Summer arrived with a boom and a bang

June 24, 2013

Welcome Summer! Summer arrived with a boom and a bang early Friday Morning (12:04 a.m.)! Since the beginning of summer we’ve had nearly 4 inches of rain in our rain gage. Some places have had from 9 to 14 inches of rain. That’s toooooo much in a few days. I’ve seen lots of fields with temporary ponds in them…even ducks swimming in one pond. Many places are still out of power, but not us.

Yesterday I checked to see how the Community Gardens are doing. They are beautiful and growing very nicely in my estimation. Lots of people were tending their plots in the afternoon. One garden has lots of lettuce ready for harvesting. Now that we have some sun and some heat, they should do well...and if they don’t get any hail damage.

The bloodmobile was here three days last week. We received 231 units of blood. That is a lot. We are grateful to the many donors and the many walk-ins who came to share the gift of life with others. Thank you and God bless you.

Last Wednesday we had the funeral for Sister Baptista. Many family and friends came to honor her. Her nephews, Fathers Leroy and Jerry Schik, were the presiders at Mass. Father Jerry’s homily was tremendous.

The Transportation Department was honored last Thursday morning with fresh doughnuts from the local Senior Center. We all enjoyed the bulletin board the Activities Committee assembled. Each of the many drivers was pictured in a little car. Very cleverly done.

Seven young people came Friday to share their YTM (Youth in Theology and Ministry) experiences. What a wonderful way to get youth into ministry in their local churches. Sister Adela, for the past 7 years, has gotten grant money to help Hispanic youth from the Melrose area, get funds so they can attend this program at St. John’s.

Several of us attended the One Voice Mixed Chorus Concert at First United Church yesterday afternoon. I heard that they are the Number One chorus in MN. I can understand why. They are really good! There were about 70 of them singing and then for a couple songs about 15 singers from the community joined the chorus. At the State Fair they have every manageable kind of food on a stick. Well, the One Voice Mixed Chorus had “Music on a Stick” for the sing-along songs.

May the Lord give you energy and strength and lots of good friends to help for all of you cleaning up after the weekend’s storms.

Have a good week.

Peace and blessings,
Sr. Mary Lou

PS: Did you happen to watch Nik Wallenda walk successfully across the Grand Canyon on a two inch cable last night? He prayed and so did we. It was a long 22 minutes ... and a long way down, if he'd fallen.


Life is worth our attention

June 17, 2013

Over the weekend I was reading from Jim Gilbert’s book, Minnesota Nature Notes. A quote from Carl Linnaeus, Swedish biologist who taught in the 1700s, wrote, “Also the smallest things deserve our attention.” And, “Every form of life created by God is worth our attention.” (p 153) As I rode my battery-operated cart around campus on Saturday, I remembered this quote. We have so much beauty around here. Here are some pictures to show you what I mean.

Early Saturday morning (1:45 a.m.), Sister Baptista Schik, age 83, went to heaven. Her health has been declining for some time. May she be enjoying life with the Lord. May her sister, Sister Sylvia, experience comfort and strength. Peace and blessings on the Schik family. Sr. Baptista’s funeral is Wednesday at 11 a.m.

The Bloodmobile will be here this week: Tuesday and Wednesday 1—7 p.m.; Thursday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call Sr. Julien at 632-0663 to make appointments. There are plenty of openings on Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday is pretty scheduled until about 5:15. God bless all the generous donors.

Last Saturday was the funeral for Sister Mary Wentland. MANY relatives and friends were here to remember this remarkable woman. Sr. Elise was the homilist and summarized her life very well—remembering her patience and good attitude during her 9-year battle with cancer. One prayer was:

What Cancer Cannot Do
Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot eat away peace,
It cannot destroy confidence,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot shut out memories,
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot reduce eternal life,
It cannot quench the Spirit,
It cannot lessen the Power of the Resurrection.

Today is Kids Day. Some employees are bringing their children to work with them today. The six children have a busy day planned: a nature walk, decorating flower pots, sand art, to Mass with the Sisters, “Kids type foods” for lunch, Bingo, etc.

We are recognizing the Transportation Department on Thursday morning. Sr. Phyllis does such a fine job getting sisters to their appointments, etc. Thank you for all your work.

Friday afternoon some of the Youth in Theology and Ministry (YTM) participants will tell us about their projects this past year. These young people attend two weeks of theology classes at St. John’s one summer, do a project and then two more weeks of theology classes the second year. I am eager to hear about the projects this year. They do wonderful things.

A second duck, that we named Agnes, is sitting on eggs in the courtyard. She has her nest right next to the wall. Elsie set up a camera in Allen’s office so we can see her movements on the computer. It’s hard to see her because of all the foliage all around her, but we are keeping an eye on her. We think she is sitting on 10 eggs.

This weekend Little Falls celebrated the Dam Festival. The weather was perfect. There were LOTS of people in attendance and MANY activities for Kids. Most things happened right at Maple Island Park. On Sunday afternoon the Bald Eagle Water Ski Team put on two shows. Saturday evening four students, ages 12 and 13, from St. Francis Music Center were part of the evening program. This group named Power Plant was fantastic. There was a petting zoo. Pictured are Sisters Donna and Sharon enjoying the llamas. Adela and I enjoyed the fireworks show. We parked the car near the Initiative Foundation building and could enjoy the show mosquito-free.

One more big puzzle was finished last week.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


A busy (and wet) beginning of Summer

Last evening we went to the Wake for Alois Wiechman, Sister Janice’s father, in Melrose.  The Franciscan Sisters were well represented for the prayer service.  May Alois be enjoying his new Life with the Lord in his new home.  Peace and blessings to Sister Janice and the members of her family.

Last Friday evening Sister Mary Wentland went to heaven.  I will always remember her positive attitude as she struggled with her cancer and the many chemo sessions over the past nine years.  The Wake for her is Friday at 7 p.m.  Her funeral is Saturday, June 15, 2013.  May she be enjoying her new Life with the Lord in her new home.

Leo Furnstahl, brother of Sisters Therese and Ann died last Friday. His funeral is in Pine River on Friday.  May the Lord be with them and give them the strength they need these days.  May he be with the Lord and have joy in his new home in heaven.

My heart sank lower and lower last evening as we traveled to Melrose and saw all the farm fields under water or with big puddles in them.  I hope the seeds don’t rot before they take root.  My prayer is that God give us favorable weather for a good growing season…starting now.

Saturday night we had a group, Have Fun Biking, stay overnight in the gym at St. Francis Center.  They bike for fun…no fund-raising involved.  They decided that it  would be best to stay inside, rather than  outside, because of rain in the forecast...and it did rain! The group of 14, was considerably smaller than usual because of all the rain we had recently.  They were enjoying the scenery from Park Rapids to Big Lake, MN.  For more information see:  HaveFunBiking.com or Russ@HaveFunBiking.com.

The Bloodmobile will be here next week, June 18 and 19 (1 to 8 p.m. and Friday the 19th (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.)  There is always much need for blood.  Set the time apart to donate.  Call for an appointment, 632-2981 and ask for Sr. Julien.

St. Francis Music Center is still taking registrations for music lessons.  Classes begin today, but students can still register.  St. Francis Music Center is a Community School for the arts.  There are lessons for piano, organ, guitar, bass guitar, banjo, percussion, voice, viola, cello and bass.  There are also classes in gymnastics for ages 3 and older.  The U Rock summer camp for Middle and High School students begin July 26th.  These bands  will play at the Green Fair Folk Festival on August 7th. For more information call 320-632-0637.

Last week Second Floor Clare Residence had an open house to show off the new things there.  One thing to see was the newly remodeled open lounge area near the Nurse’s Station.  The wall features a beautiful painting of an eagle by deceased Sister Cordy Bloch.  Also, new were the lovely shadow boxes at each room door, also in honor of Sr. Cordy and put together by her sister, Sr. Loretta.

The Chamber of Commerce sponsors “Business After Hour” several times a year.  Last week one of the businesses featured Gold Cross Ambulance.  They had on display a new ambulance which is an emergency room on wheels.  WOW all the things the EMTs can do in there is amazing!  And beside the new ambulance was a restored version of an ambulance of yesteryear.  Amazing to see, too.

I stopped at Pine Grove Park last week, too. I was too late to see the height of the trilliums in bloom.  I found only a couple flowers that still looked beautiful. I stopped at the dam, too.  There is a lot of water going over the spillway and through the open gates.

Some of us drivers will be taking Drivers road tests later this week. On Thursday Erin Bonito will be doing an in-service for the Nursing Staff during the day and in the evening a presentation for the Sisters.  Her topic has to do with memory loss and respectful care for those who have memory loss.

Girls Camp is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.  We are expecting 29 girls.  No matter the weather, they will have a good time.  But, we would like a couple sunny days so they can sleep in their tents in Assisi Park.  The BIG tent was set up on Monday.

This weekend, (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) the City of Little Falls will have their 10th Dam Festival activities.  Most things happen in Maple Island Park.  There are activities for everyone.  I always like the Fireworks on Saturday at 10 p.m.  Come and enjoy.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all Fathers living and deceased.  May God bless and continue to care for them.

Peace and blessings,                                                                                                                                                    Sister Mary Lou


Where do you see God?

We start the day with warm sunshine, even though the temperatures are a little chilly. I will not complain. There are lots of folks working in their Community Garden Plot. Yesterday I counted 14 cars parked on the edges. It’s great to see the little plants growing.

Friday (7th), is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is always a special day for us. Many of our Sisters have special devotion to the Sacred Heart … and also our Chapel is Sacred Heart Chapel. May Jesus bless you and us in special ways every day. And may we remember to thank God for these blessings!

Sister Ruth just made an announcement on the radio program, Party Line, program that she still has tomato and pepper plants for sale ... half price this week.

Sunday, June 9th, is the 25th Anniversary celebration of Clare’s Well. “Clare’s Well is a Women’s Spirituality Farm near Annandale, MN. It offers a safe, reverent space for reflecting and exploring. It is a place of hospitality and a loving respect for all of creation. All are welcome in this place.” (Clare’s Well brochure) One attraction is the two frisky little goats. For more information see their website: http://www.Clareswell.org.

A note on my calendar reminded me to check the website:  http://flclittlefalls.org. When at First Lutheran Church several months ago, I heard Pastor Dave talk about his upcoming 3,900 mile bike trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans—Norfolk, VA to San Francisco, CA. He started the trip May 19th and plans to finish on July 10th. During this Sabbatical, reflective time, he will be praying for his congregation and reflecting on the questions: “Where do you see God? Where, now, do you experience God?” Let us pray for his safety. He will go through VA, KY, IL, MO, KS, CO, UT, NV, and CA. A couple years ago he biked along side the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Little Falls. Lots of time for prayer and reflection! God bless him.

Over the weekend, I attended the Secular Franciscan Regional Gathering at Kings Retreat Center in Buffalo, MN. There were about 60+ of us there. Saturday evening we had a prayer service to remember all those who have died since last June. We had 11 Sisters on our list of Little Falls Franciscan Sisters. The School Sisters of St. Francis from Milwaukee, Wisconsin had 29 on their list. Before each group read the names on their list they lighted one votive candle.

Work continues to be done on beautifying the Peace Garden. Here are a couple of pictures. I also noted the new growth on the pine trees.

The lilacs continue to delight us. Sr. Joel has beautiful bouquets in Chapel.

The Bloodmobile is coming June 18, 19, and 20th. Mark your calendars.

Peace and blessings (Pax et Bonum)
Sister Mary Lou