Two months from today is Christmas!

Do you have your shopping done and the cards sent out? Not me.

Last Sunday was World Mission Sunday—a day to remember and support Missionaries throughout the world who spread the Word of God. Let us support missionary activity through prayer and economic aid. Sister Joel put up a nice ambiance reminder and then also used the altar hanging we received from Africa. We’ve had many Sisters serve in the foreign missions since our first venture of “To Peru in 62.”

Sunday afternoon was special because about 15 KC’s came to the Motherhouse and served cake and ice cream to all of us and our guests. What a nice treat. They have been doing this for at least the last 10+ years. Thank you, gentlemen. We are grateful.

Tomorrow we will have a Farewell get-together to thank Sister Donna for her 36 years of service in the Community Relations Department. That’s a lot of typing and writing of the weekly Community News Letters. Thank you, Sister, for all that time and work spent at the computer.

Thursday evening we will have the Take Back the Night program and shirt display in the St. Francis Gym. This program helps make us aware of the extent of domestic violence. At the in-service I attended this morning we were told that 1 of 4 women are assaulted by their partner and 12 were killed in MN last year. She also talked about the ways children are affected by domestic violence. Hands of Hope, a local group, helped over 300 people last year. Let us work and pray for an end to this abuse.

Tuesdays and Thursdays we’ve been watching a series of ½-hour DVDs to let us know about the changes in the Roman Missal that will be taking place the First Sunday of Advent. These have been informative.

Last week many Sisters were helping clean grapes for juice and jelly.

And last week, too, they finished stuffing envelopes for our Christmas Appeal. Here are the boxes all ready to go to the post office in a couple weeks. Thank you, volunteers.

The Music Center will have two Music Recitals Sunday afternoon—at 1 and 3 p.m. in Room 242 at St. Francis Center.

Last Saturday I attended the SFO Fall Gathering at the St. Paul Cathedral. It’s been many years since I visited the Cathedral. It is such a beautiful Church. While on my way to the basement meeting room I came across a plaque of St. Justin on the wall. Since I received the name “Justin” on my Reception Day, that saint is still special to me. The meeting was good and the high-point was Mass in the main Church.

God bless you. Sister Mary Lou


BRRRRRRRRR: It takes a little getting used to 40 degree temps

I am grateful for the bits of rain we had last week. I expect we will get more. As I looked out the window just now a large flock of geese just went over and the ½ moon is still visible on this bright sunshiny morning.

It was the best spent $10 and 2 ½ hours of entertainment I’ve had in some time. Yesterday four of us went to Brainerd to attend the GERITOL FROLICS, directed by Ed Yunker. The performers are ages 55 to 89. They sing and dance and tell stories and just make you laugh and clap your hands. The dances are great and the singing is fantastic. The 5-person band makes music fill the jam-packed auditorium. It is a cast and crew of 65 from Brainerd, and surrounding area. If you ever have the chance, I’d urge you to go to the Geritol Frolics. It is 8 performances on two weekends in October.

Each month we are highlighting a different state in the dining room. This month it is Michigan. The tables have little stand-ups with interesting facts about the state. Fluoridated water originated in Grand Rapids January 25, 1945. Apples are Michigan’s largest and most valuable fruit crop. “Snap, Crackle and Pop” were born in Battle Creek MI...and of course we know about the cars.

Each month, too, a different department is recognized, October is the time to honor the Franciscan Life Center. Sr. Bernice has lots to do with scheduling retreats, prayer days, workshops Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina prayer etc., etc. etc. Thank you, Sister, for your hard work,

On Friday evening, we had, a new to me, prayer experience, “Visio Divina.” You may have experienced “Lectio Divina,” a method of praying with Scripture. “Visio Divina” (Latin for “divine seeing”) is a method for praying with images, pictures. We used the image of the creation as portrayed in the St. John’s Bible. Visio Divina invites us to see beyond first and second impressions, to see and be surprised and transformed by God, Who is never limited or tied to an image, but speaks through them. Dawn Carillo led us in this beautiful time of prayer.

This past weekend we had six couples make the Marriage Encounter at St. Francis Center. Father Michael, OSB, was presider at their Saturday evening Mass.

All is in readiness for 75 volunteers to come “stuff 16,500 envelopes” for our annual Christmas Appeal. They will get the job done in two days! The funds raised will be used for equipment to assist our elder Sisters who reside in our nursing care area of Clare Residence.

The Blood Mobile will be here November 2nd, 3rd and 4th. On November 5th we have a Harvest Supper fund raiser. There is a Soup Supper February 4th and a Spaghetti Supper April 21st. I read all these things in our Community Newsletter in a six-inch long listing of upcoming events.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Mary Lou


What a difference a week makes!

We’ve had many nice warm days, a tiny bit of rain and the golden and red trees have lost a good share of their leaves. The flowers in the little bed near the west convent door are still beautiful. For the middle of October this is still very nice.

I need to make a correction from last week’s article. I said 150,000 children rode Orphan Trains from New York City to find new homes. The more accurate number is 250,000.

Yesterday we had 7 new Associates make their one-year Commitment as Franciscan Associates—so for the year that is a total of 13 new Associates. A total of 53 Associates were recognized for their 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 year anniversaries. We had about 60 guests for the Mass, lunch and the afternoon program. Our Sister Jean Schwieters was the program speaker. She talked about what we need to do to become a saint.

One day last week I rode my scooter out to the cemetery to visit the Sisters there and to see where Sr. Felix is buried. Then on my way home I stopped to look at the wagon load of pumpkins and squash near our garden. We will have lots of good stuff to eat for most of the winter. Thank you, Sr. Ruth and helpers, for all your hard work to make this possible.

On Saturday Sr. Mary Ann and I went to Browns Valley for the Canonical Establishment of a new Secular Franciscan Fraternity—St. Anthony of Padua Fraternity. It was a very happy day for this group. (One thing I know is that Browns Valley is a long way from Little Falls.) It was a very wonderful day.

Saturday night I attended the Heartland Orchestra Concert at Charles D. Martin Auditorium here in Little Falls. This is the 35th Anniversary of providing live symphonic music to Central Minnesota. I was delighted to see the 30+ students from Little Falls High School and Middle School, Forestview Middle School in Baxter, Brainerd High School, and Ripple River Strings and Great River String in Crosby playing with the Heartland Orchestra. What a wonderful opportunity for these students to play with a top-notch orchestra. It was an evening of beautiful music.

I just noticed in my calendar that Saturday, October 15, is National Grouch Day! How many of us qualify to celebrate that day?

Blessings on you and those you love.

Sister Mary Lou


Feast of St. Francis!

What a glorious day! Franciscan Father John Schwieters, OFM, brother of our Sr. Jean, was celebrant for our Community Mass this morning. We had many guests. We had good music and we sang some of our favorite hymns (“Salve Sancte Pater” by our Sr. Theophane Ahles, “Prayer Before the San Damiano Cross” by our Sr. Rita Barthel, “Francis, Friend of All Things Living”, and “May We Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus.”)

It is bright and sunny and near the 80 degrees we had yesterday. What more could one want? Not much. Some rain would be good. It is really dry. But I’m not sure farmers trying to harvest corn and beans want rain.

The Mississippi River below the dam is really low. There are big rocks sticking out everywhere. “They say” September was one of the driest Septembers ever. We have some beautiful red and yellow trees here and in other places in town… feast for the eyes. With all the wind the leaves are falling by the bushel…a nice sound to walk in.

Last evening we had the Transitus service. It is a remembrance of the death of St. Francis and him giving his last words to six of his faithful followers. The Transitus is a very prayerful, reverent and thoughtful experience.

Last Sunday we had the Blessing of Animals at Washington Park. There were about 40 dogs of all sizes, many cats, one rabbit and a turtle that I saw. After the closing prayer the animals and people had a treat. This was about the 15th year that we’ve done the Animal Blessing. One thing I always marvel at is that the dogs can be yipping and barking and once the prayers and singing starts, they are all quiet. A number of dogs were interested in the rabbit, but owners kept them just far enough away that they couldn’t touch her.

Last Saturday was the 53rd Orphan Train Reunion. Three original Orphan Train riders were present. They are ages 99, 98 and 94. (Our Sister Justina (age 99 ¾) is one of the original Orphan Train Riders and came to Minnesota in 1912.) The Orphan Trains ran from New York City from 1854 to 1929 and brought over 150,000 children to new homes in 47 States. The children who now attend the reunions are the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of Orphan Train riders. I heard several stories of the lives of some of these riders. Our library has quite a few books on the Orphan Train riders.

St. Alexius Parish in West Union, MN, is my home parish. The first Sunday in October is always the date for their Sausage Supper. A number of us Sisters attended. The sausage and sauerkraut were very good…as was everything else. By the time I left for home they had already sold over 1,600 tickets. Pretty good for a parish of 75 families!

The Community Gardens are being cleaned up and readied for winter…and in waiting for the next growing season.

This picture shows part of the display that was at Ministry Day at the St. Cloud Civic Center on Sept.26th.

Sr. Ruth told me that last week she processed thirty-five 5-gallon pails of apples. These will be used for pies and sauce and apple juice. That is a lot of apples!

Thursday morning of this week is when we Sisters will get our flu shots. They are effective. The shots and good hygiene habits kept us flu-free last year. God is good.

Pax et Bonum

Sister Mary Lou