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

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