As Minnesotans we take it all in stride, Thanks be to God!

January 29, 2013

What a roller coaster of temperatures last week…one morning low was minus 21 and another day it was plus 14. Some of those days were really windy and cold! And as Minnesotans we take it all in stride!

Last Wednesday afternoon was the funeral of Fr. Luke at St. John’s Abbey. I still smile and wonder what Fr. Luke had to do with the area power outage. His sense of humor could still kick in. Dawn finished the first reading and we all said, “Thanks be to God,” and the electricity went out for the remainder of the Mass. Then as they opened the big doors to take the casket out, the lights all came back on! Fr. Luke, we miss your coming for Thursday morning Masses here at the Motherhouse.

Last Thursday we honored out our 5, 10 15, 20, 25 and 30 year employees. After a social hour and a delicious meal catered by the Ballroom staff, we had a great program put on by our employees. Awards were given to the honorees. The Franciscan Award was given to Cheryl Aswegan. She deserves it for all the ways she lives out the Franciscan Values.

Saturday morning the Heartland Symphony Orchestra had their completion for young people trying out to be a guest performer in their next concert. The talent of those 6 young people is tremendous. I’m sure glad I wasn’t a judge.

Saturday afternoon we celebrated Sr. Lerose’s 90 birthday. A number of her sibling and many family members came to visit and have cake and ice cream with her. It was a good day for her. She could hardly believe she was 90.

Sunday afternoon several of us attended the 40th annual Pro-Life dinner and program at the Little Falls Ballroom. (This was the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade court decision making abortion legal.) The speakers gave wonderful testimony of the good things the Morrison County Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) have done these past 40 years. Congratulations and keep up the good work.

Thursday afternoon (2 p.m.) we will have a memorial service for Lorraine Ippileto, sister of Sisters Tonie and Rose Mae Rausch, members of our Community. Lorraine was cremated and there will be a funeral for her at a later date in South Dakota.

Saturday evening we have our Soup Supper: three kinds of yummy soups, fresh home-baked bread and a great assortment of good bars. Come. Enjoy. And please pray for favorable weather.

Keep warm. Stay safe.
God bless you now and always.

Sr. Mary Lou


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Presidential Inauguration Day

January 21, 2013
BRRRRR. Sixteen below-zero this morning and a possible -30 overnight tonight. That’s as cold as it has been for a lot of years. I’m glad it’s not as cold in Washington, DC for the Inauguration today as it is here. Let us continue to pray that all Governmental Leaders work for the Common Good.

As I said last week, we had a retreat for Sisters all last week. It was very good. Father Charlie came in place of scheduled Fr. Dan who died giving a retreat in 2012. We’d be happy to have Fr. Charlie come again another year. There was a definite feeling of silence, peace and prayer in the buildings all week.

Last week we had three more deaths that affected the Sisters. The first one on Wednesday was the death of Jerry who is a Franciscan Associate since October of 2011. He and his wife are volunteers here at the Motherhouse for many events. On Thursday we were all shocked at the death of Fr. Luke Steiner, OSB, age 83, who has been coming for years on Thursdays to say Mass for us Sisters here at our Motherhouse. He was also chaplain for the Poor Clare Sisters in Sauk Rapids, MN (2007-2013). Then on Saturday we learned of the death of Lorraine, sister of Sisters Tonie and Rose Mae Rausch.

On Thursday this week we have our Employee Recognition event. There are 22 people celebrating 30, 20, 15, 10 and 5 years. Amy has been with us 30 years! How can that be? There will be a Social Hour, Dinner, Program and the handing out of awards. Congratulations to each of you.

Saturday, February 2nd, Ground Hog’s Day, we have an all-you-can-eat Soup Supper (4:30 to 7 p.m.) (No, we are not serving ground hog.) The three homemade soups are: Chicken Wild Rice, Beef Barley Vegetable and Bean and Ham. There will also be fresh bread, cracked wheat and white, and homemade bars. Come and enjoy.

Keep warm. Stay well…and if you are sick, get well soon.
Peace and blessings on you.

Sister Mary Lou


The volume of silence

January 14, 2013

So many things to write about this week. From 7 p.m. tonight until noon on Sunday we will be having a retreat here at the Motherhouse. Father Charlie Smiech, OFM is the retreat director. The theme is “Rediscovering the Gospel of John.” It is a silent retreat which means no unnecessary talking. So it will be pretty quiet around here. According to the list in the mailroom there are 50+ Sisters and guests making the retreat.

Last week we had a Red Cross Blood Drive. Our goal was 246. We received 238 units of blood. Now, if the 21 people who came and didn’t have a high enough hemoglobin level and that were turned away had been able to donate, we would have gone way over our goal. Two other considerations were the VERY icy conditions on Friday. The flu kept some people home, too. Sister Donna donated her 86th unit of blood. WOW! It takes a lot of people to make a blood drive successful: the 28+ volunteers who work during the drive, the bloodmobile staff, the housekeepers to set up the room and put things away afterwards, the dietary staff to make the extra food for the many workers and volunteers, and the volunteers who make the phone calls before the drive and those who put up posters all over town. Thanks, Kathy, for taking care of so many details to make the Drive be such a successful event.

Saturday, January 12th, was the third anniversary of the big earthquake that devastated Haiti and that killed more than 200,000 people and leaves 350,000 people still living in squalid tent camps. Let us continue to pray for and support the relief efforts still going on at this time.

Last Friday evening until Sunday noon, a group of 13 Stephen Ministers from St. Stephens Parish in Anoka were here for a retreat weekend. Sister Mary Du was their retreat director. This group has been coming here since 1986, (so it will be 27 years in October that this group has come for retreats.) That’s a long time.

Last week we honored the Archives Department. From 1968 to 1978, Sr. Assumpta Ahles was the Community Historian and also the Archivist. From 1978 to 2000 Sr. Sabina Collins was the Archivist. One of the big jobs she did was to helping with all the displays for our Community’s 100th anniversary celebration. Sr. Judi Welle began working in Archives in 1998 and became director in 2000. She and Julene put together MANY displays for events happening here. Judi continues to put up beautiful Memorial Boards at the time of a Sister’s death. Many people have volunteered their time to help in Archives.

Sr. Evangeline was one of those volunteers for six years. During that time she hand-coded names, dates and places on over 10,000 + photos. Thanks you, Sr. Evangeline, for your dedication and for your support of Archives projects.

Tennessee is the State being featured in Wednesday’s Dining Adventure. I will be eager to see what foods we will have for lunch and dinner that day.

Now in January we are celebrating the 2nd anniversary of our Angela Community. This is the Community that lives on third Floor at the Motherhouse in Clare Residence and is the memory care unit. It is a bright and colorful area where Sisters with memory loss are well cared for and are safe.

Keep warm and safe. Pray for us during our retreat.

God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


Strangers no longer: Raising awareness of Migrant Issues and Human Trafficking

January 7, 2013

Welcome to the first full week of January. Jim Gilbert, in his book Minnesota Nature Notes, tells us that January is the coldest month of the year. We believe that. Last Tuesday, January 1st our low temp that day was minus 14. This week we will have our January thaw. It sounds like we will get some snow this week. I’m not too thrilled about the prospect of rain and freezing rain. I’d be happy with just snow.

As set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), January 6—12 is National Migration Week. The theme is, Strangers no longer: Together on the Journey of Hope. This theme reminds us of our responsibility to help newcomers integrate in ways that are respectful, culturally sensitive and responsive to the social needs and of the ongoing need for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.

January is also Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, as declared by Congress. Join thousand in prayer at noon our time. See www.weekendofprayer.net, This month we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the passage of the 13th Amendment. Today’s slavery is in the form of human trafficking which is still going on. Human trafficking, both for labor and sex is among the largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. The average age at which a girl is force into prostitution in America is 11 –13.

Last week was kind of like, “If in doubt, go to a Wake or a Funeral.” Relatives of three of our Sisters went to heaven…and also, Clemente, a Cuban Refugee that Franciscan Sisters sponsored many years ago.

Saturday, we Sisters had our Christmas party. We started with Evening Prayer, then snacks, followed with a delicious meal…and then gifts for everyone!

The Bloodmobile will be here Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday and Thursday the hours are 1 to 7 p.m. and on Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. We hope for many donors to help us reach our goal.

God bless you.

Have a good week.
Sister Mary Lou