It's the little things that make life beautiful!

The extreme heat and humidity is the big topic of conversation. All this week the temperatures are predicted to be 88+ degrees. It is especially important to keep hydrated. Yesterday I was at the golf course for a few afternoon hours. The six local Catholic Parishes sponsored a fund-raiser golf tournament for the benefit of the Little Falls Catholic Schools. I sat at Hole 6. No one got a hole-in-one. But in the shade of the big trees, with the nice breeze and my bottle of ice water, I was very comfortable. It was a good afternoon.

Welcome to the last full week of August. Where did the month go? Next week is Labor Day. Next week the new school year starts. After all my years in elementary education, I still think in terms of September to May. God bless the teachers, the administrators, and especially the students as the new school year begins. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Speaking of school, the Values Committee at the Convent sponsored a school supplies collection for those who need assistance in getting needed school supplies. We had a couple big boxes of items collected. Thank you for your generosity.

Last week’s one-day Red Cross Blood drive was another successful event. Our goal was 121 and that is what we got. Again, thank you for your generous donations.

Wednesday afternoon we will honor the Clothes Review Department. Sr. Blase and all her volunteers do a great job in providing good, clean, gently used clothes to lots of people. It is a great ministry. I worked there several years and count is a blessing.

Last Thursday evening the Sisters and employees served the Thursday evening free meal for Oasis Share-A-Meal at First Lutheran Church. Everyone liked the chicken hot dish prepared in our convent kitchen. All the left-overs were sent home with the guests so they had another meal the next day.

Last Friday evening I was in Roseville to be nearer my Saturday morning meeting in Apple Valley. Anyways, Friday evening we went to an outdoor play in Theatre Worth Park. It was a great play with strings music, good actors and lots of fun.

The Nursing Leadership Symposium folks will be meeting here Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. They like our facilities and the services we give them. We are expecting 25 or 26 participants.

Next Monday is Labor Day. And the following weekend is the big Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair. There will be about 600 vendors—130 of whom are new vendors this year. Block C # 87 to 89 is a new food vendor that will feature locally grown, healthier food choices—no deep fried items. The Market Place vendors group, on the west side of the Mississippi River, is a popular spot and are found on the Chamber Road and on Broadway.

Keep cool, keep hydrated and be safe, 
Peace and blessings, 
Sister Mary Lou


Let us continue to celebrate life!

I still have “Jubilee” in my brain. Jubilee was and continues to be such a good experience and is on the top of my mind…and will be until all the Thank You letters are written. I thank each person who contributed in any way to my 60th Jubilee celebration. Last Sunday I celebrated with my home parish of St. Alexius, in West Union, MN. One very nice surprise was that Fr. Richard Gans, a Trappist Monk from Chile, was on home-visit and was the celebrant of the Mass. I've not seen him in such a very long time.

Now back to Life at the Convent. Yesterday we had a one-day blood drive. There is much need for blood these summer days. Thank you to all who came.

The mother/mother-in-law of two of our employees, Muriel Miller, was buried yesterday, August 21st. Quite a few of the Environmental Services staff attended. It is a good way to show support to the family.

Today, August 22nd, the Sisters and Staff will be providing the Oasis Share-a-Meal supper at First Lutheran Church. This is a free meal every Thursday evening for everyone who comes. Different groups furnish the meal all year long. Usually we serve about 70 persons. Last time I was there, a few weeks ago, I noticed how many children and older adults were present. I am thankful to First Lutheran Church for providing the space for this charitable work of mercy.

Let us pray for gentle rains to water our thirsty earth.

God bless you,
Sister Mary Lou


The gift of Jubilee is a time to reflect and remember

A Jubilee Reflection 

The gift of Jubilee is a time to reflect and remember what has been, what is and what is yet to come.

Last week I was reading a book authored by Pope Francis.

He says: We need to remember our beginnings…
-Our beginning in God
-Our beginning of our Christian Life
-Our beginning of our Vocation and
-Our beginning of our Ministry.

It is with gratitude that I think of my beginning in God which came about because of the love of my parents, Emma and Louie, for each other. It was their care and love that nurtured me and my siblings in our growing up years…showing by example how to love and care for one another and for God’s creation. I am grateful for my family that was and is mine. I ask blessings on all who have cared for me in my formative years…my parents, grandparents, family members, pastors, teachers, etc.

I think of the Beginning of my Christian Life. Because of Baptism, and through the other Sacraments, I/we are members of God’s Family…the gift of Faith and the ability to Hope for the blessings of God in this life and in the next! WHAT A BLESSING! It is God’s free gift to us given because of God’s great love for me/us…not earned or merited, but freely given. God has sustained me in my weakness, trials, fears and challenges. For this I am grateful.

I think of the gift of my Vocation. I am grateful for my call to be a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls. If I had to do it over, I’d still and always be a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls. This Way of Life after the Way of St. Francis and St. Clare, has been and is so good for me. To have the support of all the Sisters who have been my companions these many years has indeed been a blessing. These have been years of giving and receiving the graces given by a God who loves each of us greatly.

The Gift of Ministering as a teacher and principal in the Catholic Elementary Schools had so many blessings in the students, teachers and parents that were and continue to be part of my life. Yes, there were challenges and tough spots, but we've weathered the storms and became better people because of it. The ten years of going with 6th Graders and their parents to the Environmental Learning Center at Isabella, MN stand out in my memory as wonderful times. These were weeks of outdoor and environmental education in the North Woods of Minnesota, north of Duluth.

Through the years, I have become so much more aware of the beauty of creation, the beauty of the earth—its farm lands, the mountains, the lakes, the rivers, the forests, the animals and birds. It is so easy to take all this for granted. Now I say, “Thank You” to God in letting me see and hear and be part of this wonderful world.

All is Gift..Jubilee is such a gift of affirmation and love. I am grateful for what has been. I look back on the past with joy. I celebrate the present with laughter and love. I anticipate the future with a heart full of hope.

May the Lord enrich your life with every good thing and may Jesus’ love renew and strengthen you.

Thank You for being part of my Jubilee.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou

“It’s a Blessing to Celebrate the Good Things
God is Doing in Your Life.”


Earthly Beauty and Inner Grace

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. This is a beautiful day. After a nice 1/3rd inch of gentle rain last night, today is sunny and bright and will very nice for the GREEN FAIR FOLK FESTIVAL this evening from 4 to 8 p.m. I am looking forward to one of my jobs which will be to give tours of the St. Francis campus on a horse drawn wagon with a roof on it. Jeff and Sue Burg of Horse Power Acres in Holdingford are bringing their team and wagon to be part of the Green Fair. There will be music throughout the event: Sestri Singers, a fiddle contest, the Rick Family performing Gospel and bluegrass music and four or five URock bands. There will be about 50 vendors. It will be a great event. We are grateful to God for giving us such a wonderful day.


On July 31st we had a short Memorial Service Sue Roelandt, a volunteer who in her final years gave service to our aging community members at the Motherhouse. Sue died last winter because of cancer. About 50 friends and neighbors came for the service and goodies afterwards. At the service, Sue’s family gave us a lovely little bench that was in Sue’s garden and now is near Sr. Deb’s Garden. Both of these women left a heritage worth celebrating—of both earthly beauty and inner grace.

Yesterday we had the Franciscan Sisters State Fair. Sisters and employees shared their fair related items. The long tables showed-off vegetables, fruits, crafts, flowers, sewing and stitchery items and hobbies. Corn Dogs and ice cream bars were part of the menu for the noon lunch.

Last Saturday was Paint-A-Thon Day in Little Falls. Eight or nine homes were painted by about a 200 volunteers. The weather was great for painting—low humidity, cool temperatures and a little wind to keep the bugs away. We took caramel and cinnamon rolls, made by our convent bakers, to the paint sites. By the times the goodies arrived the painters, who had been working a couple hours were ready for a snack. Thank you, volunteers.
Last weekend was the Eltgroth Family Camp-Out which this year was held at Lindbergh State Park, right here in Little Falls. It was a great weekend. Saturday afternoon a big group of Eltgroths came to St. Francis Center for swimming. After a couple hours in the water we had many tired but very happy swimmers. They were very hungry for the pot-luck meal that followed at 6 p.m. Pictured are my brothers and sisters…and some swimmers.


The big event for me this coming weekend is the celebration of my 60th Jubilee. Saturday is the celebration with the Sisters and Sunday with family and friends. I am getting excited. I praise and thank God for the gift of family & friends, the gift of my vocation to the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, for the nearly fifty years of ministry in the Catholic Schools of the Dioceses of St. Cloud and St. Paul, for the Sisters, Priests, students and parents I’ve had the privilege to work with these many years. May God bless and continue to care for all of them.

God bless you,
Sister Mary Lou.