The things you didn't know you didn't know

We need gentle rain without severe storms. The plants around here need a good drink. This morning I was reading from Jim Gilbert’s Minnesota Nature Notes book that one inch of rain over one acre of land would mean 27,143 gallons of water and would weigh 226,512 pounds. (You always wanted to know that didn’t you?) Most of our rain in Minnesota comes from the Gulf of Mexico.

Another thing you always wanted to know is that July 31st is the birthday of Shredded Wheat (1893).

On Tuesday we honored the Health and Recreation Center. The swimming pool at the Center opened as part of St. Francis High School in 1931. In 1979, it opened as the Health as the Recreation Center. There are 1,000 members to the Health and Rec Center of which 97 of them are employees who are members. The Department offers a pool with hot tub, racquetball court, gym, weight room and exercise room and is open seven days a week. Another very popular program is Silver Sneakers. There are 27 staff members.

Wednesday we had the funeral for Sister Ruth Nistler. Her two sisters were not able to attend…but many nieces and nephews and friends were here. We celebrated her life in a great way. At the Wake on Tuesday evening her niece, Elaine, told a great story. Several years ago, Sr. Ruth had asked Elaine if she would do a reading at her Funeral Mass. Elaine told Sr. Ruth that she would be happy to do that…but don’t do it too soon. Some time later, Sr. Ruth said that she now knew when her funeral would be. This announcement kind of shocked Elaine. Then Sr. Ruth said, “It will be the day after my Wake.”

Yesterday we had a glorious celebration of our three Golden Jubilarians. Sisters Grace, Shirley and Pat had many family members, friends and Sisters to celebrate with them. I liked very much the quote from Kahill Gibran that was on the cover of their program and at the tables: “I wake at dawn with a winged heart, and give thanks for another day of loving.” The weather was very nice. After lunch the children went out to the tree on the west lawn and broke a big piñata. Again, I say “Thank You” to these Sisters for their years of dedicated service as Franciscan Sisters.

Saturday, August 3rd, is the day of the Paint-A-Thon here in Little Falls. About 200 volunteers will paint 8 homes of elderly and handicapped home owners in Little Falls. This year is the 20th anniversary. To celebrate, we had a picnic at Lions Park last Thursday for Share-a-Meal participants, painters and home-owners. It was a beautiful evening. With a shower at 2 p.m., I would never have dreamed that it would be so nice at 5 p.m.

The Breckenridge Nurses Reunion on Thursday was a very happy event…lots of talking and visiting and laughing. Next year will be the 50th year since the closing of the Nursing School at Breckenridge, MN.

Very early Tuesday morning (1 a.m.), Sisters Isa and Aurora will begin their journey back to Mexico. They have been here in Minnesota for the past month. Their college classes begin August 5th. It has been very good to have them here these days.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


We are not years old, rather, years young!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.  We’ve had many blessings the past week.

One blessing that came as a shock to all of us was the sudden and unexpected death of Sr. Ruth Nistler, age 81. Friday afternoon she left Little Falls for Rice Lake for a mini-vacation/family reunion.  She was so excited about this trip.  Saturday afternoon she was sitting and watching the families playing water golf.  She stood up and collapsed.  EMT and fire department people were present.  They did CPR, called 911 and took her by ambulance to the Grand Rapids, MN hospital.  The first report was that her heart was very weak … and at about 4 p.m. she died.  Eternal rest give to her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.  May she rest in peace.  Sister Ruth’s funeral is at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24.

Friday evening was the 20th Morrison County Relay for Life at the High School track.  The evening was beautiful, except for a brief shower (with lots of lightening) that sent everyone inside for about an hour.  The inspiring speaker at the Opening Ceremony was Bunny Tabatt—someone who knows a lot about cancer.  As a young woman, she lost her eyesight because of cancer, her fiancée died of cancer, as did 4 of her leader dogs. Yet Bunny is always optimistic and smiles easily.  The Relay took in about $107,000!  That’s a lot of money!!!   There were 216 walkers on 19 teams.  My hero is 93-year-young, Keith Manbeck, who had knee surgery two months ago and walked the Survivor’s Lap!  God bless all those who raise money for cancer research and help those who have cancer.

Friday morning I attended the Chamber of Commerce Friday Morning Coffee event at Paradox Chiropractic.  It was a most interesting program.  Doctor D is licensed to do chiropractic work on people and on animals. The “on animals” part was  totally new to me.  She goes to the patient.  She told stories of how horses and dogs, etc. have been helped and relieved of their  pain.  It was a most interesting program.

Yesterday noon was the potluck family picnic at St. Camillus Place.  Three of us Sisters are on the Advisory Board.   St. Camillus Place is a 14-bed home for physically and mentally challenged adults.   It was a beautiful day for a picnic.  LOTS of family members were in attendance.  All the residents had visitors for the get-together.

Besides the funeral on Wednesday, the other big event of the week is the Breckenridge Nurses Reunion.  About 60 nurses will be here for Mass, lunch and lots of visiting.  It is always a fun time when  they are around.

Next Sunday, July 28 we will celebrate the 50th Jubilee of Sisters Grace, Shirley and Pat.  Thank you, Sisters, for all the service you have done for so many.  All three of them served in the Foreign Missions at some time.

Another big puzzle was finished last week. The over 1,000 piece puzzle of Mother Polar Bear and her two cubs has pictures of 32 arctic animals in it.  

A trivia note:  Bugs Bunny’s is 73 years young on Saturday, July 27.
May God bless and continue to care for you this week.

Peace and blessings,                                                                                                 
Sister Mary Lou


Saints, Silence and Strawberries

July 15, 2013

Feast of St. Bonaventure, a great Franciscan Friar, a teacher of theology and philosophy, Minister General of the Order, and a writer who shared his great learning.

We received less than 3/10s of an inch of rain the last couple days. Some places got 2 to 8 inches. We are praying for gentle rains without severe storms.

Yesterday Father Ken Brenny celebrated his 50th Ordination anniversary with a special Mass and reception at Pierz. I was happy that so many came to celebrate with him. I first met him when he was Pastor at St. Elizabeth and Chaplain at the State Hospital in Fergus Falls.

The retreat, with Sister Ramona Miller, OSF as director, is in it’s 4th day. The house is pretty quiet these days since many Sisters prefer a silent retreat.

Last Friday morning 6 Sisters went to Nelson Shine Produce Farm and picked over 400 pounds of strawberries in less than 2 ½ hours. In the afternoon many Sisters helped clean these delicious fruits and we have been having them at most meals since then. What a delicious treat. Thank you, Sisters, for your hard work. All of us are grateful.

This coming Friday night and into Saturday morning we have the Relay for Life event at Flyer Field at the High School. This is the 20th year anniversary of the event here in Little Falls. Somewhere I read that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life. I plan on attending the 7 p.m. opening ceremony and also the 10 p.m. luminary ceremony.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Our Campus: People keep it beautiful

July 10, 2013

I hope you had a safe 4th of July. I spent the day with my family and at the West Union, MN 4th of July Parade. This parade was started about 27 years ago by the 4-H group. It is a great parade for a little, rural town. Here are few pictures so show you what I mean.

Today is Sister Fabian Schneider’s 98th Birthday. Happy Birthday to you, Sister. Thank you for all the good you’ve done these many years. She still works two mornings a week at the Convent Switchboard.

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Benedict. We wish all the Benedictine Sisters, Priests and Brothers a Happy Feast Day. Special wishes to Father Michael who comes to preside at Mass here at the Motherhouse three times a week…and he will be celebrating Eucharist with us tomorrow.

A second duck, Agnes, made her nest in the courtyard. The eggs hatched on the 4th of July and were ushered out of the courtyard early on July 5th. Mother Agnes and her brood of 9 ducklings headed straight for the Mississippi River as soon as they were through the hallway doors.

Sunday afternoon I went for a little tour of the campus to see what I could see and take a few pictures for this blog. The apple trees have lots of little green apples. A few sunflowers have nice blooms. The Community Gardens are flourishing. The Japanese Lilac bushes are in full bloom. We have a beautiful campus. Lots of people help keep it beautiful.

A retreat with Sister Ramona Miller, OSF as presenter, starts Friday evening. Many Sisters will be making the retreat…and so for the next week it will be pretty quiet around campus.

Peace and Blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Foot tapping, clapping and singing along

July 1, 2013

Depending on how one looks at it, the year is half over or there is still half a year ahead of us in 2013. I am grateful that we have a forecast of a week of good weather ahead of us. Pictured is one of the rose bushes outside the front door of Mary Hall. Really full of flowers. Thank you, Steve, for your loving TLC that help these bushes do so well.

South Dakota was the state honed at our Dining Adventure last week. Some of the foods served were: Black Hills Golden Scrambled Eggs, Yankton apple Kutchen, Prairie Dogs, Sunflower Seed Cakes, Bison Tater Tot Hot Dish (yes, with bison meat), Mitchell Corn on the cob, Prairie Berry Pie and Rushmore Biscuits. These Dining Adventure meals are always fun. On the railing leading into the dining room were pictures of “other products of South Dakota” the Sisters who came from that state!

On Tuesday a bus of parishioners from St. Bridget’s Parish of NE Minneapolis came for a tour of our place. The came just before Mass, had lunch in our dining Room and the had tours. I’d say they had a good time. Their pastor, Father Anthony, was the presider at our 11 a.m. Mass that day.

Friday and Saturday we hosted 85 members of the Total Ministry Summit—a gathering of Ministry Teams, ordained and non-ordained, of the Episcopalian Church of Minnesota. They have been coming the past 8 years and like meeting here at St. Francis because we are about in the center of the State and have good facilities for them to meet in. “Episcopalians: Accept the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, Accept the Bible as the word of god, Believe in Christ’s real presence in Communion; some explain it as only spiritiual, others are close to Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation, and insist on apostolic succession, that is bishops must be ordained in an unbroken line back to the apostles. “ (From HONORING OUR NEIGHBOR’S FAITH copyright 1999, Augsburg Fortress.)

Sisters Aurora and Isabelle came from Mexico to be with us this month. They renewed their Vows for another three years. They will be working in various places on campus this month. When they leave they will have just a couple days before their college classes begin again. Tonight Sr. Isa showed us pictures of her parents’ home and farm in Mexico and of our houses in Mexico.

One afternoon a musical group came to play for the Sisters on second and third floor. Everyone enjoys the time with them…foot tapping, clapping and singing along.

Sunday I was in Duluth all day for a Secular Franciscan Gathering. It was a long, but very good day. I am grateful that I had help with the driving.

Happy 4th of July. Remember why we celebrate this day. Be safe.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou