Spring starts in two days!

March 18, 2013

Spring starts in two days! That’s hard to believe…all the area schools closed today because of the 5 to 6 inches of snow overnight and the 30 to 50 mph winds and wind chills to minus 20 degrees tonight!!! I’m just staying in the house today. Many roads are closed today, also.

How about our new Pope! Pope Francis! We Franciscans are particularly happy about the name he chose…Francis of Assisi. May the Holy Spirit guide and direct him in the huge job he has. Let us all be sure to pray daily for him. March 13, 2013 is a day to remember.

My vacation in Texas was wonderful! Our brothers and their spouses were great hosts to my sister, Cecelia, and me. Besides it being so nice and warm, the things I notice first and often were all the blooming shrubs and bushes and all the birds singing all day long. The Barbershop Group that my brother Nick belongs to, had their final concert of the year one evening. That was fun. One song they sang was “Mary Lou.” The director proclaimed all women in the audience “Mary Lou” for that song. We had snow banks and a 2-hour delay when leaving MN on the 5th… and that afternoon we were at South Padre Island and had big, hard sand banks crossing the roads and making driving a challenge—just like snow banks in MN! Fresh grapefruit and orange juice was a real treat.

Exciting activities happened at the Motherhouse while I was gone. One was the visit of the “Mississippi River Water Walkers.” This group of 11 walkers, seemingly all Native American, came into the dining room, March 9th, to a cheering and clapping group of Sisters and who later sent them on their way with the Blessing of St. Francis. They came from WI, MN, PA and Canada. Others join them for shorter walks along the way. Two of them will do the entire walk from the source of the Mississippi, Lake Itasca, MN, to the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans, a 1,200 mile trek. Their mission: “to call attention to the quality issues for all of Mother Earth’s waters.” They started out on March 1st, and hope to be in New Orleans by April 29th, carrying a pail of water from the source of the Mississippi, the entire journey that will be poured in out at mouth of the Mississippi. God bless them on their journey and for pointing out the need for caring for our precious resource of clean, pure water. They said, “Walk slow and pray hard, because our water is contaminated.” People can track the Mississippi Water Walkers progress on Facebook.

There was a bi-lingual Mass on March 12th. Father Tony Kroll is our faithful celebrant for these “Spanish Masses.” Our singing the Spanish songs is getting better each time.

On March 14, our Sister Corrine Millner was 99 years young. God bless you, Sister for all the good you’ve done these many years.

Daylight Savings Time started on the 10th. This morning I found two more clocks that needed to jump ahead an hour.

Ten Knit and Stitchers, were here for their annual time of sewing and friendhip.

This week, March 17 to 23rd is National Agriculture Week. This is a good time to salute the hard-working men and women on local family farms for helping supply the safest most reasonably priced food supply in the world. In Minnesota 53% of the state’s total land is dedicated to agriculture. Minnesota ranks 1st in turkey production, 1st in sugar beets, 3rd in hog production, 3rd in soy beans, 4th in corn, 6th in honey production, 6th in dairy and 8th in total livestock production. Thanks, farmers. I’m proud to be a farmer’s daughter.

On March 13th we had a “Poland Dining Adventure.” There were lots of good Polish Foods, both for lunch and dinner. The cooks can make those things again! Many members of the local Polish Club were our guests for the evening meal. Pete and Joy’s Restaurant loaned us many pieces of Polish pottery for ambiance.

For me, the most important part of this past weekend was the Retreat for Secular Franciscans. Our speaker was Gerry Straub, the founder of Pax et Bonum Communications, a film based ministry to the poor. He is the author of 6 books and produced 18 documentary films on global and domestic poverty. Rooted in Franciscan spirituality, along with the mystical traditions of all faiths, Pax et Bonum Communications champions the importance of contemplation and action. Gerry says, “We believe the best way to love God is through acts of love, mercy, compassion and kindness, especially for those living in acute poverty. We believe that care for the chronically poor is an essential component of the spiritual life of sharing, caring and giving. We believe violence is always wrong, that war is never a solution. Our goal is to stress the necessity of prayer, penance, harmony, humility and social justice.” Through his presentation and the film clips he showed, we learned much about “Poverty and Prayer”, the theme of our retreat day. “Pax et Bonum” or “Pace e bene” was the greeting St. Francis used, meaning “Peace and blessings.” Visit Gerry’s blog at www.gerrystraub.wordpress.com or his web site at www.PaxEtBonumComm.org.

Palm Sunday is next Sunday. My palms came last week and are being stored in the refrigerator until I need them. Tuesday afternoon we have someone coming to do an interview on palm braiding/weaving. Our Sister Cecilia Schmitt wrote a couple books on the art of palm braiding. The nice thing about these books is that there are directions to make MANY different items. My specialty is palm fish. Then on Wednesday three of us plan on going to Sobieski to help the CCD students do some palm weaving.

This is enough for one writing! Are any of you still with me?

May your Holy Week be prayerful, remembering the importance of the events of this week.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou

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