Just ahead: Shorter days and Labor Day

By the end of this week we will be in September. The sun comes around later in the morning and sets earlier in the evening. I liked the long days of summer better!

Then comes Labor Day. Labor Day was established in 1882 as a celebration of workers and their families. Let’s reflect on what hard work had done besides providing a livelihood for individuals and their families. Let us also be mindful of the many unemployed who seek work.

Last Wednesday we had a one-day Blood Drive. Our goal was 90 and we received 116 units of blood. THANK YOU to all the generous donors. Many lives will be helped because of those generous people. The next Blood Drive will be October 31, November 1 and 2, 2012.

The Nursing Leadership Symposium, sponsored by Aging Service of MN, will have their last session for this year on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. We are happy to hostess this group and they are happy to meet here.

Fall lessons at St. Francis Music Center will begin September 4th.

The 28th is the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., in Washington D.C. in 1965. I still get goose bumps when I hear excerpts of it. May we continue to work to live out the ideals and values listed in that speech. We have a long ways to go.

As I’ve mentioned before, each month we honor one of the Departments which works here at the Motherhouse. Last Thursday, the Gift Shop, Sister Janice and all the volunteers who work there were honored.

On September 5th, 7 to 8 p.m., there will be a gathering at First United Church (across the road from the Convent) at which time we will examine how individuals of different faiths can express their most deeply held views forcefully, yet remain respectful of the deeply held beliefs of others. This truism from our “everyday” lives can become even more challenging during an election year when one’s persons political perspective is different from another.

The Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair is the Saturday and Sunday after Labor Day. The town will be a very busy place starting next Thursday when some of the first of the 660 vendors start to arrive. Gina just told me that there are 100 new vendors this year. That is always exciting. Please pray for good weather—not too hot, not to cold and not raining those couple days. I am involved as a “Block Host.” Many vendors stay at St. Francis Center for two or three nights. Let us pray for everyone’s safety.

Have a good and safe week. Blessings on all the teachers and students who will start school on Tuesday…and bless all those who have already started their school year.

Peace and Blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Random reports and days to come

Tuesday afternoon already. My first thought was, “What can I write about today?” Then I started a list and came up with many ideas. So I will write in random order as I look at the list.

Last Wednesday I did an EnLUNCHment presentation on the Secular Franciscan Order. Because a number of folks had to miss it that day, I did it again this noon. Had I been asked to do that presentation 15 years ago, I would have been finished in two sentences. Now, because I’ve been working with the Secular Franciscans these 15 years, I know a lot about their Order. Many of our Sisters have been Spiritual Assistants with various Fraternities. The Little Falls Fraternity will have Profession of 4 new members on September 9th here in our Motherhouse Sacred Heart Chapel. Our Brainerd Fraternity will have Profession of 3 new members on Saturday, August 25th.

Each month we celebrate a State. Our Dining Adventure this month was foods from Iowa. Some of the foods we had that day were: corn on the cob, edamame (unripe soybeans before they are cooked--great on salads), corn muffins, stuffed pork chops, Maderite Sandwiches.

Wednesday (8/22), we will have a One-Day Bloodmobile blood drive starting from 1-7 p.m. It is for Type-O blood, but, because they always are short of blood in the summer, they will take anyone who comes.

Saturday, August 25th the St. Francis High School Class of 1952 will be here to celebrate their 60th reunion. There will be a special Mass at 5 p.m.—No Communion Service at 11 a.m.

Each month one of the Motherhouse Departments is honored. This month it is the Gift Shop that is being recognized and shown appreciation. All of us who work there will also be part of the appreciation. I’ll have a picture next week.

Thursday the Sisters and Employees will serve the meal for the Share-A-Meal dinner at First Lutheran Church here in town. Usually about 60 to 80 people come for the meal. It is open to anyone who wishes to come for a free meal. God bless all those who serve and all those who come for the meal.

Our Sister Lillian Kroll will have an Art Show from September 5 to October 28 at the Evelyn Matthies Porthole Gallery (712 Washington St., Brainerd, MN 56401). Hours are Monday – Saturday 9:30 – 5 p.m. Artist’s Reception is Saturday, September 22, 1 – 3 p.m. and is open to the public. She has some lovely paintings.

Let us pray for gentle rains and no severe storms.

God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou



We are well in the second full week of August already!

From all my years in the Catholic school system, I think in terms of the beginning of the School Year. It is coming soon. God bless all the teachers and students as they prepare for the new school year. I again look forward to reading to First Graders at Lindbergh School.

Well, we’ve had some very busy days around here. The first of two BIG events were on Saturday, the Feast of ST. Clare and the commissioning of the Franciscan Community Volunteers. Each of the six volunteers has a praying Sister. Shannon is my young woman, a wonderful lady. I gave her a journal and a little gift of two pins of little green turtles wrapped in green paper, in a green cloth bag. Later I found out that green is her favorite color and turtles are her favorite animal! One day I showed Shannon a picture on my camera of the little girl dancing at the Green Fair. Yesterday she gave me a drawing of that little girl. WOW!

Then Saturday evening we had a special Evening Prayer for the 25th and 50th Jubilarians followed by a festive dinner…then a slide program showing pictures of their lives. Sister Michelle’s Uncle and Aunt came from Texas by way of New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, Banff and Jasper, Canada, North and South Dakota and other states. They travelled on a 3-wheel motorcycle and have been on the road for six weeks. Anyway, after dinner on Saturday, they gave me a ride on their machine. What fun!

Sunday we celebrated our Silver and Golden Jubilarians. Many family members and friends were here for the event. The Mass was a great celebration with lots of music and many instruments. For me one of the highlights was to have the composer of the first and last songs at the piano…Kathy Tisel Nelson. She and Father Anthony, also, beautifully harmonized in singing the Blessing of St. Clare toward the end of Mass. It was a great way to show honor and glory to a God who greatly loves us. The one picture shows how you can best handle too much visiting and talking!

Yesterday Larry Anderson, from Morris, MN, brought us a pickup load of vegetables from his garden. He brought 3 boxes of cantaloupe, 3 boxes of peppers and 10 boxes (582 pounds) of cabbages. In a week or so Sr. Ruth will be very busy making sauerkraut! God bless you and thank your, Larry, for this generous gift. We will keep you in our prayers. Today Larry is having foot surgery in the St. Cloud hospital. Let us keep him in our prayers for complete and quick healing.

At the EnLUNCHment this noon I will be talking about the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO). Fifteen years ago, I would have been finished after two sentences. Now I know a lot about the SFO’s and will give a longer presentation.

Saturday and Sunday we are hosting for the first time, a meeting for the GFWC (General Federation of Women’s Clubs). May your meetings be good and may you find this a good place to meet.

The weather forecast talks about rains today, tonight and tomorrow. We are grateful. May the rains be gentle and free from severe storms.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


The Green Fair and more

The Green Fair Folk Festival last Wednesday evening was awesome. 

There were so many people, estimated again about 1,000.  I saw many friends that I’ve not seen for some long time.  The weather was perfect—in the shade.  Those big trees on the west side of the Motherhouse do an excellent job of providing lots of shade. 

Terry said we used 32 loaves of bread—sliced into 23 slices per loaf—for the peanut butter and jelly slices of bread, sold at a quarter a slice.  We used a gallon of peanut butter and a gallon of grape and ground cherry jelly.  The pop corn sales were good, to: we used 25 pounds of un-poppped popcorn! 

The music was good.  Children had so much fun.  Sixty–nine people enjoyed the Chapel tours.  It was a good event.  Thanks to the Environmental Services Staff and the Community Relations Staff for all the hard work they did in setting up and taking down. 


Next year’s date for the 7th Annual Green Fair Folk Festival is August 7, 2013. Save the date!

August 2nd was the Franciscan Feast of the Portiuncula.
Portiuncula means “Little Portion.”  It is said that this very little church was given to St. Benedict in the 6th century.  Its name is St. Mary of the Angels. To St. Francis this was a very special building and one of the first churches Francis rebuilt.  He frequently prayed here.  Later on the Benedictines gave this church to St. Francis.  Every year since then the Franciscans give the Benedictines a basket of fish in thanksgiving for their gift.  Now this little church sits inside the very large Our Lady of the Angels Church at the foot of the mountain on which Assisi is situated.  Sister Alice Doll made this little replica of the Portiuncula after she saw the “real thing” when she was in Assisi many years ago.

There were two events on Saturday. We had the Funeral for Sister Cordy Block.  She was a great lady with many talents that she used so well in service to others.  Many Sisters were here for both the Wake and the Funeral.  Many of her family members were here to share in the day.  Sr. Cordy, pray for us.

The other Saturday event was the 19th Annual Paint-A-thon.  It started with a breakfast to feed the volunteers who painted 6 homes. The breakfast was served at First United Church, across the street from the Motherhouse.   Sisters Georgine, Kizzie and Maurita came to help wash dishes and clean up after the breakfast.  Franciscan Sisters furnished six pans of cinnamon and caramel rolls for the meal.  I took pictures of one house near here at 9 a.m. and at 3 p.m. when it was all painted.  Besides painting the 6 homes, four other homes had fix-up work done on them.

Saturday, August 11, 2012, we will have Mass and the Commissioning of our six new Franciscan Community Volunteers who arrived the past weekend.  Franciscan Community Volunteers  (FCV) is a ministry which accompanies your men and women, ages 21-30, to grow in Christian discipleship and leadership through Franciscan spirituality, service and community life.  Volunteers make a 10 month-long commitment to serve full time with local nonprofit agencies that serve the needs of the poor and marginalized while accepting the challenge of living Gospel Values.  Each of the six volunteers has a Sister who is their “Praying Sister” to support them during their time with us.

The big event this coming weekend is the celebration of two Golden Jubilariains and one Silver Jubilarian. We will welcome many family and friends to celebrate with us for the Sunday Mass and festive meal afterwards. We Sisters will honor the three Sisters Saturday evening with a special Evening Prayer, festive meal and program.  Congratulations for persevering these many years.  Keep it up.

Let us continue to pray for needed rain without sever storms and flooding.
May the Lord protect us from fires.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou

Tuesday, August 14th is Primary Election Day in Minnesota.  Vote.