A thought for the week

A thought for the week by Charles Reads, an English novelist and dramatist:
We sow a thought and reap an act.  
We sow and act and reap a habit. 
We sow a habit and reap a character.
We sow a character and reap a destiny.

Our Dining Adventure for July honored the state of Pennsylvania.  When I think of Pennsylvania food, my first thought is of Hersey Candy!  What is yours?

The two big events of last week were a funeral and a death.  First the funeral.  We had the funeral of   100 ½ year young Sister Justina Beganek who died July 20th.  We had a great send-off for her…many family members and Sisters in attendance, wonderful music with the songs and readings she requested and a chicken dinner which was also her request.  May she continue to look on us with her blessings.

The death was that of Sister Cordelia (Cordy) Bloch.  The past week or so her family had been visiting for a family reunion.  On Wednesday morning when the nurses did their 4 a.m. check she was sleeping and the next time they checked she had died.  May she be enjoying easy breathing and free movement.  Eternal Life to you, Cordy.  Pray for us.  Peace and blessings to her family.  Sister Cordy’s funeral is Saturday, August 4th.

Last week, July 24-26, the Nursing Leadership Symposium took place here.  There were about 18 nurses here.  They like coming here because of our nice facility and good treatment they get when they come.  Many choose to stay in our guest area, though some stay at a local hotel.

Before she died, we were planning a reception remembering Sister Maristell Schanen for being the Franciscan Federation Honoree for 2012.  Honorees are Third Order Regular Franciscan Brothers and Sisters within the Church who: *Embody Francis’ and Clare’s witness to creative fidelity; *Nurture that ecclesial communion of love to which Jesus invites us; *Embrace the Church with all its ambiguities; *Energize and give hope to the doubtful and the discouraged.  The reception is Thursday (2:00—3:00 p.m.) in the Convent Dining Room.  Sister Maristell will be with us in spirit!

Wednesday evening, August 1st,  4 to 8 p.m. is the Green Fair Family Folk Festival.  There will be 57 vendors who have green items to share with us.  There will be many activities for children.  A popular treat is a slice of fresh bread with peanut butter and jelly.  Other food is also available.  A new thing this year will be tours of the Chapel and Convent. Last year we had nearly 1,000 guests.  It is a fun evening.  May the rain stay away those four hours.

Saturday is the day for the Little Falls Paint-A-Thon, a day when volunteers paint homes of elderly and handicapped persons who meet the financial criteria.  A large group of volunteers have painted over 200 homes in the past 20+ years.  The Franciscan Sisters provide the cinnamon and caramel rolls served at the breakfast for volunteers on paint-morning.  Several Sisters also help with the clean-up after the breakfast.

How’s this for a bon-fire?  The Eltgroth Family Camp-out was last weekend at the family farm near West Union, MN.  It took a while before we could roast marshmallows.

Blessings on your week.                
May the Lord send needed rain.                                                                                                    
Sr. Mary Lou    


Graced with God’s great blessings

We had some hot and humid days these past days…and half an inch of rain Saturday morning. Praise God. It sounds, too, like there will be more rain some of the next days this week. May the Lord protect us from violent storms.

Wednesday, July 18, Sister Justina Bieganek, age 100 ½, mentioned to her friend, Maxine Strege, and also to her two sisters who came to visit, that she needed to pick out her funeral outfit as she would need them soon. The next day she was having difficulty breathing. With family and Sisters around her, she went to meet her Lord and God at 2 a.m. on Friday, July 20th. At her 100th birthday celebration in January, 2012, she said that “each step of my life, I have been graced with God’s great blessings,” concluding that, “my life has been better than good.” Paul Mbav, in a condolence note about Sister Maristell (who died July 6th) said, “In Africa we say, ‘when an elder dies, it is like a library that has been burned down.’” With the deaths of two of our elders, it truly is like two libraries have burned down!

The middle of next week, July runs out. Then comes August 1st and the Green Fair Folk Festival from 4 to 8 p.m. on the west lawn of St. Francis Convent. We are expecting 6o vendors. There will be activities for children and musical entertainment: fiddlers, the U Rock bands, Sestri and others. One big attraction is always the fresh bread for peanut butter and jelly bread. Come join us.

Friday and Saturday, 27th and 28th, the St. Francis High School class of 1964 will have their reunion here. Welcome.

Have a good week.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


It's been a busy July...

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Franciscan Feast of the Canonization of Saint Francis, July 16, 1228, two years after Francis’ death

Here I am again! I wrote a blog on July 2nd and then forgot to forward the attachment to Kari. In that blog I said I’d be gone July 3 – 8 for a meeting of Secular Franciscans in Skokie, IL, north of Chicago. The meeting is called a “Quinquennial” (“Q” for short) because it happens once every five years. It was an excellent gathering. There were over 600 Franciscans in attendance. Sister Ilia Delio, OSF was one of the many speakers. My heart is filled with gratitude for having had the opportunity to attend.

We had a retreat for 50 Sisters here from July 7 – 13. Sister Jolynn Brehm, FSPA was the presenter. Those who attended, really appreciated the input and prayer times.

The big news of the past weeks was the sudden and unexpected death of Sister Mary Maristell Schanen , age 93, on Friday July 6th. We’ve known her health was failing these past couple months. But, her sudden death came as a surprise to all us. I had her as my Sophomore English teacher at St. Francis High School in 1950—51. She was a Franciscan Sister for 63 years. Sr. Maristell’s funeral was Friday, July 13th. Because of her many mission experiences, she had friends everywhere.

Friday night/Saturday morning was the 19th Annual Morrison County Relay for Life event held at the Community High School track and the Community Middle School. There were 34 teams and 389 walkers. Last year they raised over $146,000. This year they raised over $150,000. WOW! That is a LOT of money! The 2012 Committee and teams are to be commended for their work. The Franciscan Sisters donated cookies for the walkers. There was not a sound from the bleachers during Steve Emblom’s talk about his ongoing journey with cancer. The 10 p.m. talk by Greg Zilka was held inside the Middle School…again, very intent listening to the story of his journey with cancer. The Luminaria Ceremony and lighting of the MANY Luminiaria bags was not held because the bags got soaked in the 5:30 p.m. downpour. Later the skies cleared and the walking outside continued. One hundred eighty-five persons died of cancer in Morrison County last year.

Last evening, 15th, Sestri, a Woman’s Slavic Chorus gave a beautiful concert in our Chapel, to a very receptive audience. I got to chapel about 6:40 and there were only two of us there. By 7 p.m. the place was full. The 18 ladies sang 16 songs from the countries of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Croatia. Celo, the director, accompanied them on a drum for a few songs. “Sestri” means “sisters.” They will be doing a concert at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis on July 29th at 3 p.m. If you are in the area, go attend a great musical experience.

On July 14th, MANY of our Sisters were part of the 300 Sisters at St Ben’s for the Conference for Women Religious of Region 11 LCWR. The title of the two talks by Professor Richard Gaillardetz was, “Renewal of Our Call as Members of a Vatican II Church.” He is presently the vice-president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. We all came away very enriched by the content of his talks and our small group discussions. A day well spent.

Thursday we will host a large reunion group of nurses and students from the now closed Breckenridge School of Nursing and St. Francis Hospital. Each year a number of nurses have had this reunion. This year it is being held here at St. Francis Convent so some of our Sisters who taught there can also visit their students, classmates and co-workers.

Girls Camp, the last week of June, was another great success. Thirty girls attended and had a wonderful time. And it appeared that the staff also had a good time. Sister Sharon’s cooking is always a treat.

This lovely statue of Jesus and the Children was donated Kevin Brown and will soon find its way to the Peace Garden.

The Community Gardens are beautiful. Lots of garden produce out there and some has already been harvested. With the heat and lack of rain, it is good that there is water available for the gardeners’ use.

Yesterday I attended the graduation party for the wife of a teacher I hired 24 years ago when I was principal at St. Michael’s Parish School in St. Michael, MN. She worked to get her husband and two children through collage and now went back herself to get her degree in Business Management and Elementary Education. I am so proud of her…and Mike is still teaching at the Parish School.

I don’t know what the high temperature got today. It was still 95 when I was outside at 6:30 p.m. Anyway, I thought of Father Ray Donnay’s short seven word sermon on a very hot summer Sunday morning some years ago; “It’s hot. Hell is hotter. Be good.” I say: “Amen” to that.

Let us pray for needed rain and for protection from storms and violent weather.

Peace and blessings, Sister Mary Lou