October 8, 2012
Last week between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning we moved from summer to fall...and I think it is here to stay. We had and have the promise of some much needed rain. I even washed my car in hopes of bringing it on. When I came outside after lunch today, the sidewalk and roads were a little damp, so a little shower went through. I pray God send us more rain. Last week I showed a picture of the beautiful red tree outside Clare Residence. Today there are only a couple dozen leaves left on that tree.
Our guys cut down the dying pine tree at the end of the circle drive. We thanked the tree for being a good tree.
What busy days the last few days. We had a beautiful celebration of the Transitus Wednesday evening. The Transitus is the celebration of the remembering of the death of St. Francis. Then on October 4th we celebrated the Feast of St. Francis. Many Secular Franciscans and our Franciscan Associates joined us for Mass and Lunch.
Thursday was a very windy day and we were affected by a domino effect “problem.” The wind blew a tree branch over a power line that shut off electricity for a few seconds…and that’s all it took to mess up the timers on the chapel lights! When it was time for 4:15 prayer, the one light that was on stayed on, and all the other chapel lights that were off stayed off. So we all took our books downstairs and prayed in St. Francis Hall.
On Friday the Sisters and most employees received our flu shots. May the flu stay away from all of us!
Saturday we hosted 90+ guests for the 52nd Orphan Train Reunion. Since last year’s gathering the three original Riders who were with us last year died: Helen (Perkins) Koscianski (age 96) on May 21, 2012, Sister Justina Bieganek, July 20 (age 100), and Pat Theissen (age 97) died October 1, 2012. The spirit of the three was definitely with us on Saturday. The three daughters of Helen Koscianski came with a doll donated by Pat Theissen, to the Orphan Train Organization. This doll was wearing the original coat Agnes “Pat” (Chambers) Theissen wore when she came to Minnesota on the Orphan Train in 1916. The original tag was sewn to the front of the coat. I got goose-bumps when I saw the doll and the tags. For more information on the Orphan train see www.orphantrainridersofMinnesota.com. From 1854 to 1929 over 250,000 children from the urban East Coast, predominately NY, were placed out on what has become known as the Orphan Trains. One thing that amazed me is the statistic that one in 25 Americans is connected to an Orphan Train rider. There is and Orphan Train Museum and Research Center at 300 Washington in Concordia, KS, 66901 (Phone: 785-243-4471.) Next year’s reunion is the first Saturday of October 2013. The morning presentation was a speaker telling of her grandparents, Earl and Emily Kidder. Emily was an Orphan train Rider. In the afternoon we heard stories of other train riders. Some were so sad in the treatment of the riders when they reached their new homes. There was a silent auction to help raise funds for the organization.
On Sunday we had our Donor Day Appreciation event. One Hundred fifty-five guests joined us for Mass and a delicious dinner. After the dinner I was the speaker telling why we have the “Blessing of Animals.” Then we went out to the west lawn for the blessing of 35 animals- mostly dogs, a couple cats and 2 gingkoes. Father Michael, OSB, and a number of our Sisters blessed each animal individually. (I gave my sister, Cecelia, a copy of the blessing so she could bless her new dog. She said. “I blessed her last night when she woke me up three times!” She will also bless her with our blessing.) When our guests left yesterday they were each given a little birdhouse that our elder Sisters painted and decorated. It was hard to make choices since each birdhouse was so unique and beautiful.
The "puzzlers" finished two puzzles this week.
This is the week all the Diocesan Priests are meeting at Arrow Wood in Alexandria for their yearly meeting and workshop. Let us keep them and Bishop Kinney in our prayers.
On Wednesday we will have our Vermont Dining Adventure. I wonder what we will have to eat as Vermont treasured recipes. Pat, our Librarian, picks out such interesting bits of information to put at the tables--so we can get a little smarter, too.
Next Sunday we will be welcoming a large group of Franciscan Associates for Mass and lunch. Several new Associates will make their first-time commitment and the others will renew their commitment.
Let us pray for plentiful, gentle rains before the ground freezes.
Peace and blessings on each of you.
Sister Mary Lou