Displays of flags and flowers

The beginning of June starts the last day of this week. Time sure marches along in a fast hurry.

I checked the Community Gardens the other day. Amazing how many plots in the past week are planted and growing. I hope farmers are doing as well in getting their corn and beans planted. We’ve had plenty of rain to slow things down. My bleeding heart plant is doing well.

Sunday afternoon my sister, Cecelia, her friend, Mary, and I attended the Memorial Day services at Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, 7 miles north of Little Falls. It is so touching just to be there…to see a United States flag at each of the 7,400 plus grave markers, all the large flags blowing in the wind, all the military personnel present and all the people who came out for the event. A little less wind would have made it more comfortable. This cemetery opened in 1994. There was lots of digging going on in preparation for installation of 800 new vaults.

The second of the large paintings by Charles Kapsner was on display. The first painting honored the Army. This second one is in honor of the Navy. In a couple months it will be ready to be hung up in the Committal room at the Veterans Cemetery.

We have four flags flying in our cemetery. One is for Sister Cornelia Lee who was an army nurse. She died in 1943. The other flags are for three priests buried in our cemetery who had served in the military. I think we should also put a flag by Sr. Marcella’s grave as she served on Ship Hope near Viet Nam.

While out-and-about the other day, I checked out Sr. Deb’s flower garden. It is doing well.

God bless you. Peace.
Sister Mary Lou


God gives us so much beauty.

We’ve gotten a lot of rain since Saturday—3 + inches here in Little Falls. Lawns are lush green, trees are leafed out and there are many blooming trees and shrubs. God gives us so much beauty. May we remember to praise and thank God for these gifts and the gift of sight to see the beauty all around us.

The Music Center had two recitals in the past week. The little dancers, all dressed up in their fancy dresses, did their thing. Delightful to watch. And Monday evening the gymnasts had their recital. Amanda and Chloe did a great job in helping the students feel so proud and successful in all their many achievements… handstands, forward rolls, backward rolls, cartwheels, walking on the balance beam, etc. The best part of both recitals was to witness the self-confidence these little folks have developed.

Last Wednesday, Robert Sweetgall was with us most of the day. He spoke on the subjects he knows best—walking and physical activity and the motivation to move. He has walked and run 7 times across America. In his former life, Robert Sweetgall was an overweight boy nicknamed “Butterball”, a chocolate cheesecake-lover, high school valedictorian, DuPont Company chemical Engineer and born-again ultra-marathoner. After loosing much of his family to heart disease, Robert resigned from his $100,000-per-year engineering job to take his message “on the road”—literally walking across America. His focus is to get people moving on their two feet. His is a simple message abut two- legged medicine: how your own two feet can be your heart’s best friend and why you don’t have to do marathons or extreme fitness sports to stay healthy. “His focus is on prevention of chronic disease—rather than managing disease.” Healthy Communities Collaborative of Morrison County was one of the sponsors of this kickoff for Live Better! Live Longer!

Last Wednesday was also the third Day of Caring in Little Falls. One hundred fifty-eight homeowners were recipients of 1,029 volunteers (mostly High School students) doing 3,087 hours of volunteer time raking yards, cleaning up junk and washing windows etc. Some volunteers also cleaned parks and other public spaces. Thank You to all who helped with this big project.

While moving around campus last week I came upon Keith, who was hand-digging the grave for Sr. Ida. I’ve never seen this before.

As usual, Judi and Julene, Archives Staff, put together a beautiful display of artifacts and pictures sharing some of Sister Ida’s life with us.

I also noticed the Community Gardens are plowed, the plots marked off…and some folks out there getting started working in their section. There are 4 REAL BIG plots that are divided into 62 smaller sections. As of right now, there are still 3 spots open. Donna told me that there are 14 new gardeners this year. Donna and Jim Waldvogel have worked with this project since its beginning about 30 years ago. May the gardeners have good success this year (when they can finally get the gardens planted.)

The last couple days Mother Duck’s eggs have hatched. This was the day Mother Duck and her eight babies were ushered from the enclosed courtyard area through the ground floor hallway and into open space. As soon as they got out the door, they turned right and headed straight for the Mississippi River. Several employees went with them to stop traffic so they could cross the highway safely.

Pictured here is Sister Blasé talking to our Motherhouse cat. Mama Cat just keeps and eye on all that is going on around here.

Sister Ruth is in the greenhouse tending plants until it is warm enough to plant them outside. I noticed today that she has her usual tomato plant sale going on. Many employees and others stock their gardens with her tomato plants. She also has many flower plants that will eventually beautify our grounds.

The May Dining Adventure honors the state of Alabama. Good southern cooking for our meals today.

Tomorrow evening the CEC (Continuing Education Center) will hold their Graduation Ceremony here at St. Francis. There are 16 students graduating here and then others will join the approximately 170 young people from the Little Falls Public High School for their Graduation Ceremony on Sunday. The CEC program has used classroom space at what was St. Francis High School for about the last 24 years. I am so proud of the great work the CEC teachers do. They really make a difference in the lives of the many students who attend classes here.

Sunday Donors who honored or remembered loved ones (deceased or living) for our Memorial Day Appeal will be joining us for the 11 a.m. Mass. We welcome you.

Sunday is also the Memorial Day program at the Veteran’s Cemetery at Camp Ripley. I have attended this program several years and am always moved by it. If there is rain the program is held indoors. God bless and care for all our Veterans and their families.

Have a safe Memorial Day.
Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


The gifts God gives us

May 13, 2013 Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three children from May 13 to October 13, 1917.

Trees are starting to get small leaves. Yesterday when I was outside looking at the gifts God gives us in nature, I came upon two baby squirrels. They just sat there and let me take their picture. I saw lots of blooming flowers in various convent gardens. Tiny buds are showing very small signs of blossoms on the lilac bushes. The honey bees are ready for nectar gathering when the time comes.

Yesterday afternoon, 2:30 p.m., Sister Mary Ida Bursch, age 89, went to heaven quietly and peacefully—the same way she lived her life. She worked for MANY YEARS at the St. Cloud Children’s Home. May she be enjoying a beautiful Life with the Lord. Thank you, Sister Ida, for your example of loving service as a Franciscan Sister for 73 years. The Franciscan Wake is Friday, May 17th at 7 p.m. The Funeral for Sr. Ida is Saturday, May 10, at 10:30 a.m.

Last Thursday Kathy coordinated the Volunteer Appreciation event. What a party. It was a Western theme in decorations, food, entertainment and gifts. The 208 places set in St. Francis Hall were filled. We are most grateful to our wonderful volunteers who donated 13,300 hours of service to the Franciscan Sisters. Robyn wrote a play, presented by employees, that taught a good lesson and also provided many good laughs. We also had a live band, Oak Street Jam.

When at Lindbergh School, last week, I saw that the Painted Lady Butterflies were starting to hatch. Today or tomorrow the First Graders will release the little creatures to the wild. The students know a lot about the life-cycle of the butterflies and are so eager to share their knowledge.

All last week, Gina Sanderson, artist, was in residence. She gave lessons in water-color painting and had her students paint some pictures on Thursday. The students said they learned so much and they had so much fun. She is invited back any time she wants to come.

Cindy has been cutting and fixing the hair of Sisters for the past 18 years. She is leaving us for health reasons and last Thursday was her last day. We had a little reception for her on Second floor. Thank you, Cindy, for “keeping the Sisters looking good.” We are appreciative.

The Mass intention on Sunday was for the Mothers of all the Sisters—living and deceased. God bless our Mothers…and all Mothers.

Motivational speaker, Robert Sweetgall will be doing two talks on Wednesday—one at 7:30 a.m. and the other at 6 p.m. in St. Francis Hall. The public is invited. The program is co-sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters and Healthy Communities Collaborative.

On Wednesday, 800 Public High School students, teachers and volunteers will do yard clean-up work for 155 elderly, disabled or homebound individuals. They will also clean up parks and community areas. I expect our CEC students who attend classes at St. Francis Center will be out there working, too. A wonderful service project.

Centering Prayer time is Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m. in the Gathering Area of Sacred Heart Chapel. All are welcome.

St. Francis Music Center has piano recitals scheduled Saturday (at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and Sunday at 1 p.m. in rooms 242 and 244. It’s good for these students to show their skills and talents.

Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost. May the Holy Spirit guide and direct you in all your decisions and actions.

Peace and blessings, Sister Mary Lou


Signs of spring on campus - Praise God!

May 6, 2013

We are into May and spring seems to be on its way. Praise God. I went to the Cities Friday afternoon and at one point a rain snow mixture was hitting my windshield…but it didn’t last long. Sunshine is so welcome. I went looking for signs of spring on campus. I found quite a few crocuses, hyacinth, daffodil and even one open tulip. The grass is starting to green up. There are still a few small, dirty snow banks. I went to the dam to look at the Mississippi. Water is coming over the top of the dam and most all the gates are wide open. There a little buds on the lilac bushes. The bees are flying in and out of their hives south of the lilac hedge at the south end of the cemetery.

In a little corner of the dining room is a lovely, little display of the Arts of Mexico.

Last Wednesday, May 1st, was May Day and also the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. May God bless and protect all workers and bless their labors…and assist all who are searching for jobs. At each place in the dining room we found May Baskets containing two or three live little marigold plants. Sisters on second floor with the help of Cheryl, the Activities Director, and her staff started the little plants and decorated the paper cups they were in. I replanted my little flowers into a larger pot and will enjoy seeing them grow and blossom. Pictured are the two plants I grew from last September.

Yesterday was the Spring Magic Dinner and Dance at the Falls Ballroom sponsored by the Advisory Board of St. Camillus Place. Three of us Sisters are on the Advisory Board. Over 200 people attended this event for the mentally and physically handicapped persons in our county. Gary Bloch was the DJ. He really knows the music to play so the guests have a wonderful time dancing. The Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey are the favorites.

Tonight is the Taste of St. Cloud fund-raiser event to support our Franciscan Community Volunteer ministry, at the Territory Golf Course/Coyote Moon Grille in East St. Cloud. There will be 16 food vendors. Take it easy at lunch today so you have a good appetite when you get there. There is also a silent auction with many beautiful items to bid on. One of the guests will be the artist, Gina Sanderson, who donated three paintings for the auction. She is the lady who donated us a painting of an apple that I talked about almost a year ago.

Tomorrow we have a Woman’s Health Expo (in partnership with St. Gabriel’s Hospital) program in St. Francis Hall. I was just listening to an interview of the presenters on the radio Party Line Program. It will be a good presentation.

Thursday evening Kathy will be hosting a Volunteer Appreciation event for our volunteers. I’ve been watching the gathering of ambiance items that have been collecting in Kathy’s office. FUN is coming!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all mothers and to those who have shown motherly care to others.

The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord is Thursday this week, but has been transferred to the following Sunday, May 12th.

The fishing opener is Saturday. I hope fisher-people can find lakes and rivers that are not ice-covered.

Peace and many blessings,
Sister Mary Lou