Beauty everywhere...Thank you, God.

September 24, 2012 9:15 P.M.…the moon is a little over ½ full and the temperature is still 68 degrees. This is our second full day of Fall. The tree outside my window is very lovely.

I did not get a blog written last week. My brother-in-law, Karl Samuelson, age 69, died very suddenly on the 15th. He’d been at the St. Cloud Vet’s Hospital since mid-May. And he seemed to be getting better. On the 12th Cecelia took him to Willmar for the Ebenezer Church dinner, and on the way back to St. Cloud they stopped at their home so Celia could let the dog out for a little while. I visited him on the 14th. And on the 15th he called Celia at 5:30 a.m. to see if she was OK and if everything at their country home was OK. She assured him all was well. His last words to her were, “I love you.” An hour and a half later, the hospital called her to tell her that he was unresponsive. He died that evening at 8:40.

A week ago I rode around our property on my little battery-operated scooter looking at the gardens and flowers and all that I could see. There is so much beauty everywhere. Thank you, God. I think that maybe some of the flowers froze the last couple of cold nights, but there are still plenty of them that are blooming nicely yet. 

Our Visioning and Planning Community Gathering started at 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening, the 22nd, and will go until noon on the 29th. So we having very busy days this week. Almost every Sister is here for these days. Lots of happy chatter in the break times. And lots of serious listening and discussion during the meeting times. It is always so good to have everyone home.

Tomorrow our Dining Adventure will be foods from the State of Nevada. I’m eager to see what we will have for our noon and evening meals. The Dietary Department always makes foods that are specialties from the State…and decorates the counter top with interesting artifacts. On the tables are little sheets with interesting facts about the State.

On the 13th our Secular Franciscan Fraternity had a Memorial Service for our deceased members at the Veterans Cemetery at Camp Ripley. Our first Fraternity Minister, Diane Beal, SFO, is buried here, so that’s why we gather there.

Keep us in prayer as we meet this week.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


A great devotion to Mary

Happy Birthday Sister Julien!
Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary…a feast on the Church calendar since 1684, when Pope Innocent XI included it in the General Roman Calendar. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Today Fr. Tony Kroll will preside at a Bilingual Liturgy—lots of Spanish hymns. I admit, we are getting better at the pronunciation of the Spanish words in these songs. Many of songs have very nice, catchy melodies.

Last week we celebrated the birthday of Sister Julien, Motherhouse Administrator.

According to the calendar, fall begins on the 22nd, 10 days from today! The look of fall is starting to appear-- tree leaves falling and turning yellow, red and orange, nights getting cooler and day-time temperatures in the 70s. Yesterday’s windy 80 degrees felt a lot like summer! I got a new hair-do every time I went outside.

Well, the Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair is now only a memory. It was a great success. Gina, from the Chamber of Commerce told me they estimated 100,000 attendees, over 100 new vendors, and a “VERY Successful” event. Some vendors said it was like the hay-day of years past with lots of sales. Last Wednesday, when the Chamber staff went to the basement of the Chamber building to get the marking supplies for marking the vendor booth spots, they were quite surprised to find a live skunk had taken up residence there. The aroma of the “guest” is still present in the building. Gina said, “Can’t change, only accept.” The weather was great except for the strong winds Saturday afternoon which sent tents flying and tent tops blowing away. One vendor on my block parked his pick-up right behind his tent and tied the tent to the front and back of the vehicle, so his pottery was safe! I watched a demonstration of a lady making glass beads…very interesting.

New this year was a Market Place Fair on the West Side of the River. The Market Place welcomed 35 new vendors to complement the handcrafted items found with the traditional artisan vendors in the Arts and Crafts Fair. The dates for next year are September 7 & 8, 2013.

Kaitlin Depuydt, the new Associate Director of the Franciscan Community Volunteers, e-mailed me that her mother would be at the Fair…so I went looking in Section A until I found the two of them selling Big Leaf concrete ornaments.

On Sunday, we had the Profession of 4 new Secular Franciscans from the St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity here in Little Falls. For many Sisters this was the first time they’ve witnessed a Profession for the Secular Franciscans. We had many guests for the Mass and brunch.

At morning coffee break tomorrow we celebrate the birthday of Community Minister, Sister Bea. Happy Birthday and thanks for all you do for us Franciscan Sisters.

The St. Gabriel’s Nursing Class of 1953, will celebrate their reunion here on Sunday, the 16th.

I have several Secular Franciscan gatherings the next few days…a memorial service for our deceased members at the Cemetery at Camp Ripley on Thursday, our regular Fraternity gathering on Saturday in Brainerd, and to Duluth on Sunday to meet with the new Fraternity there that we sponsor.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Mary Lou

P.S. An announcement over the public address system just now was that Sister Mary Claudia died within the past hour. Eternal Life give to her, O Lord. How fitting that she died on a Feast of the Blessed Mother, since she had great devotion to Mary.


God bless all laborers, past, present and to come!

O God, Who through human labor never cease to perfect and govern the vast work of creation, listen to the supplications of our people and grant that all men and women may find work that benefits their dignity, joins them more closely to one another and enables them to be of service to their neighbor. (Prayer for today from the Labor Day Liturgy)

Our kitchen has been a busy place with many kinds of labors. One day Sr. Joel was busy making gallons of grape jelly. Pictured we see her cooking the juice to just the right consistency and then the finished product. Sister Ruth and her volunteers cut cabbage and made about 55 gallons of sauerkraut. The one 20-gallon crock and the five smaller crocks will do their fermenting and in 4 to 6 weeks will be ready for freezing and for us to enjoy all winter. I also saw 20 one-gallon bags of cut-up green and red peppers ready for freezing and also many jars of cucumbers and beans in their pickling brine ready for sitting in the sun to finish their processing.

At Evening Prayer last Thursday, we had a special prayer service to pray for Sister Emily’s sister Rita. Sister Emily was not able to attend Rita’s funeral so we had a prayer service here. Several of her family members joined us for prayer and then a special meal afterwards.

We had a “Fair Day” Thursday. Folks brought in their best garden produce for display in the dining room. Sr. Ruth brought in a three-foot Snake Gourd, and a two-foot long Japanese cucumber. We also displayed one of Larry Anderson’s big cabbages, a beautiful water melon and a big cantaloupe. Gardens were very productive. Sisters Elizabeth O., Celine and Helen have been busy picking raspberries. We’ve been enjoying them for several meals.

The 40th Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair is this coming weekend. “We have 660 vendors, from 25 states, coming to town Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 – 9, which is an increase of about four dozen from last year.” (Deb Boeltz , Chamber CEO) We have many guests staying here at St. Francis Center.

Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. is the “How Do Believers Beg to Differ?” program at First United Church.

Sunday, September 10, at the 10 a.m. Mass, here in our chapel, we will have the Profession of four Secular Franciscans from St. Francis Fraternity here in Little Falls. Holy Perseverance to the four of you.

Another activity here last week was that the man was checking fixing and replacing some of the bricks on the chapel steeple and checking bricks at Mary Hall.

At the end of May, Sisters Mary Z. and Tonie made a watercolor retreat. During this time each painted one picture each day. Their pictures are on display in our dining room. Because they are going to be in an art show, I can’t show you any of their works until later.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Mary Lou