Last week of March

The 10 ½ inches of new snow last Tuesday/Wednesday made for many big snow-mountains at the ends of all parking lots. Snow from parking lots and roads on campus has been piled in the field behind the barn all winter. It is a long mountain range.

I wonder how long it will take for all that snow to melt. Ice cycles.

Last Friday evening we had a wonderful concert by the St. Cloud State University Chamber Wind Band and the Symphony Band. One number that we enjoyed immensely was Rhapsody in Blue with piano soloist Junko Masuda and clarinet soloist Samantha Riehle. They moved a baby grand piano into chapel for the concert. The piano soloist used all the keys on that keyboard! Eleven students from the Little Falls High School band were privileged to join the 26 University players for a few pieces. We are so lucky to have such great events right here at the Motherhouse. We invited them to come again.

Last Wednesday we invited Carl Vaagenes, CEO of Unity Family Health (UFH) Care and St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls, to lunch at the Motherhouse. Carl has accepted the CEO position at Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria. Carl has been at St. Gabriel’s for over 10 years. We wanted to thank Carl for his good leadership at UFH. His biggest accomplishment was his leadership in building the new hospital. We thank you, Carl, for your leadership at the hospital and we wish you well in your new position.

On Saturday, Sister Maristell was the presenter for the full-day Lenten Retreat day for about 50 Associates, Sisters and friends. We all marvel at her mastery of the power-point presentation to add to our understanding of her topic. Thank you, Sister Maristell, for sharing your truth and talent with us. We are grateful.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Sister Alice Doll’s 90th birthday. Some of her family members will come to join us in this celebration.

On Thursday we will have another bilingual liturgy in remembrance of Cesar Chavez, a Mexican-American, who worked with farm workers in California. The Franciscan Sisters celebrate bilingual liturgies four times a year in keeping with our commitment to our Hispanic brothers and sisters. For many of us it a good challenge to learn some Spanish in order to sing the songs at Mass.

Friday evening through Sunday we will have a marriage encounter at St. Francis Center (used to be St. Francis High School). We have many and varied activities at the Center.

I see on the weekly calendar an item for Saturday for Seeds of Kindness from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. I’ll need to find out more about what that is. More about this, too, next week.

Next Sunday we will have an Oasis-Share-A-Meal fund raiser concert in our Chapel.

The end of March is coming soon so the Food Shelf Drive will end soon. Thanks for all who support this drive. Every department has a donation box.

Please keep us in prayer as we prepare for election of new leadership Sisters for our Community the weekend of April 8th to 10th.

This morning Sister Ruth Lenter made fresh donuts for lunch.

God bless you. Keep safe. Pray for the needs of the world.

Sister Mary Lou


Welcome to the First Full Day of Spring!

Everyday the past week I’ve driven across the Mississippi River in downtown Little Falls, checking to see if the ice is breaking up yet. The ice is still solid north of the dam, but the pool of open water below the dam has been getting larger and larger every day. Three gates are open, water is coming through pretty fast and water is coming over the top of one spillway. Soon the river will be wide open below the dam. And tomorrow “they” are telling us we could get significant snow! The garage where I park my car is just about dried out from the last time we had snow and slush.

In reading the Morrison County Record, the local weekly newspaper, I noticed that the Boys and Girls Clubs of America are this week, celebrating 150 years of caring for youth.

Our local club is open five days a week unless school is cancelled. They average about 80 students a day and have lots of activities for young people. I am so glad we got a club going here in Little Falls.

Several of our sisters will exhibit their artwork at St. Paul’s Monastery, the Benedictine Retreat and Conference Center, in St. Paul MN. The exhibit opens March 27th and runs through May 29, 2011. Those participating in the multi-community event are Sisters Blanche Fyle, Sharon Fyle, Lillian Kroll, Tonie Rausch, and Mary Zirbes. Sister Mary Christine Wiener and Associate Julia Barkley, both deceased, will also have art on display. Congratulations, Sisters, and thank you for sharing your talents.

Students from St. Cloud State University wind ensemble, “Chamber Winds” will be visiting Little Falls Schools during the day and will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. in our Sacred Heart Chapel. All are invited to come hear the brass fanfare music. Friday, March 25th.

Last Saturday was the Feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary. Sister Joel put up a lovely icon display for the occasion.

“Sweet Tooth,” is the name of the puzzle being worked on the last couple weeks. It is a thousand piece and all jelly beans. I am amazed at the progress being made. I would never even attempt starting one like that!

March is Food Shelf Month. I did a call to Party Line on the local radio station to remind listeners to support this worthy cause. Twenty dollars cash or check given to the Food Shelf can purchase $180 worth of food through the Second Harvest program.

Let us continue to pray for the many displaced persons of Japan that they receive the help they need in their desperate time.

God bless you.

Sister Mary Lou


Spring Daylight Saving Time is National Napping Day!

This day, the day after Daylight Savings Time starts, is National Napping Day. So go ahead and have a short nap today. I will, if I have time.

In an e-mail last week from Jennifer, I learned that the 400+ volunteers to the Franciscan Sisters donated 13,216 volunteer hours of services in 2010. That’s impressive! Thanks, volunteers. We are grateful. We pray for you every day.

Yesterday was the 13th Annual Share Sunday talent show at Our Lady of Lourdes School. I was truly impressed by the talent and poise of each of the participants. The first performer was little Isabelle, age 4, who sang “Twinkle, Twinkle Star.” She did it well.

The Share Sunday program is in memory of George Bzdok. All the proceeds go to County Food Shelves and Oasis Share-A-Meal. George and LaVerne stated the Share Sunday event. It was an afternoon of good entertainment. Profits from the day were $2,000 plus. The Food Shelf was located on our campus for MANY years.

Saturday we had the SFO Spring Retreat at St. Francis. There were 65+ Secular Franciscans in attendance. Sr. Elise was our speaker.

Today we celebrate Sister Antonette’s 90th Birthday. Thank you for all the good works you’ve done these many years.

We have Stations of the Cross in our Chapel every Friday of Lent at 3:30 p.m. Join us if you are in the area.

Thursday is the Feast of St. Patrick. Saturday we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and patron of a happy death. May these saints be an inspiration to you.

Let us keep in prayer the people of Japan who suffer so greatly because of earthquake and tsunami. And pray, too, for those who assist in rescue and cleanup efforts.

God bless you.

Sister Mary Lou


More New Snow

More new snow! Three of us drove to Brown’s Valley yesterday for SFO business…140 miles each way from Little Falls. Ed did a fine job of driving on snow covered, slushy roads. Along he way I was noting the animals we saw: two owls, MANY pheasants, a flock of turkeys, many flocks of juncos, crows and black birds, buffalo and elk in pens, horses, cows and dogs.

On Saturday we had the funeral for Sister Marguerite Barbeln. Many family and friends were here to honor her. Thank you for coming.

The Benton County Home-Ec retreat was Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. I went to see what I could see Saturday afternoon. They come with sewing machines, ironing boards, fabric, etc. They have such fun learning to make wonderful things. I was fascinated by the cloth bowls they were sewing up: so colorful and pretty.

Judi and Julene, Archives Staff put together a lovely photo history to commemorate the 120 years of the Franciscan Sisters. It is titled “120 Years of FSLF History Through the Lens of a Camera. The album will be on display from March 1, 2011 through the end of February, 2012. The album gives a glimpse of some of the many events that happened in the First 60 Years and the Second 60 Years. I will need to take time to enjoy the pictures and narration and re-remember some of these events. Thank you, Judi and Julene.

The afternoon of March 1, the anniversary date, Sisters and employees enjoyed cake and ice cream at the coffee break. Thanks, Terry B., for the nice surprise.

Lent starts this Wednesday. Last week I said I’d tell you what I am thinking of doing. Let me preface this with information about a project of the SFO Youth/Young Adults. It is called the H2O Project. Access to safe, clean water is a really big problem in many parts of the world. This year the donations will be given to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) specifically for clean drinking water in Haiti. So I am going to take the H2O challenge for at least two weeks will make water my only beverage. If you want more information see SFOH2O@ hotmail.com.

Share Sunday is this coming Sunday at Mary of Lourdes Middle School. This is a fund raiser for Oasis-Share a Meal and the 3 Morrison County Food Shelves. There are 15 talent events as part of the event. The Franciscan Sisters started the Little Falls Food Shelf.

Remember to move the clocks ahead, spring ahead, before you go to bed Saturday night.

God bless you,

Happy Lent.

Sister Mary Lou