Lawns Are Growing Fast; Blooming Trees Are Beautiful!

Another sunny and warm day after a cloudy and rainy weekend that dropped over 2 inches of rain here in Little Falls…other places got from 3 to 5 inches of rain. If only we could send some of that moisture to places that suffer from drought. Lawns are growing fast. Blooming trees are beautiful. Farmers are concerned about getting their crops planted.
As I was taking a picture of my bleeding heart plant Sunday evening, there was a little humming bird feeding and fluttering its little wings enough to move the grass under the plant. What a wonderful sight to see.

Last Monday I took a picture of Sister Ruth with all her tomato plants. Since then most of those plants have found a place in our garden or have been sold. Those plants were so healthy and tall…it won’t take long before we will eat the fruits of her labors.

The department being honored this week is the Peace, Justice & Integrity of Creation Department. Jeff Odendahl does a wonderful job keeping us informed about justice items that we need to be concerned about. He also has a lead role in the prairie restoration project at our river-side place on the Mississippi River, named Umbria, near Rice, MN.

We had a room full of happy guests for the Volunteer Recognition dinner. The entertainment after the meal was enjoyed by all. Thank you, Volunteers, for all your services. We are grateful. We pray for you.

Tonight we will have Evening Prayer and Dinner with our Franciscan Community Volunteers. These young men and women have been with us the past 10 months doing volunteer work for non-profit organizations and learning about the Franciscan life-style.

The rest of the week appears to be kind of quiet…which is alright!

Have a safe and good Memorial Day weekend. Travel safely.

Remember those who have and are serving in the military services.

Pray for all those affected by the violent weather last weekend.

Peace and all Good.

Sister Mary Lou


Glorious Sunshine!

Warmer weather, growing plants, small leaves on the trees and my blooming trillium, what more could one want? The last three days of last week, I was in Belleville, IL, near St. Louis, for a Secular Franciscan Order meeting. The first thing I noticed was that all the trees and bushes were fully leafed out, and there were many blooming trees! My prayer is that fields dry so farmers can get their crops planted.

May is Senior Citizens Month. Last Thursday we celebrated our Senior Sisters (that’s most of us) with an afternoon-get-together which always includes some goodies.

Last week also, we hosted 29 nurses from all over Minnesota for the Nursing Leadership Symposium for their three-day meeting. It is always good to have them here.

In an earlier blog I mentioned the Taste of St. Cloud event held in early May. In our Community Newsletter last week an article said that 700+ people attended the event. That’s a lot!

Sunday was the feast of St. Isidore, the Farmer, We had the blessing of gardens and fields outside yesterday after Mass. Father Michael blessed water that was sprinkled on the lawns and gardens.

Our prayer was/is: O God, from who all blessings flow, look kindly on us as we begin another season of planting and tilling of the land. We humbly acknowledge our dependence on Your provident care and beg You to give to us the needed sunshine and rain so that what has been planted may come to fruition. Protect us from all that would destroy the potential fruits of this land. We, on our part, promise to cooperate in the building up of what You have created, honoring and respecting the handiwork of Your hands. We ask Your blessing in the name of Jesus who walked on this earth and continues to live among us, now and always. Amen.

Tonight we are honoring the MANY VOLUNTEERS who assist us in so many and various ways. We are grateful for them and their sharing of their time and talents with us Franciscan Sisters in our ministries. The European menu includes: Halushki (cabbage and dumplings), Sausage, Carrots, Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad, and Sister Celine’s Hot Apple Strudel. For entertainment, the Slavic folk choir, “Sestri” will perform. “Sestri” means “sisters.” The singers are all ladies.

Thursday evening at 6 p.m. there is Centering Prayer in Chapel. And then a Dance recital for St. Francis Music Center Students in St. Francis Hall at 7 p.m. There are Music Center Spring Recitals Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There is always plenty of activity on our campus! Sister Christelle calls it “our Dynamic Center.” That says it pretty well.

This week, too, the current Leadership Sisters are meeting with the newly elected Leadership Sisters. This can help for an easier transition in June.

May your days be blessed.

May you be a blessing to others.


Sister Mary Lou


Spring is here!

Trees are getting leaves and the early plants are growing daily. My Bleeding Heart plant is growing nicely.

Yesterday two of us drove to Grand Forks, ND, for Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) business. There is lots of water in ditches and fields. I even saw white caps on water in the ditches! I never saw that before. The thunder boomer that went through town at about 4:30 a.m. today, dumped about ½ inch of rain. Our sandy soil here in Little Falls can take that much rain without a problem.

Last Monday we had the Taste of St. Cloud event at the Coyote Moon Grille. It was a great evening with LOTS of very tasty goodies. This was a fundraiser for our Franciscan Community Volunteer program.

The Lino-Lakes policeman that was accidently shot while training at a firing range last Thursday is the son of one of our employees, Carol Schirmers-Johnson. Chad Schirmers, age 26, will be in the hospital another week as he recovers from his surgery. He has been up and walking. After leaving the hospital, he will continue recovering at his home in East Bethel, MN. He has been a policeman for three years. Today happens to be the 2nd wedding anniversary for Amanda and Chad. Let us keep him in prayer.

Friday evening several of us Sisters attended the Little Falls Community High School’s presentation of The Music Man. The actors, singers and dancers are to be commended for a very fine production. There were so many dance steps and songs to be learned…and they did it very nicely! Thank you.

Saturday evening the Professional Vocal Ensemble, From Age to Age, gave a wonderful musical program in our Chapel. Twenty 4th grade music students from Lindbergh School joined the ten Age to Age singers for two numbers. It was a great performance. The group will be back in December for a Christmas concert. We’ll be waiting.

One of the things the Sisters do, is to pray for the many intentions that we are asked to pray for. Please pray for my nephew, Jon Eltgroth, who will have surgery tomorrow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to remove a softball-size mass attached to his liver. Thank you.

Continued Easter Joy to you.


Sister Mary Lou


Snow on the Roof Tops (in Spring), But I'm Not Complaining!

What a surprise to see snow on the roof tops yesterday morning. But I’m not complaining. We have not had our homes blown away and people killed by destructive tornados. I am sure farmers are concerned about getting their crops planted.

St. Francis Music Center presented two marvelous concerts in our Chapel the past few days. On Friday evening the St. Francis Community Chorale directed by Barb Stumpf, and the Sestri Choir directed by Celo V’ec sang their hearts out for our entertainment. These groups are sooooo good. Thank you, singers, for sharing your talents with us.

Saturday evening we served delicious spaghetti to about 360 hungry eaters. It was a festive evening and I am happy that we had such a fine turnout. Thank you.

Last night we had another wonderful group of friends and supporters for the Second Annual Taste of St. Cloud fundraiser for the Franciscan Community Volunteers dinner.

There were 15 participating restaurants serving delicious foods. I asked and found out that the Cold Spring Bakery brought 42 dozen little cupcakes for the event. That’s a lot of cupcakes! There were also 25 Silent Auction items. I think everyone was pleased with the evening activities. The event happened at the Territory Golf Course--Coyote Moon Grille east of St. Cloud.

This week the Housekeeping Department is being recognized and honored for their wonderful services. We started the week with a morning coffee break and fresh, still warm caramel rolls. What a treat. We commend this department for all their hard work in keeping our house clean and for all the set-up and take-down for the many activities we have going on at the Motherhouse every week—for example three big events Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Values and Activities Committees sponsor these recognition gatherings.

Thursday, April 5th, and the first Thursday of every month, we have a quiet hour of prayer, Taize Prayer, at 6 p.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel. Come and experience this contemplative prayer time.

Saturday, May 7th, the singing group From Age to Age will give a concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel. We are so fortunate to have these great opportunities available to us.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers, living and deceased. We are blessed with the gift of life because of you. Thank you for the love and sacrifices you’ve made for us. God bless you now and always.

A blessing for you “May knowledge of God become clearer in us that we may know the breadth of God’s blessings, the length of God’s promises, the height of God’s majesty, the depth of God’s judgments.”

Have a wonder-filled week.

Sister Mary Lou