God bless all Veterans

God bless all Veterans, deceased and living, and their families. I went out to our cemetery and took a picture of the grave site of our Sister Cornelia Lee, a nurse veteran and member of our community who died in 1943. We also have three armed services veteran priests buried in our cemetery.

Yesterday I went to Camp Ripley for their Memorial Day Service. Hundreds of us were there for the music by the Richfield Symphony Band Concert, the Parade of Flags, the placing of the wreaths, the Armed Forces Medley (when members stand who are part of each group), the Memorial Address by Frank Presfield, State Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Helmet/Rifle/Taps Ceremony and singing “God Bless America.” God gave us a little breeze, a nice cloud cover and no rain. I got “goose bumps” a number of times during those two and a half hours.

This was the 21st year for these Memorial Day Services at the Camp. David Swantek, director of the MN State Veterans Cemetery, told us that there are over 5,100+ veterans and their spouses buried in the Cemetery. There are about 400 burials a year. The grounds are beautiful.

While there I also went to the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery to see the second of artist Charles Kapsner’s new 8-foot by 10-foot painting honoring the Navy branch of the Armed Services. Last year the Army picture was on display for the first time. Yet to come are the paintings for the Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. They are beautiful memorials. Thank you, Mr. Kapsner, for sharing your wonderful talents.

On Saturday, several of us went to Mill Park, on the west side of the Mississippi River, very near to the old paper mill. I’d never been there before. Folks were busy fishing and enjoying one of our first 80 degree days. I saw the osprey nest at the top of a pole. One thing I enjoyed was seeing all the mud swallows VERY busy building their nests on the railroad trestle. How do they know which nest is theirs in that long line of nests? On Sunday there was not one swallow to be seen. Do they keep holy the Lord’s Day, too?

Just before we went to Mill Park we stopped at Pine Grove Park to see the trillium and the Jack-in-the-pulpits. The forest floor is covered in white flowers…really beautiful!

The Sisters living in Angela Community of Clare Residence have been watching tiny worms hatch into Painted Lady butterflies. It has been fun to see this new life emerge. The butterflies will be released tomorrow to make their way in this big, wide world.

A new wall decoration appeared one of these last several days. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.” With the saying is displayed a feather butterfly and two small tatted flowers made by Sr. Jean Winter and a large tatted doily made by her sister, Sr. Francis Winter. Very pretty.

Last Thursday we had two events happening at the same time. In St Francis Hall, the St. Francis Music Center had its 2014 Spring Gymnastics Recital. These 29 little folks showed things they’ve learned to do on the balance beam, the bars, their floor rolls, handstands, cartwheels, jumps, and basic tumbling skills. Keep up the good work. You’ve learned a lot of skills already. Each student received a medal and a certificate.

Then at the same time, CEC Graduation was taking place in the gym at St. Francis Center. Nineteen young women and men took part in the ceremony here and another two graduated from their local high schools. I am so proud of these students for overcoming the difficulties they’ve had to overcome and persevere in getting their diploma. Three Former School Board Members gave a scholarship to one student. The Franciscan Sisters gave two scholarships from the Sister Judine Cassidy Scholarship Fund. Sister Judine died this past year. She had been active in Secondary Education her whole life.

This week we Sisters have All Community Meetings from Tuesday noon until Friday noon. Please keep us in prayer. Because of our meetings we will have Mass at 4:15 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Last week when in the orchard, I found only two little branches with flowers. This week there are trees full of blossoms. The bees are busy near the lilac bushes. Gardeners are busy planting and watering in the Community Gardens. The blue jay is watching everything that is happening from his treetop perch.

God bless you. Pray for us. Keep safe on the roads and on/in the water.
Sister Mary Lou

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