Things have quieted down and it feels good!

Since the first two busy weeks of June, things have quieted down quite a bit, and it feels good!

On Saturday Sisters Isa, Aurora and Bernice went strawberry picking in Sr. Bernice’s sister’s garden. They came home with LOTS of beautiful berries. Yummy. Tomorrow night we will have strawberry pie for supper. We all are enjoying the fresh berries. A special thank you to the pickers. That’s one of the things I can’t do anymore.

Sr. Ruth’s convent gardens are productive, too. We’ve had fresh lettuce and radishes so far.

Last week we had the Bloodmobile at St. Francis. We had a wonderful turnout. Our goal was 215. We surpassed the goal and collected 221 units of blood. God bless those life-saving generous donors.

In early May I wrote about The Taste of St. Cloud fund-raising event for our Franciscan Community Volunteer program. We had over 700 Sisters, Associates, and guests attend that evening. Anna Zaros will be the new Associate Director along with Sr. Clara Stang. We thank Katie Cassidy for her fine work the past couple years. And we wish her will in her new position in Colorado.

Yesterday Sister Kay Rundquist, Rochester Franciscan, celebrated her 50th Jubilee here in Little Falls. She has worked here for the past 25 year as massage therapist, teacher and friend. We were happy to see so many of her friends and clients attend the Mass, prayer service and reception. Thank you, Sr. Kay, for your example of fidelity to your Franciscan vocation.

Enjoy the summer days we are having.

Peace and blessings,

Sr. Mary Lou


First Day of Summer

This past weekend was a busy one for the City of Little Falls. The Chamber of Commerce’s Dam Days were Friday through Sunday. There were many activities and a wonderful parade on Saturday. And of course the fireworks Saturday are always fun.

The Prairie Point Quilters had a Quilt Show at the Linden Hills Mansions. Those quilters do such beautiful work. On Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day. God bless all Fathers—living and deceased. Thank you for your care and love for your families.

The Bloodmobile is coming to St. Francis today, tomorrow and Thursday this week. The hours the first two days are from 1 to 7 p.m. and on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Usually the Bloodmobile is here Wednesday through Friday, but this time it is Tuesday through Thursday. God bless all those who donate this life-saving gift.

Girls Camp was another great success. The girls were disappointed that they couldn’t sleep in their tents. With storms predicted both nights, it just wasn’t safe to do so. But sleeping in St. Francis Hall was OK, too. They painted their lovely tee shirts and took part in MANY other activities, so the days went fast. There were many hugs before departing and some good friendships were started.

Last Friday, 13 youth from YTM (Youth in Theology and Ministry) gave presentations on their service projects the past year. These High School youth took two weeks of classes last year at St. John’s, did a project, took two more weeks of classes this year, and then told us about the great things they did in their parishes as service projects. It is heartening to see this kind of leadership developing in these young people. Over 400 youth have taken part in the YTM program over the years. Franciscan Sisters help to sponsor YTM.

On Friday, too, the last group of guests from Ecuador and Nicaragua returned home after a busy week here in Minnesota. We have Sr. Joan visiting Rodolfo Padella and Mercedes Gonzalez. They came for the Associates 25th Anniversary Celebrations and then spent time visiting the homes of Minnesota Associates and seeing Minnesota sights.

God bless you and continue to care for you.


Sister Mary Lou


Flag Day

Another time I say, “Where to start?” It has been such a busy week!
Last Friday and Saturday we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Franciscan Sisters and Associate Relationship. Friday night we had some wonderful testimonies about the value of this program. And then there was the beautiful video showing the Associates who have died the past 25 years. It was so well done. Saturday’s speaker was great. Everyone liked her inspirational talks.

The Mass was so festive. Elizabeth Roberts created seven large, beautiful wooden banners honoring the elements from Saint Francis’ “Canticle of Creatures”: Sun, Moon& Stars, Wind, Water, Brother Fire, Earth, and Sister Death. Richard Wagner from Annandale assisted Elizabeth in designing the banners. We had 11 Associates from Ecuador and Nicaragua with us for the celebration.

Saturday evening, after a special Evening Prayer and festive dinner, we Sisters had a party honoring and thanking the four Sisters who served in Leadership the past five years. It was a time of much laughter, fun and gifts.

Pentecost Sunday’s celebration began with 11 a.m. Mass with Bishop John Kinney presiding. After Bishop’s homily we had the Transfer of Leadership ritual. In prayer and song, Sisters Mary Obowa, Michelle L’Allier, Mary Hroscikoski, and Doretta Meier called forth the new leaders: Sisters Beatrice Eichten, Rose Margaret Schneider, Carolita Mauer and Susan Knutson.

Just before the last blessing, Sister Mary O presented each of the new leaders with a lit oil lamp as a sign of the gift of the Spirit’s presence with them, with the prayer, ” Sisters, as you begin your ministry among us, we send you forth with a reminder of the never-ending light of the Spirit.” Sister Fran made the oil lamps.

Saturday morning Sister Georgine and I attended the Ordination to 5 new Permanent Deacons for the Diocese of St. Cloud. Deacon Craig Korver is from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish here in Little Falls. At the reception on Sunday, Diane and Craig were telling about the nameless Angel who every month for the last four years has sent them a gas card to help with the gas expense of going to St. John’s once or twice a week these past four years. May God richly bless this anonymous Angel. This gift was a great help and blessing to the Korvers.

On Monday we had a little graduation reception for Shamera and Alex, two of the children raised by the three Sisters who live in Mississippi. It is hard to believe those “little kids” are now High School graduates. Congratulations!

Every month the Values Committee sponsors a time of recognition for the various Departments that are part of the Motherhouse smooth-running operation. Today it was the Hospitality Department. Carol is holding their mascot with names of parts that all have to work together to make guest feel welcome and at home. In her little talk, Sister Christelle mentioned all the other departments and people who share in the hospitality ministry. It takes all of us together to do well the job of hospitality.

Girls Camp started with registration this morning and goes until Thursday after supper.

There are 32 girls. Many Sisters and others are helping with the activities of the next few days. After lunch I drove out to Assisi Park. The tents are all set up. The cooking area was all cleaned up from noon lunch and the girls were off somewhere doing something. For a few of the girls this is their second time coming. Last week one Grandma told me that her Granddaughter was so excited about coming. It is a fun time for all.

This weekend Little Falls will be celebrating the Dam Festival. Many activities are planned. I like to watch the “high-riding” unicyclists.

On this Flag Day, let us pray for our troops at home and abroad for our civic and Church leaders. And let us, also, pray for seasonable rain and a good harvest.

Pax et Bonum.

Sister Mary Lou


Summer came this week!

June 7, 2011,1:20 p.m. Temperature is 94 degrees. Summer came this week! Yesterday it was humid and 92 degrees here in Little Falls.

I was at a Regional SFO Gathering in Buffalo, MN over the weekend. I was amazed, on my return to Little Falls Sunday afternoon, to see that 1st street was all paved. The end of last week, the tar-eating machines were gobbling up the pot-hole filled old tar…and by Sunday afternoon the new layer of tar made for a smooth ride. Wow!

Last week I mentioned seeing the first of the five painting Charles Kapsner is painting for the Veteran’s Cemetery at Camp Ripley. I forgot to show the picture I have on my camera. So here it is…Charles Kapsner talking with a veteran in front of the painting honoring Army Veterans.

We have a busy weekend coming up. Friday and Saturday we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Franciscan Sister & Associate Relationship. Gerry told me yesterday that there are 90+ Associates registered to attend. On Saturday, we Sisters will have evening prayer together with the Associates Friday at 4:15 p.m. Then after the 5 p.m. dinner we will have a program including sharing by Co-minister for the Associates, Judy Virnig and other surprises. Saturday there will be presentations by Jackie Winter ED.D on “Ageless Canticle: The Wisdom and Legacy of St. Francis.” Gerry Dietz and her helpers put up wonderful posters on each of the pillars of St. Francis Hall depicting the history of the past 25-years. I will need to start reading today so I can get all the history read.

Saturday evening we will have a Thank You party for the out-going Leadership Sisters. The entertainment will be special, I am sure. Thank You, Sisters, for your five-years of faithful service to our Community. Enjoy some sabbatical time off. You deserve it.

Pentecost Sunday, June 12th is also a very special day for us. This is the day our new Leadership Sisters will be installed into their new positions of responsibility. Bishop John Kinney will preside at the 11 a.m. Mass. Thank you, Sisters for being willing to serve as leaders of our Community. We wish you well these next five years.

This afternoon we are having an appreciation Party to celebrate Sister Helen Ann Brake’s 28-years of service in the Development Office. She knows our 15,000 donors—if not on sight at least by name. Thank you, Sister, for your faithful service. She is pictured in the photo (seated second from left) surrounded by Sisters and employees from the Community Relations Department.

Pax et Bonum.

Pray for good weather and a good growing season.

Sister Mary Lou


So many things to write about!

So many things to write about. And if I don’t do it today it won’t get done until next week.

Last Thursday evening, the Continuing Education School had their graduation for 28 young men and women. The Franciscan Sisters gave scholarships to two young women. Kimberlynn Allen will be attending classes at St. Cloud Technical College in the Dental Hygiene Program next fall. Taeler Ross will attend the University of Minnesota-Morris in the fall with hopes of becoming an elementary teacher. We wish our best to these and to all 2011 graduates. We will keep you in our prayers. The Continuing Education Center has had its programs at St. Francis for 22 years.

We celebrated Memorial Day over the weekend. On Sunday, a couple of us went to Camp Ripley for their 16th annual Memorial Day ceremony. Eleven Minnesota Military persons have died since last year’s service. The day was overcast and we had only two drops of rain. So we did not have hot sun to contend with. There was an American flag at every grave site and flowers by many graves, also. God bless all the living and deceased military personnel.

While out at the Veteran’s Cemetery, we were also able to see the first of the five 8-foot by 10-foot oil paintings by artist Charles Kapsner, depicting Veterans through the ages. The five paintings will honor the Army, the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard. When completed they will be on display in the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Little Falls. This historic project will ensure that our Veterans’ sacrifice will be remembered. I was surprised to hear that there are over 4,000 veterans and their family members buried there.

I am in awe of all the activity in the Community Gardens just south of the Motherhouse. There are 68 plots of varying sizes, and they are all taken. The produce seems to be growing well. With our sandy soil, the rain and rain and rain has not hurt the gardens—and saves on watering!

This morning the outgoing Leadership Team had coffee and donuts and a short program as a thank you to us. Three of the Sisters were contestants in the ”Jeopardy of Fortune” game.

The big 2,000 piece puzzle got finished last week, too. The many black pieces made it a challenge to finish. The picture is that of the San Francisco Bridge. It is a Ravensburger Puzzle. No two pieces are alike, so the box says.

Last week we had a Rhubarb Party. The 'Sentence to Serve' guys pulled the rhubarb and the Sisters washed and cut up 25, 5-gallon pails for freezing.

Peace and goodness.

 Sister Mary Lou