experience working in a memory care area. May God bless this new effort of our Community to care for our Sisters who have memory challenges. There is a little Chapel with a TV so the Sisters can participate in the Mass from our Sacred Heart Chapel over closed circuit TV. Holy Communion is brought to all those unable to come to Chapel.

The other event of this week is that the bloodmobile will be here Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The hours Wednesday and Thursday are 1 to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This activity takes place in St. Francis Hall—the big room under Chapel.

One of my Christmas cards had the following message: “Be a beacon of hope for all those whose lives are troubled…” This is a fitting thing to remember especially after the shootings Saturday in Tucson. Let us pray for all whose lives are affected by violence.

That’s it for this week.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Mary Lou



January 5, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR May God bless you and continue to care for you all through 2011. The old year ended with 8/10s inch of rain last Thursday and 1 ½ inches of snow on Friday. A high temperature of 35 degrees on Thursday turned to very cold on Friday and Saturday. Roads and sidewalks are icy, so walking very mindfully is a very good idea.

I am most grateful for my walker, but always I have to sweep off my wheels when I go inside.

The old year went out with a 24-hour time of prayer for peace and a holy-hour on December 31st, Blessed are the Peacemakers Prayer service. “It was a time to reflect upon the gift and power of peace: its place in the heart of Jesus’ message and its importance in the world we live in.” The prayer service was based on the Beatitudes and the words of St. Francis. My prayer for us is: “O God as we begin a new year, help us to be bringers of peace to all those with whom we are called to share life, whether at home, at work, in our relationships or in brief encounters. Fill us with the renewed conviction that we CAN make a difference in our world and through our efforts to live peacefully.”

And the day after New Year’s Day was the Feast of Epiphany, the Feast of the Three Kings. Here is a picture of a crib set with the Kings in attendance (one below also).

On January 2nd we had our Sisters’ Christmas celebration. We had evening prayer followed by a social hour and special dinner. Sister Julien carved the roast. After the meal we had a sing-along. Sr. Maurita played guitar. It was a relaxing and fun evening.

The line of walkers is a common sight in the dining room or chapel or wherever we are gathered.

On Friday we will again have another Bilingual Eucharist. This time we are honoring Felipe and Maria Barreda, a couple martyred for their Catholic Faith, on January 7, 1983. They were an ordinary couple, devoted to God, who raised a family of six children and who worked hard at their trade. While picking coffee beans they were attacked on December 28th and endured unbelievable torture. Throughout their cruel treatment they continued to respond with prayer and refusals to betray their Christian Faith. God bless them for their example of fidelity to the Faith.

God bless you and keep you safe.

Sister Mary Lou