What a blessing to have the gift of time for prayer and reflection

Retreat ended at noon on Sunday. The general consensus seemed to be that it was a very good retreat —prayerful and reflective. What a blessing to have the gift of time for prayer and reflection.

Sr. Cabrini’s funeral was on Friday morning. She had great devotion to Blessed Mother Mary. She made and prayed many rosaries.

On Friday evening St. Francis Music Center presented the Sestri Choir in concert. (The name Sestri means “sisters”). They sing folk songs from the Slavic countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Russia and the Ukraine. This group of 19 women, directed by Celo V’ec, makes beautiful music and have a lot of fun doing it. The little group of strings players, Bartok Babes, played two songs between the two parts of the singing. Celo founder and conductor of Sestri, also started the world famous Yale Slavic chorus in 1969, the first year of undergraduate co-education at Yale. This choir was the first all women’s group on the Yale Campus. Celo was a music major at Yale College and a member of the all-male Yale Russian chorus. In 2009, the Chorus celebrated their 40th anniversary with a reunion concert that drew alumnae from all across the globe. After attending this reunion, Celo was inspired to start a local group. He received an individual arts grant from the Minnesota State Arts board and it was then that Sestri began.

Sunday night there was an Ecumenical Prayer Service at First United Church. It was planned by Pastor Damen Heitmann and Franciscan Sisters Bernice and Jean. We had prayer, quiet reflection, conversation, singing and heard quotes from Martin Luther King, our Nation’s Presidents, Religious Leaders and Scripture. My favorite quote was from Bishop Desmond Tutu: “Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.”

Last night was our evening to honor our wonderful employees. After a social hour we had a delicious dinner catered by Will and his Falls Ballroom crew.

Fourteen employees received awards for 5, 10, 20 and 25 years of service. Terry Bernardy received the Francis Award.

Five young members of the Rick Family preformed for us. They all play piano and a string instrument. They are students at St. Francis Music Center.

And another HARD puzzle was finished this week. We knew the Peacock puzzle would be a hard one, but the Christmas Cookie puzzle was equally hard…and very lovely to look at.

We’ve received a couple inches of new snow…so the world looks beautiful…and roads must be slippery, since I’ve heard about many fender-benders and more serious accidents.

Be safe by being careful. Peace and blessings, Sister Mary Lou

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