This is the Day the Lord has Made

This is the Day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it! It is a perfect fall day.

Sunday evening our dear Sister Felix Mushel took leave of us for her heavenly home. She has been sick for some time. We miss her. We will have a Wake for her on Friday evening and the Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday at 11 a.m. Sr. Felix, pray for us.

The kitchen has been a very busy place these days with cutting up cabbage for sauerkraut, making sauerkraut, cleaning grapes for jelly and juice, preparing apples for pies, sauce, and freezing, and other kinds of food preserving. We are blest with so much good food.

Saturday evening the Staples Men’s Choir did a benefit concert in support of Project Haiti. Those 30 men did a super job of entertainment. After the intermission there were two moving testimonials about the work being done by the Project Haiti team in the hospital in Pignon, Haiti. Besides many other works, this group has pledged to take care of, free of charge, all children age birth to 5 who need medical care. The attendees at the concert were VERY generous in their support of Project Haiti. Thank you, Gentlemen, for your wonderful care for these poor people.

Sunday morning/afternoon the Nursing School class of 1961 was here to celebrate their 50th class reunion. So many memories, so much joy, so much to share. At the end of Mass Father Stangl had a beautiful blessing pray for the deceased teachers and members of the class.

Monday was Diocesan Ministry Day, held at the St. Cloud Civic Center. There were 1,000 people in attendance. It was a wonderful day. Rev. Timothy Radcliffe, OP was the main speaker. His first talk was, “The Community of God’s Anointed.” And the afternoon talk was, “The Breathing of God.’ Both were excellent talks. Then we could choose three of 43 one-hour breakout sessions.

Bishop John F. Kinney was the presider at the Mass. I was most touched by the special blessing the Bishop had for all the Religious who have served to build up the Church since the beginning of our Diocese. Several of our Sisters were presenters in the small-group sessions.

Sr. Karen and Alex did a meaningful presentation of St. Francis and the Wolf and ways to practice peace and non-violence in our daily lives. I was so grateful to be part of this wonderful day. The next Diocesan Ministry Day is scheduled for September 13, 2013.

Franciscan Sisters, Franciscan Associates and Franciscan Community Volunteers all had booths in the Exhibit Hall.

Sunday, October 2nd we will have the Blessing of Animals at noon in Washington Park, across the street from the Episcopal Church. We welcome dogs, cats, rabbits, or whatever animal you choose to bring.

Monday evening at 7 p.m., in our Motherhouse Chapel, we will have The Transitus. This is a prayerful enactment of the death of St. Francis,

On Tuesday, October 4th we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis, our Community’s patron saint. The Secular Franciscans and Franciscan Associates are invited for the Mass. Sr. Jean’s brother, Father John Schwieters, OFM, visiting from Brazil, will be the presider at the St. Francis Day Mass. In my early teaching career, the Feast of St. Francis was a free-day—so in the afternoon we would drive around looking at colored leaves.

God bless and continue to take care of you.

Sister Mary Lou


I am Grateful for the Rain

Another overcast and windy day. I am grateful for the rain. I hope it is enough to do Mother Earth some good…and dampen the forest fires “up north.”

We had a great group of about 200 guests for the Donor Appreciation event last Sunday. After the Mass and a delicious beef roast dinner, we had an entertaining program. Several of the many Sisters who have ministered in Africa talked a bit about where they worked and the types of work they did while in Africa. Liz Rydeen was the MC and talked about her trip last December to Kenya. We were reminded again of the wonderful ways our One World Grant monies are making a difference in the lives of babies and students in this far-away country. Sisters Idah and Claudia, from Kenya, also spoke to us. Liz is mentoring the two Sisters and showing them how to write grants to further their ministries in Kenya.

Sunday, too, our friend, Larry Anderson from Morris brought us another pickup load of cabbage and tomatoes. Sauerkraut making will happen this week.

Every month we honor some department here at St. Francis. This month it is St. Clare Library staff and volunteers. Unless one spends a little time observing all that happens, it’s hard to imagine the many types of services that are offered there. Thank you, Pat, and staff, for your many services to us.

The other evening when Sr. Fran was scrubbing potatoes for supper, she looked more carefully at the potato in her hand. It was a Siamese Twin potato with exact markings on the front, back and sides—very unusual!

Tuesday afternoon some of the Sisters on second floor were busy making apple pies for some future meal. Sister Rachel and Sr. Cordy were enjoying putting the ingredients together to make the finished product. It sure looked and smelled good.

Saturday evening will have a wonderful concert. The Staples Men’s Choir will be singing in our Sacred Heart Chapel at 7:30 p.m. They are a delight to listen to. It is a fund raiser sponsored by the Prostrate Cancer Group to support training of urologists at a clinic in Haiti.

St. Gabriel’s School of Nursing Class of 1961 will celebrate their 50th anniversary by having tours, lunch and Mass here at the Motherhouse…a day of celebrating ministry and memories. Thank you for your years of service to the sick.

May the Lord continue to bless and care for you.


Sister Mary Lou


Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross

Fall is coming. The temperatures are on the downward slope. Sr. Ruth is busy picking the last of the garden produce before the freeze predicted for tonight. Sr. Joel has been busy making pickles. In the kitchen I saw several gallons of bread and butter pickles and then outside in the courtyard, in the sun was a cart full of dill pickles.

Our Friend, Larry Anderson from Morris brought us a pickup load of vegetables Sunday…335 pounds of cabbage, pails of green peppers, and boxes of beautiful tomatoes. Next week Sr. Ruth will be make sauerkraut. Thank you, Larry, for your generosity.

Cool temperatures would have been had to believe on Saturday and Sunday at the Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair when it was sunny and in the mid to upper 80s. For a few people it was too much heat and they needed medical attention and needed to get to cooler places.

I spent a lot of time the two days looking at and complimenting vendors on their beautiful works of art. They use their talents and creativity so well. We had a good turnout of shoppers both days. I really like this city event…and it is good to see my returning vendors on Kidder Street and Broadway each year. We had 34 vendors staying at St. Francis Center for a few nights. Many vendors stayed in St. Cloud, Brainerd, Long Prairie and other places a distance from Little Falls.

Another event on the weekend was the “We HONOR THEE” American Flag display sponsored by the Little Falls Exchange Club. There were 1,000 American flags. I had goose-bumps as I turned the corner and saw all the flags blowing gently in the wind. It was beautiful. This community project was intended to promote Americanism and to be a charitable fundraiser for “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon—Morrison County.” This program helps returning veterans and their families and alerts them to services available to them in the challenges they face when they come home.

Tonight is the first of Sister Maristell Schanen’s 11-part series of talks: Christology in an Evolving Church. The hour-long presentations are at 6:15 every other Wednesday in St. Francis Hall. Just to be present for the talks is an honor…to say nothing of the amount of wisdom she shares with us. We are so lucky.

Saturday and Sunday we have a Campus Ministry retreat at St. Francis Center. And on Saturday is also the Fall Day of Reflection. Then on Sunday, the18th, we have Donor Appreciation Day. For that we are expecting about 200 guests.

Monday we celebrated Sr. Julien’s birthday and on Thursday we will celebrate Sr. Bea Eichten’s birthday. Sr. Bea is our Community Minister. We are grateful for the lives of these two women who do so much for our Franciscan Community.

For my birthday I wanted rosette cookies in the shape of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades {because I play cribbage every opportunity I have.} So that is what Terry made for my treat. They were yummy!

With delight many Sisters and employees were on hand to welcome two Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSJ) from Kenya when they arrived at St. Francis Convent on September 8th. Sister Claudia Wandabwa and Sister Mary Idah Ajwang will be with us for two months. While here they will continue to nurture and deepen the relationship between our two communities and also learn about grant writing and development. Welcome Sisters.

This month New Hampshire is the state whose foods are being featured in the cafeteria. Some menu items for today are: McIntosh apple coffee cake, mock lobster salad, maple glazed turkey, and pumpkin mousse.

God bless and continue to care of you.

Sister Mary Lou


God Bless All Those Who Labor

God bless all those who labor in the home, on the farm, in the fields, the offices and factories, the Church, or wherever you labor. Lord, I ask you blessings on all laborers. And I pray for all those who are unemployed and who so desire to labor. I am grateful for all those who labor with and for us here at the Motherhouse.

And Labor Day signals the beginning of a new school year for LOTS of students. I always loved the beginning of the new school year—new beginnings, new students and new teachers, new books and curriculum, new challenges and new hopes and joys. God, bless all teachers and students from pre-school through doctorate programs. May the Holy Spirit enlighten and guide you through your studies.

Either I wasn’t too observant or not much happened around here last week. We received a donation of fresh sweet corn that was a real hit for supper the other evening. We had a meeting of about 25 Directors of Nursing from all over the State. But none-the-less, it was a busy and good week.

Sister Julien, Motherhouse administrator, has a birthday today, but we will celebrate it next Monday. She does so much for all of us and she wears so many hats, it is hard to keep up with her.

The 39th Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair is next Saturday and Sunday. We have many vendors stay here at St. Francis Center Friday and Saturday nights. I love the Arts and Crafts Fair because I like to see the many and wonderful ways so many people use their talents to create beautiful items. There will be about 600 vendors in the city for the 2-day event.

Here is another of the Elizabeth’s beautiful wooden banners. This one honors Brother Fire. St. Francis says, “Praised be You, my Lord through Brother Fire, through whom You light the night, and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

God bless you and keep you safe and healthy.

Sister Mary Lou