Prayer-filled Days of Holy Week

What wonderful prayer-filled days of Holy Week. I thank God for the many graces showered upon us. Thursday evening we shared the Agape Meal—a commemoration of the Last Supper…and then the Liturgy and Adoration until 10 p.m.

God kept the rain away until afternoon on Good Friday so we were able to have our Silent Walk for Peace through the City of Little Falls as planned. We stopped in Maple Island Park and as we stood near the Mississippi River we prayed for all who care for creation. Then we stopped at the Veteran’s Memorial near the Post Office to pray for all Veterans living and deceased. The next stop was near the US Bank where we prayed for all financial institutions and the wise use of money. At the Court House we prayed for Law Enforcement people and the right and just use of laws and power. At the jail we prayed for all prisoners, here and throughout the world. All students and teachers were prayed for at our stop at St. Mary’s School. The last two stops were at St. Otto’s Home where we prayed for all the elderly and those who care for them and at St. Gabriel’s Hospital where we prayed for all who are sick, doctors, nurses and all who care for the sick. We had about 35 walkers. I’m sure anyone who witnessed the procession lead by people taking turns carrying the large wooden cross, would at least have wondered what it was all about.

Our Good Friday Church Service was at 2 p.m. What does one say about Jesus’ suffering and death? His love for us is so great. Would that I would always be mindful of it.

The Easter Vigil Service is my most favorite of the year…lighting of the fire and procession into the dark Chapel, Father Michael’s singing of the Exultet, the richness of the stories told in the readings, the blessing of the water, the joyful music, all the beautiful flowers… It fills me with deep joy.

On Easter Sunday morning, after Mass, and before brunch, Father Michael came to the dining room and blessed the food for the day—the colored eggs, the breads, the ham and wine (for dinner), the dessert…all the food.

Many sisters travelled to be with family members for the day. I journeyed to Kandiyohi, MN. It was a beautiful day for the 85 mile trip.

Now we will have a bunch of cloudy and rainy days ahead of us. Let us pray for protection for storms and pray for those who have suffered much from severe storms.

They say, “April showers bring May flowers.” I’m ready. The tulips on the south side of the screen house are 5 or 6 inches high.

Every Tuesday Rita Hacker comes to the Motherhouse to play harp for the Sisters on second and third floors. Everyone enjoys the peaceful calming music of the harp. Thank you, Rita.

Friday evening, May29th, at 7 p.m. the Community Chorale will have their concert in Chapel. And Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. the two Strings Orchestras will entertain us.

Saturday, May 30th, we have the Spaghetti Supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Go light on lunch so, you’re really hungry for spaghetti!

I have another activity Sunday noon. That is Spring Magic. This is the dinner and dance at the Little Falls Ballroom, Sponsored by St. Camillus Place, our 14-bed home for physically and mentally challenged adults. Invited to the dinner and dance are all the mentally challenged persons of the Little Falls area and their family members. We are most grateful to the many service clubs who make generous donations to help pay for this event. The residents literally dance ‘til they almost drop. They have such a good time. The Chicken Dance is one of their favorites and is played a few times in the course of the afternoon.

Yesterday we celebrated Sister Evangeline Stanoch’s 90th birthday. Family and friends joined her.

Monday evening, May 2nd, is the Second Annual Taste of St. Cloud. This is a fund raiser to support our Franciscan Volunteer Program. It takes place at the Coyote Moon Grille (480 55th Ave. SE, Saint Cloud). There are 16 food groups bring their delicious goodies. Again, go light on lunch and come hungry. Last year’s event was a grand success.

Take care. God bless and continue to care for all of us.

Sister Mary Lou

Pictured below are photos from our Earth Day celebration that took place on Monday, April 25.


So Many Things to Write About During Holy Week

Last Saturday we had one to two inches of snow covering the lawns…and from the sounds of it, we will see that much or more snow in the next couple days. I’m so ready for spring to come and stay! I heard on the radio today that a late Easter often means a late spring. It seems the case this year. It is so good to see robins hopping around on our lawn.

April 9th, we had elections for new leadership Sisters for our Franciscan Community. The newly elected Community Board members are (Pictured L to R): Sisters Beatrice Eichten, Rose Margaret Schneider, Carolita Mauer and Susan Knutson. We are grateful for these four women who will step out in faith to serve our Community at this time in our history. Let us keep them in prayer.

On April 7th we celebrated Sisters Joan Tuberty and Doretta Meier. These two Sisters had been members of different religious communities and 25 years ago transferred to our Little Falls Franciscan Community. We are so blessed to have them as part of US. Thank you, Sisters, for your dedication and enthusiasm—always with a smile and willingness to put forth your best efforts.

Last week we had a Red Cross Blood Drive. Our goal was 230 and we received 242 units of blood. Thank you to all the generous donors who support this worthy cause. You truly are life-savers.

With Palm Sunday, there are always many people who want to do something with their blessed palms. Sister Georgine and I went to Freeport Sunday to help the Christian Mothers and their daughters learn some ways of palm braiding . And Wednesday evening Sisters Fabian, Georgine and I will go to Sobieski to help the CCD students learn some palm braiding techniques. I make palm fish that go over real well. I keep one in my car.

Now a bit about our Holy Week schedule at the Motherhouse. We will have Morning Prayer at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Holy Thursday, at 4:30 we Sisters have an Agape prayer service with our evening meal at 4:30 p.m. This Agape meal consists of prayers and songs in remembrance of the Last Supper. Our Eucharist will be at 7 p.m. followed by Adoration until 10 p.m.

There are a number of activities on Good Friday. At 9:30 we have a silent Peace Walk through Little Falls. I always find this a very prayerful event. (If it is raining or snowing we will have the event inside with signs indicating the places and people we pray for at the various stops.) Then we will have Stations of the Cross both inside and outside at 11 a.m. Good Friday services are at 2 p.m.

Easter Vigil services on Holy Saturday are at 8 p.m. followed by refreshments in St. Francis Hall. Come join us if you would like. Mass on Easter Sunday is at the usual 8:30 a.m. time.

April 29th, the St. Francis Community Chorale will have a concert in Sacred Heart Chapel at 7 p.m. It is always a treat to hear this group. They are so good. I invite you to come and enjoy.

The next evening, April 30th, is the Spaghetti Supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Come for some very good food. We also serve meatless spaghetti sauce, if you’d wish it.

Then on Sunday, May 1st, at 3 p.m. the two Strings Orchestras will have a concert in Sacred Heart Chapel at the Motherhouse. This also is a wonderful event. Come and enjoy.

Now I want to talk a bit about the trip to Dubuque, IA. April 11-12. Fourteen of us Sisters, and ten SFOs, Associates and friends went to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium for the travelling exhibit of Religious Sisters and their works and services in the Upper Mid-west. I saw artifacts, pictures and stories of work the Sisters have done and continue to do in the fields of education, health care and many other social service areas. The exhibit was wonderful. It made me proud to be a Sister.

On the way to Dubuque, we stopped in Dyersville, IA, for a tour of the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier. WOW!!! The cornerstone was laid on June 3, 1888. It can accommodate from 1,000 to 1,500 people. The two spires are each 212 feet high. The height of the church is 76 feet, the length is 175 feet and it is 70 feet wide. It is a beautiful building. At the time it was built they did not have the advanced mechanical devices available now for hoisting materials to such heights. I marvel at how they did the build. The altars are high and beautiful…lots of gold. To see this BIG and beautiful Church in such a rural area is something, too.

I wish you a good rest of Holy Week. May your faith be strengthened in your prayer and meditations on the events commemorated this holiest week of the year.

Happy Easter.

Peace and many blessings,

Sister Mary Lou


We put the "Fun" in Fundraising Last Weekend

Thirty-five degrees, sunny and windy. This is much better than the snow/rain mix they’ve been talking about on the radio. No ice break-up yet north of the dam here in Little Falls, that I’ve seen. Lawns and roofs are bare of snow except where it was piled up…and the piles are mostly dirty and black. I saw my first robin perched in a tree on the ease side of the Motherhouse last Wednesday…and Saturday, I saw 10 hawks sitting in trees along highway 10.

Last Wednesday Carol was presented with $1,155.36 for the Morrison County Food Shelf. Thank you Employees and Sisters for your wonderful generosity! By purchasing food from Second Harvest Food Bank, this will purchase over seven thousand dollars worth of food for our local food shelf. (Pictured left to right, Franciscan Employees: Julene Ley from Archives, Carol Schirmers from Reception, and Kelly Olson from Clare Residence.)

We had two fund raisers here this past weekend. Saturday’s “Seeds of Kindness” luncheon was to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Morrison County. This was the sixth annual luncheon. Over 200 people ate a delicious meal provided by our kitchen staff. Each of the 33 tables was elegantly dressed.
The hostesses for each table provided all the dishes, tableware, centerpieces etc. for their own table. It was a very successful event. They surpassed last year’s total of dollars raised. Besides the meal there was also a live auction and raffle drawings. It was a fun event. (See more table photos below.)

Then on Sunday afternoon there was the Spring Concert fund-raiser for Oasis Share-a-Meal.

St. Francis Chorale, Staples Women’s Choir and the Staples Men’s Choir provided beautiful music for a large audience and appreciative audience. Following the concert, there was a silent auction and goodies served in St. Francis Hall. Carol said, “It was a very successful day.” It was too bad that both the Heartland Symphony Orchestra Concert and this day’s concert were scheduled the same day. It won’t happen that way again.

Another event this weekend was the Marriage Encounter at St. Francis Center. There were 9 couples plus staff...full house.

Quite a few of our Sisters attended a talk by Diana Hayes at the Newman Center in St. Cloud, MN. I found the talk, “Made in the Image of: God: Racism’s challenge to True Communion” most informative. Diana Hayes is a Professor of Systematic Theology at Georgetown University and the first African American woman to earn a Pontifical Doctorate in Theology. I purchased her newest book, Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made. Now I can learn more from this gifted teacher.

This coming weekend many Sisters will be here for Community Elections. We will be electing a new Community Minister and three Assistant Ministers for five-year terms. Please pray for us and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our deliberations. Thanks.

The bloodmobile will be here April 13 through 15th—(1 to 7 p.m. the first two days and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the last day.) Mark your calendars.

I probably will not have a blog next week. Monday and Tuesday I plan on traveling to Dubuque IA to see the traveling exhibit: Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America. This exhibit relates the story of women religious in America since 1727 when twelve Ursuline Sisters came to New Orleans. It shows the impact of Catholic Sisters on health care, social services and education. We have a photo of children when the Orphanage was located here on our campus. Numerous artifacts will be on display from many religious communities. The items include journals, traveling trunks, diaries, pioneering healthecare developments, samplers, clothing and a letter from President Thomas Jefferson to Sister Therese de St. Xavier Farjon, OSU dated May 15, 1804. I am looking forward to the journey and am sure I will have more to say upon my return. This tour is through Gary Block Tours here in Little Falls (320-632-8632 for more information).

May the Lord bless you.

I hope your Lent is going well.


Sister Mary Lou