The Golden Days of Fall

“Fall is in the Air.” That’s what the sign on the door says. It is a reminder for us to do the things we need to do to stay healthy in fall and winter and to “Get the flu shot before the flu gets you.”

This morning I went for a ride on my battery scooter to look for signs of fall. What a wonderful 20-minute ride! Yesterday we got our load of potatoes that will last us until next year’s harvest. Sister Ruth said that we finished using last year’s load of potatoes about 3 weeks ago. So I took a picture of the truck and then went inside the locker plant and took a picture of the big pile of potatoes. Next, I saw tomatoes ripening on the long table in the locker plant. Next, I saw flats of onions drying in the cool morning breeze. The Grapes are picked. The raspberries are still producing. As I went past the cemetery, I noticed that the big crucifix is getting a new paint job. The community gardens are about finished for the year. Some plots are all cleaned up. Others need some work yet. One couple was harvesting their potatoes and brought their bucket over for me to see their nice harvest. They were proud of the nice big ones they had in the bucket…and they should be.

Monday afternoon we celebrated the 90th birthday of our groundskeeper, Steve Januschka. For our treat, we had fresh bread with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Thank you, Steve, for all you do to keep the grounds looking beautiful. You faithfully water the flowers in the drought times. ..and were back mowing lawns after the recent rains.

Last week we celebrated Sr. Kathleen’s going to heaven. Her long-time friend, Father Foley was the presider at the Mass…lots of good music and great singing by family friends and the Sisters. Sr. Kathleen did so much to help the poor and needy in whatever ways they needed it. I was amazed to read about all the works she did and all the places where she taught.

Sunday was Donor Appreciation Day. Over 175 guests came for the Mass, Mexican-American meal and the program. Several of the Sisters spoke about the services the Sisters at our Mexico Mission offer to many villages in their area around San Rafael, Nueva Leon, Mexico. And of course, there were lots of pictures to watch as part of the power point presentation.

Yesterday we have a large group of Health Care Professionals meeting here. This group, Health4Life, is a collaboration of the Cass, Morrison, Todd and Wadena County Public Health Departments who are sponsoring the workshop. There are about 30 to 40 participants.

Father Tony Kroll was presider at the “Spanish Mass” we had this morning. We honored Blessed Miguel Pro. Ordained in 1925, he ministered “underground” because of the anti-Catholic persecution going on in Mexico. He was executed without a trial for his faith on November 23, 1927.

Sunday the 29th, we have the Blessing of Animals at Washington Park here in Little Falls. Folks are invited to bring their pets for a special blessing and a treat. There are treats for the pet owners, also. We usually get lots of dogs. Cats are glad to be in their protective cages! It is always fun to see which animals will be brought.

Starting October 1st, there will be changes in the hours the Receptionist Office will be open: 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays and Holidays.

Thursday, October 3rd, at 7 p.m. we Franciscans celebrate what is known as the Transitus of St. Francis. It is a remembrance of the death of St. Francis. We recall the last words of St. Francis to some of his favorite followers…who include us.

October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis, the festive Mass is at 11 a.m. At 4:30 p.m. we have Evening Prayer.

Then that evening at 7 p.m. we have a wonderful presentation by THE ROSE ENSEMBLE. This group of about a dozen musicians is doing its 8th annual Greater Minnesota Tour. In ten days they are visiting ten different cities…and we are lucky enough to have them come to our place in Little Falls! The ROOTS OF BLUEGRASS features close vocal harmonies, banjo, guitar, and fiddle for a journey through our country’s musical heritage. It will be another great evening of entertainment. You are invited to join us.

My prayer for you: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His Face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He look upon you with kindness and give you His Peace. May the Lord bless you + the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen . (Blessing of St. Francis)

Sister Mary Lou


Transformed by grace...Transfigured for Love

Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis…This day is remembered by all Franciscans. St. Francis had a deep and burning love for the Crucified Jesus and he never ceased to preach this devotion. In 1224, two years before his death, as he was praying, lost in deep contemplation on Mount La Verna, the marks of Christ’s passion were imprinted on his body. St. Bonaventure says, “The heads of the nails were inside his hands but on the top of his feet with their points extending through to the opposite side. His right side too showed a blood-red wound as if it was been pierced by a lance, and blood flowed frequently from it.” St. Francis, pray for us.

Last Saturday morning about 8:05 a.m., our Sister Kathleen Kelly, age 94, left us for her new home in heaven. We will miss her Irish wit. One of the things she will be remembered for is starting of the Food Shelf here in Little Falls and for all her care and concern for the poor. The Franciscan Wake is tonight at 7 p.m. and the Funeral for Sr. Kathleen is Wednesday at 11 a.m. May she be enjoying her new life with the Lord.

Saturday was the retreat day for Franciscan Associates and Sisters. The speaker was Jackie Ritter. “Transformed by Grace: Transfigured for Love” was the title of her talks. They were inspiring and helped us recognize where daily grace is in my life…if I am but aware of it. Jackie has been here a few times before and is a welcomed speaker.

Last week, too, Sister Helen and her helpers picked 14 tubs of grapes from the vines on the fence by our convent gardens. That will make a lot of grape jelly and grape juice! (I’m not aware that any will be made into wine. But I don’t know the whole story.)

Processing of apples is in full swing, too.

Yesterday I went to Lindbergh School to read to First Graders for the first time this school year. They sat and listened so well. I was proud of them. The book I read was “Froggy’s First Day of School.”

A piece of new ambiance is a quilted wall hanging above the stair-well leading to ground floor, not far from the Gift Shop. This beautiful piece of art was made by Sr. Mary Obowa. Thank you, Sr. Mary, for sharing your talent with us.

The October Dining Adventure today honors the country of Venezuela. The decorations in the dining room always give a feel of the country…lots of birds, monkeys and fish. The information sheets on the tables give good history and information on the country. I re-learn a lot of history when I read these.

Sunday, September 22nd, is Donor Appreciation Day. About 175 donors will be joining us for Mass, lunch and a program. We appreciate all our donors who support our Franciscan Ministries in so many ways.

We and Mother Earth, are grateful for the total of 5 inches of rain we received on September 7th and 14th. It is amazing how the grass is greening up again. My concern is for the trees which have been stressed for at least two seasons.

Have a good week.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Simple pleasures are priceless treasures

God sent us rain yesterday and again this morning. Our rain gauge said a little over 3 ½ inches last evening. And so far this morning we've had nearly another inch. (I just talked to Lisa and she said they had 5 inches of rain yesterday.)

We are most grateful for the rain, but it surely did NOT help the Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair event on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday it was hot -- 92 degrees. IF one could find shade and a breeze, it was quite comfortable. I spent most of Saturday at the Fair. I had to come home a couple times to re-charge the batteries on my scooter. Again, I marvel at all the beautiful things Crafters make. They have and USE their talents. On Saturday, I saw most of the booths on the east side of the Mississippi River. On Sunday, most booths were closed or the vendors had packed up and gone home. Gina, from the Chamber of Commerce, said, “We are sorry about the weather. We hope your time here was worthwhile. We hope you come back next year.” Tom Epperson (vendor on Kidder Street) was a caricature sketch artist. Here is the drawing he made of me.

We had all the rooms at St. Francis Center rented out to vendors. They like staying here because it is quiet and comfortable…and they can park their vehicle in the parking lot and walk to their booth once they are set-up Friday evening.

Last week we celebrated Sr. Julien’s birthday. She is the Motherhouse Administrator and does a marvelous job taking care of so much scheduling and taking care of so many details so that things run smoothly. God bless you and thank you, Sr. Julien.

Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., we had prayers in Chapel every hour praying for no war in Syria and a peaceful resolution to the violence going on in that country. Violence does not solve anything and just leads to further violence. Please join with us in this continuing prayer for peace in all the troubled spots in our world.

Every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., a group of Sisters gather in Chapel to say a Rosary and pray for vocations to the Religious Life. Please join us in that prayer, too. You don’t need to come to Chapel to pray. You can do it from wherever you are.

Wednesday morning from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Clothes Review is having a Bag Sale…all the items you can fit in a grocery bag for sale for $3.00. It’s a good deal.

On Thursday morning we will celebrate Sr. Bea Eichten’s birthday. It’s always good to celebrate, no matter what the occasion, but especially birthdays. Happy Birthday, Sr. Bea.

God bless your comings and goings in peace and joy. 
Pax et Bonum. 
Sr. Mary Lou


It truly is a small world we live in

How can we be into September already? Summer is fading fast. School begins tomorrow. How can it be? The elementary teacher in me runs from September to May. In a couple weeks I’ll be heading over to Lindbergh School here in Little Falls to again read to First Graders in Mrs. Hanson’s room. What joy.

On this Labor Day I finished a task I've been putting off for some time. Now it is completed and I can go to sleep tonight knowing it is finished. How did you spend your Labor Day? I was reminded, too, of the many people who would like to have jobs and cannot find work. And I thought, too, about the dignity and value of work. I am grateful that I can still work and use my time profitably.

Last Wednesday I had one of those “It’s a small world” experiences. I took Sr. Donna to an eye doctor appointment in St. Cloud. After I finished my errands, I went back to the office to wait for her. She was in a back waiting room and that is where I joined her. A lady asked her if she was a Nun. Sr. Donna said, “yes” and “That is Sr. Mary Lou.” At which point one of the other ladies in the waiting room pointed at me and said, “Sister Justin.” (From my Reception Day in 1953 until 1967, I was “Sr. Justin”, then I went back to my Baptismal name, “Mary Lou”.) Anyways, Barb Loher was one of my second graders at St. Mary’s School in Morris in 1960. She also said, “I liked you as a teacher.” That was nice to hear, too. Barb now lives in Paynesville. The rest of the time in the waiting room went very fast. It is a small world! Pictured are Barb, me and Sr. Donna.

On Sunday we accepted three new Franciscan Community Volunteers into our volunteer program. These young adults, college graduates, volunteer 8 months of their time working in organizations that help the poor and needy in the St. Cloud area.

One of those 90+ degree days last week, I took a ride on my motorized cart to look at the flowers and gardens just to see what I could see. I saw lots of beauty. I was also trying out my new camera. It has many features that I don’t yet know how to use.

This coming weekend is the big Arts and Crafts Fair in Little Falls. I am Block Host for my usual two blocks—Broadway to Kidder Street and Kidder Street south. Please pray for good weather and safety for everyone. One things I like about the Arts and Crafts Fair is to see all the beautiful items the crafters make. They know how to use their talents.

Pax et Bonum (Peace and all good.)
Sister Mary Lou