From Rush to Hush

After all the activity last week, it is very nice to have a quiet week this week. There is a silent retreat going on, so the house is quiet.

Last Thursday we hosted 70 graduates of the Breckenridge, MN, School of Nursing for their reunion . So much happy chatter! It makes me happy to see folks renewing friendships and catching up on each other’s lives. The St. Francis School of Nursing started in1908 and closed in 1064…so this was the 50th anniversary of the closing of the school. There were 509 graduates from the Breckenridge School of Nursing.. There was also a School of Medical Records (1953-1964) with 49 graduates. And there was also a School of X-Ray (1954-1973) with 32 graduates. God bless the staff and all who did such wonderful work in Health Care education. Thank you.

About 50 Sisters—most of them Little Falls Franciscans—started retreat Friday evening until Thursday noon. Sister Rose Mary, Retreat Director, is a story-teller, and a very good one at that. The stories she tells are mainly from her life experiences. They get across the points of living a Franciscan life as we get older, have changes and adjustments to make in our aging years and how to do it gracefully.

Yesterday afternoon, Bob Claesgens, brother of deceased Sister Virginia Claesgens ( 1991), from California, stopped by for noon lunch and to visit with some of who were friends of Sr.Virginia. Both he and we enjoyed our time together.

The Green Fair Folk Festival is next week, August 6th, 4 to 8 p.m., on the west parking lot at St. Francis Convent. There will be about 50 vendors showing earth friendly products etc., Kids activities, a free rain barrel give-away, fresh-bread peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, horse drawn wagon rides to tour the campus, and many other activities. We invite you to come join us. Please pray for fine weather. Thanks

(The brevity of this week’s blog makes up for the length of last week’s blog.)

Peace and blessings, Take some time to watch the corn grow.
God bless you,
Sister Mary Lou


May God protect and care for you

Here we are in the last ten days of July. And the weather news today is a heat advisory. My plans are to stay inside as much as possible today. May God protect and care for those who do not have a cool place to go to in this heat and humidity…and care for those people who have to work outside. May we all be protected from the strong winds and storms that could happen at night. God, You have the power to take care of all our needs. Thank you, God, ahead of time.

Wednesday we had the Funeral for Sister Carolita Mauer. I never knew of her great love for camping. One time she and her brother, Fran, were camping near the shoreline of the Arctic Ocean in a remote area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge near the Arctic Circle. One day after lunch Sr. Carolita and Fran were reading in their tent when Sr. Carolita left out a mighty scream. A curious young grizzly bear had looked into the tent and was about three feet from where she was sitting. Then the bear walked away. I would have screamed, too. Anyway, after the prayers in the cemetery, they sang The Bear Song: “One sunny day I met a bear out in the woods away out there. He looked at me. I looked at him…” A fitting last tribute!

The first activity Friday afternoon, evening and night was to host the Habitat 500 bike riders and support team—105 bike riders from MN, NY, OH, IL and many other places and a support team of about 30 people. On Friday they biked from Pine River, MN to Little Falls (about 70 miles.) Saturday was the last- leg of their journey to St. Joseph, MN. There were some tents set up on the lawns around our buildings, but many people on their mattresses in the gym. All the bikers were happy for showers in the REC Center. We served them supper Friday evening and they had breakfast at First United Church across the street from the Convent. (They donated Gatorade and cookie/bars to the Relay for Life snacks.) If you want to donate to this Habitat for Humanity see Habitat500.com. Each biker is expected to raise $1,000 to participate in the ride—some can’t raise that amount and others raise far more than that. God bless them all. Such a worthy cause. Overnight the bikes were stored in the hallways. One fellow, looking at the bikes said, “There’s a lot of money standing there.”

Friday night, the 18th, was the 21st Morrison County Relay for Life event at the High School track. There were 21 teams and 224+ walkers honoring those who have cancer and raising money for finding a cure to cancer. I attended the survivors dinner, the opening ceremony and the 10 p.m. Luminaria Ceremony. The speakers had touching stories to tell. The last I heard the total so far is over $104,400. The Franciscan Sisters donated cookies for this event.

Yesterday we hosted a St. Francis High School Gathering (Reunion). Mass was at 11 a.m., followed by lunch and visiting the rest of the day. There were self-guided tours of the High School. Graduates are always interested to see how the building is now being used. My guess is that we had about 200+ guests. It was a great event. The third Sunday of July will be the date for future Gatherings. Ground Floor classrooms are used for CEC (Continuing Education Center) classes for the Public School System. The pool area and what was once the Day-Students’ Lounge are part of the Health and Rec. Department. First Floor is now used for Franciscan Sisters departments: Finance Office, Communications and Development Offices, Hospitality Offices and a couple meeting rooms. On Second Floor the Study Hall is now used for Gymnastics and Music Center activities, the Library is a meeting room and the Music Center uses the rest of the floor for music lessons, the Band Room is used for Dance lessons and other activities, and the Art Room is still a much-used the Art Room. On Third Floor the Dorm rooms are now Offices for the Franciscan sisters and other departments. The bed rooms are still bed rooms that are part of the Hospitality Department and used and rented out as is necessary.

Thursday we will be hosting about 75 graduates from the Breckenridge School of Nursing for their Nurses Reunion. This is another good time for renewing friendships and catching up on the events of each other’s lives. They remember some of our Elder Sisters who were their teachers at the School.

Tonight and until Thursday afternoon we will be hosting the Nursing Leadership Symposium. These 30+ people are leaders/administrators in Nursing Homes. We are always happy to have them come.

Friday evening we have a retreat starting. The title of the retreat is: Maintaining Franciscan Spirituality through the Aging Process. The retreat director is Franciscan Sister Mary Eve Halter. I will be working in the mailroom while Sr. Georgine is on retreat.

A quote I saw in the Music Center: You are STRONGER that you seem, BRAVER than you believe, and SMARTER than you think you are.

Have a great week. Stay safe. Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Enjoying Life with the Lord

Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680)--Flag Day

This is shaping up to be a pretty busy week. First though, we had 3 inches of rain Thursday evening/early Friday morning. Other areas received more and some less rain. We were in need of rain on our sandy soil around here. The lawns were starting to get brown.

Our Sister Carolita Mauer died early yesterday morning after a valient fight against her cancer. She is on our Leadership Team. The Franciscan Wake is tomorrow, Tuesday, evening at 7 p.m. and the Funeral is Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis Convent. May she now be enjoying her new Life with the Lord. Thanks for all the good you’ve done these many years, Sr. Carolita. Our sympathy to your family and friends.

Friday evening is the Survivor’s Dinner and the Relay for Life Walk at the Public High School. All week everyone is invited to wear purple as a cancer awareness reminder. There are many of us who are survivors…and grateful for the research being done to help those with cancer. Morrison County always has a big dollars total collection at this event. I’ll report back next week.

On Friday about 150 Habitat 500 Bike Riders will be stopping here at the Motherhouse campus for showers, rest and an evening meal. We welcome you. We thank you for your efforts to raise money for such a worthy cause.

Sunday we are expecting over 250+ alumnae for the St. Francis High School Annual Gathering. Registration starts at about 10 a.m. Mass is at 11 a.m. Lunch after Mass and then LOTS of visiting the rest of the day. This should be a fun event. There are over 2000 graduates from St. Francis High School. Someday I will look at the directory and do a count!

Sister Georgine has been very busy making little yarn dolls that we will sell at the Green Fair Folk Festival coming on August 6, 2014. We were gifted with LOTS of yarn and have figured out a good use for it. I roll the yarn into skeins and give it over to Sr. Georgine and she finishes up these cute little dolls.

There will be a one-day Blood Drive on August 28 and then a three-day Drive October 28, 29, and 30, 2014.

Mass on Sunday, July 20th is at 11 a.m.

Stay safe. Be well. Enjoy summer.

God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


Time flies when you’re having fun

The middle of the week…and by next week Wednesday we will be past the middle of the month. “Time flies when you’re having fun.” And that is what it is for me and so many others.

Last Friday was the 4th of July. I attended the 27th annual West Union Parade. Now that doesn’t sound like much to many of you. West Union has a population of about 100. The 25-minute parade had about 50 units—and for the first time had no marching band. (Even the Kazoo band had to be cancelled because it takes at least 8 people and until after it was cancelled there were not that many people to be part of the band.) There were the Color Guard leading the parade, then fire trucks, the old tractors and farm equipment, the humorous units, old and new fire trucks, etc. and LOTS and LOTS of candy. There were about 1,000 viewers. After the parade everyone was invited to the city park for free hotdogs and buns and watermelon.

Sunday was Adoration Sunday. There was Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until after Evening Prayer. The house was quiet with lots of prayer happening all day long.

Yesterday we had a Tour Group from St. Bridget’s Parish in the cities come for Mass, lunch and then a tour of the Motherhouse and of course the Gift Shop. After they left here they went to the west side of town to the Lindbergh site and visited the boyhood home of Charles Lindbergh and the Interpretive Center. They saw a LOT of things in five hours.

Father Michael, Kwatera, OSB is coming to say Mass for us Franciscans on the feast of St. Benedict. We are blest that he’d come to us on the Feast of St. Benedict. Thank you, Father.

The Community Gardens are doing so well. Folks are so proud of the produce growing in their individual little plots. There are 58 plots of varying sizes to meet gardeners’ needs and energy levels. These gardens are used by the people of Little Falls. All they have to do is contact Jim and Donna to arrange for a space.

Sister Ruth’s Convent Gardens are also doing very well. We are enjoying lots of fresh lettuce. Yummy!

Sunday, July 20th we will be having a St. Francis High School Gathering. All graduates of St. Francis High School are invited for Mass, lunch and an afternoon of visiting. It should be a fun day.

Let us pray for peace in so many places of our troubled world.

God bless you, Be safe. May we be spared damaging storms, hail and strong winds.
Sister Mary Lou


I'm back, loving life as ever

I’m back!

Our 3,373 trip was wonderful. My brother, Richard, his wife, Louise, my sister, Cecelia and I headed toward Notre Dame, IN, for our cousin’s 60th Jubilee Celebration as a Holy Cross Brother Our first stop on the journey was at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse WI. After the Jubilee Celebration on Saturday we toured and visited with relatives. We attended Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the University of Notre Dame University Campus. A big surprise for me was that my high school classmate, Barb, was directing the choir for the Jubilee Celebration. Sunday afternoon we continued on our way to Dearborn, MI, to visit Louise’s sister, Jane. One of the things we did there was to tour a Ford Plant and saw F150 pick-ups being built. That was something to see. One day we visited “The Village”, the museum built by Henry Ford. So much history! I loved it. I was also glad we took a wheelchair with us because there was more walking that I could have handled. All along the way we saw much water in fields, ditches and other low places. In one place we saw standing fence posts under water. God made a beautiful world and I was happy to see so much of it…but, right now there is tooooo much water standing in lots of places.

In the meanwhile Life at the Convent continued. Judi, Director of Archives, retired. Julene is now our Archivist and director of the Archives Department. She will do just fine. Having worked with Judi for a number of years she understands most of what is involved in the job.

Now that the Chapel roof has been re-shingled, the next project started today with new shingles going on our 12-car garage. Those guys tap-tap-tap so fast with their hammers. I’d not hit a nail every time if I tried hitting at such a fast speed! And now it is 1:30 p.m. and they are finished on the roof and are now busy cleaning up the mess! WOW.

Sisters have been living at the convent in Flensburg, MN for 78 years. The last group of five Sisters moved to the Motherhouse earlier this summer. So after starting as a Catechetical Mission and then a Catholic School (1953-1969) there are no Sisters living in the Parish. Last Sunday was a day to express Thanksgiving and Appreciation for the work of the Franciscan Sisters in the Parish. Sixty Sisters taught and lived in Flensburg at some time during these past 78 years. (I was not one of them.)

Two weeks ago we had an American Red Cross Blood Drive here. Our Goal was 226. We didn’t quite reach the goal, but came close with 202 donations. Thank you, donors. You truly give the gift of life.

July 13-19th is the 22nd year for the Habitat 500-Mile Bike Ride through Minnesota (St. Joseph to Osakis to Menahga to Bemidji to Pine River to Little Falls and back to St. Joseph.) They expect 135 bikers to participate. Each biker is expected to raise a minimum of $1,000. In Bemidji they will spend a day working on two Habitat Houses. While in Little Falls, they will camp out on our campus, have a spaghetti supper and use the Health and Rec showers. If it rains they will sleep in the gym. I wish them well. It is a worthy cause.

July 18th is the Relay for Life here at the High School Track…another worthy cause. Please pray for favorable weather.

Friday is the 4th of July. Let us remember to pray for our country and its leaders. We have a great country and many blessings even though there are many things that are not good and many things that need improvement, many hungry and homeless--we each can in our own way make it better for someone and work to make it a better country. We can start with prayer and then go to work!

Yesterday was “moving day” for a number of priests in our St. Cloud Diocese. Father Nick Landsberger has moved from St. Mary’s, down the street a few blocks from the Motherhouse, to retirement at Speltz House in Sauk Rapids. We invited him for dinner Monday evening. We wish him well. We will miss him.

I’m sure I could add other things that happened the past two weeks, but this is enough for now.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou