A is for Alligator, B is for Birthday, C is for Communion

February 25, 2013

Ten months from today is Christmas! I’ve not started my Christmas cards yet. How about you? And by the end of this week we are into March. How can that be!

God did it again yesterday, by frosting trees, bushes, electric wires etc. with beautiful white hoar frost. It fills my heart with awe that our God could make such beauty and then give bright sunshine to highlight the whole thing. Thank you, God, for your goodness to us…and for eyesight to witness the beauty.

Yesterday was the 15th Annual Share Sunday event. It is a talent show fund-raiser for the county Food Shelves and the local Boys and Girls Club. Judging the talent is a terribly hard job. I know. I was one of the three judges. Category I (ages 8 and under), Category II ages (9—14), and Category III (16 and older). Everybody went away with a cash prize. Sisters Maurita (guitar), Fran (harmonica), and Lillian (flute) were part of category III. During their songs, Sisters Bernarda and Bea danced up a storm and were a supportive presence for the musicians. It was a fun afternoon.

Yesterday was also the party to celebrate Sister Mary Goretti’s 90th birthday. MANY family and friends, former students and co-teachers came to celebrate with us. It was a very happy day for her. She is pictured below with her three sisters.

Last Wednesday our Dining Adventure was the State of Florida. The foods were great: Florida Gumbo (with alligator meat), Cuban Pulled Pork, Pink flamingo Slaw, Harvey Wall Banger Bundt Cake, Chicken Breasts with mango-avocado salsa, Pineapple Rice and Key Lime Pie. Yummy. I told the cooks they could make all these things again.

Saturday morning we had a group of First Communion second graders, parents and teachers from Flensburg, Randall and Sobieski come to tour the Motherhouse. The students get a short history of the Franciscan Sisters, saw the Altar Bread Display and Video, our Chapel, St. Clare Library, the Health and Recreation Center. We also talk about the outside Stations, the Grotto, Our Lady of the Highway shrine, the Labyrinth and Community Gardens. Sisters Christelle, Sharon and I helped with the tour. At one time we made the Communion Wafers here for over 150 parishes, hospitals and other churches. We made altar breads from 1898 to 2005—over 100 years. October 1961 was the first time parishes were charged for altar breads. In 1980 they used 1,000 pounds of wheat flour per month. In 1985, 6,596,085 altar breads were sent out. At this time we are a distribution center and package and resend out altar breads that we order from the Cavanagh Co. in Rhode Island.

Below are two historic pictures from our Alter Bread ministry that I thought you may enjoy. One of Sister Anne Furnstahl using the cutter and the other of Sister Adella Blonigen baking the bread.

Saturday evening St. Francis Music Center sponsored a concert by “Sestri” (“Sisters” in Bulgarian), in our Chapel. Devoted to the study and performance of women’s Slavic folk music, Sestri is the brainchild of musical director Celo V’ec, who in 1969 founded the Yale Slavic Chorus, a similar women’s group which still enjoys great popularity among Yale choral ensembles. The members of Sestri are delighted in their musical comradeship and are very excite to share this body of astounding, exotic music with our communities. Sestri performs a wide variety of eastern European music—Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian, from the Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia and Russia. The last song, “Mnogaya Lyeta”, from Russia, was printed on the program and the audience was invited to sing along with the chorus.

We have the Way of the Cross (Stations) every Friday in our Chapel every Friday at 3:30 p.m. We invite you to join us if you wish to.

This coming weekend about 25 members of the Benton County Homemakers Club will be with us at St. Francis Center for a weekend retreat. They always have so much fun and they make such beautiful things.

God bless you. May your Lent continue to be fruitful.

Sister Mary Lou

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