Budding trees, dandelions and pussy willows, oh my!

I saw my first dandelions on Sunday and then again today.  Who would think seeing dandelions would make one happy?  We have many lovely pussy willows bouquets in Chapel.  And the trees are really budding out.  Now the last few days feel like March should have felt all month.  March winds were out and about in good form the past few days, too.  Praise God all you creatures of the earth.

Last Thursday, we celebrated Administration Appreciation and the three who do so much for the Sisters via Administration of the Motherhouse.  We thank you for all the hard work you to help make life better for the Sisters.

Last Thursday the Sisters and Employees served the free meal for Oasis Share-a-Meal at First Lutheran Church.  Eight Sisters and many employees helped serve the meal and visit with the 65+ guests who came to eat.

Sunday was Share Sunday—a wonderful talent show/fund-raiser for the Morrison County Food Shelves, the Boys and Girls Club and Oasis Share-a-Meal.  It was a great afternoon of fun entertainment.  We certainly saw/heard a lot of great talent.

Last night we had our Communal Penance Service.  Four of the local priest assisted us—Fathers Nick Landsberger, Mark Innocenti, Kenny Brenny and Tim Wenzel.

Next week I will have pictures from the Habitat for Humanity fund-raiser, Seeds of Kindness.
Sunday is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  Services Sunday begin at 8:30, the usual time.  Holy Thursday services begin at 7 p.m.  After Eucharist, we will have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 10 p.m.  Good Friday starting at 9 a.m., we have a Silent Walk for Peace through the city of Little Falls.  Then there will be Stations of the Cross, both in Chapel and outside at 11 a.m. Good Friday services are at 2 p.m.  Holy Saturday services begin at 8 p.m. And Easter Sunday Eucharist is at the usual time of 8:30 a.m.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday we will have Morning Prayer in chapel at 8 a.m. each day.

May your Holy Week be a special time of prayer in thanksgiving for Jesus’ great sacrifice for each us.

Peace and prayers, 

Sister Mary Lou


I am grateful to God for the rain

Calendar spring is here—rain and thunderstorms in tow.  I am grateful to God for the rain.  I think especially of the trees that have had small amounts of moisture for some time.  Gentle rains are most welcome…and, God, please protect us from storms.

Many activities to report.  Starting with the past week: Saturday afternoon the Becker Family entertained the Sisters with wonderful music and great antics.  Such a talented family!  The audience really enjoyed their time with the Becker Family.  Thanks so much for visiting us.

Another activity Sunday evening was a beautiful Pre-Tour Concert by the Little Falls Community High School.  Those 30 students make beautiful music.  Little Falls will be proud of you as you represent us on your tour.  Thanks for coming to our Chapel to have a practice before you leave on your travels to Hollywood and Disney World.

At noon today we will have an enLUNCHment program about our Franciscan Volunteers.  EnLUNCHment is a ½ hour enrichment program that happens from 12 to 12:30, during the time while we eat lunch.

Thursday we are honoring Sisters Julien and Mary Pat and all those departments they oversee, who do so much for Motherhouse Administration.  Our thanks for all they do to make things run smoothly on this campus.  It’s a BIG job.  Thank you.

Tomorrow we also will have a bi-lingual Mass honoring Bishop Oscar Romero.  We’ll sing many Spanish Language songs at the Mass.  We’ve been practicing the music for weeks.

On Thursday evening the Sisters and Employees will be serving the meal for Oasis-Share-A-Meal at First Lutheran Church.  This is a delicious meal served to all hungry folks who come.

Next time I will go through the many Holy Week activities.

Peace and blessings,                                                                                                                                             

Sister Mary Lou


Instant Spring

The other day Paul Douglas, weatherman for the St. Cloud Times, said, “It’s like turning on a light switch: instant spring.”  It looks and feels like spring.  The snow piles are going fast.  In this area we won’t need to worry about spring flooding.  Rain is forecast for the first days of next week…a much needed blessing…I hope the rains come.

For our Dining Adventure this month we will be featuring the State of Massachusetts.  Thursday’s menu is a Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, Boston Baked Beans, and Boston Cream Pie.

This week workmen are busy in the dish-washing room taking out a wall and floor where there has been water leaking under the floor and causing problems.  We were told that we’d maybe need to use paper plates and cups for a day or so…not so yet.  In another week, all should be repaired and working well.
This is Food Shelf Month.  I learned that our Little Falls Food Shelf serves about 1,200 clients each month.  It is open three days a week.  There are about 80 volunteers who unload trucks, restock shelves and help clients when they come to shop.  The Franciscan Sisters started the Food Shelf here on our campus many years ago.

On March 22nd, The Franciscan Sisters and Employees will be serving the Share-A-Meal meal at First Lutheran Church.  Volunteer groups serve a free meal there every Thursday night all year long.  God bless those generous folks.  And good bless all the guests who come.

Wednesday evening, last night, was the end of an era.  Sister Maristell Schanen, age 93, finished the 14th presentation on the book The Emergent Christ: Exploring the Meaning of Catholic in an Evolutionary Universe, by Ilia Delio, OSF.  By using power point materials she put together and presenting the materials she made many of us understand the materials in this book make more sense.  This is the third time she has done like presentations for us.  God bless you, Sister, for sharing your wisdom with us.

While reading the paper today I noted an article saying the Encyclopedia Britannica will no long be published after 244 years and more than 7 million sets.  It was first published in 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Britannica fell victim to the digital world.  In High School that was an oft used reference book.

Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon, we had a Sister/Employee In-service.  
All of us who fill out a time card were required to attend.  It was very interesting.  I’m glad I was there.

On Sunday we will celebrate Sister Lillian Kroll’s 90th birthday.  It will be a grand party.  I will take some pictures.

Another lovely puzzle was completed earlier this week.  The next one is underway.

Have a grace-filled Lenten Season.                                                                                                     Peace.                                                                                                                                                        

Sister Mary Lou


Our 7 inches of snow will soon be a memory

A blizzard last Wednesday and into the 40s by this weekend.  Our 7 inches of snow will soon be a memory.   This is what the pergola in the courtyard looked like after the snow.

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a global day of celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.  Where?  Everywhere.  Why?  Suffragettes campaigned for women’s right to vote.  The word “suffragette” is derived from the word “suffrage” meaning the right to vote.  International Women’s Day honors the work of the suffragettes, celebrates women’s success and reminds of inequalities still to be redressed.  The first International Women’s Day event was in 1911. (Information from Sr. Joan Chittister’s e-mail 3-5-2012)

This week of March 4 to 10, is National Agriculture Week.  As a girl from the farm, I know how important agriculture is.  This week we celebrate the success of American agriculture and reflect on what will be needed in the future.  Today Agriculture employs 14% of the U.S. workforce.  Telling the story of how food is produced and what farmers do has never been more important that it is today.  Agricultural careers require continued updating of skills and knowledge.  

At one time we had a farm here at the Motherhouse that raised food for the whole complex.  We had cows and pigs and chickens…and BIG gardens.  In my novitiate years I spent MANY hours working in the ‘milk room’ pasteurizing milk that we used for drinking and cooking.

Saturday we had a big celebration for Sister Matthias’ 90th birthday.  Many family members and friends came from far and near to join her for the afternoon.  It was great to hear the stories and enjoy the laughter.

Last weekend the Benton County Homemakers came to St. Francis Center for a weekend of sewing, learning new projects and having fun.  They are so eager to show and tell us about the projects they are working on.  I was fascinated by the bags they were making using black plastic screening.  This lady just finished her bag…strong, many pockets, good handles and beautiful.  This was the 15th year they have been here.

Last Thursday we celebrated the 121st Anniversary of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls.  Judi put up a bulletin board of pictures of what Little Falls looked like 121 years ago.  (Before I talked about having animals and a farm.)  In the summer time the cows were driven out to our farm several miles west of Little Falls to pasture on green grass.   The men would go out there to milk the cows.  When summer was over they brought the cows back to the barn here on campus.  The picture shows what it probably looked like at that time.

This coming Saturday is the Lenten Retreat Day for Associates, Sisters and guests.  The presenter is Jackie Witter and the topic is “Blessed Broken Vessels.”  Jackie was the presenter when we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our Associate/Sister Relationship.

Remember to spring the clocks ahead Saturday night…or at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning!

God bless you.
Happy Lent.

Sister Mary Lou