Many lives have been touched by each of you

September 29, 2014: Feast of the Angels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Saturday night the place to be was at the Barn Dance at the Frank and Peggy Imholte Ranch (8158 county Road 138 St. Cloud). From 5 to 9:30 p.m. lots of folks enjoyed an evening of prayer, food, music and fun. Four different groups provided music for dancing feet. This was a fundraiser for the St. Cloud Diocesan Partnership with Maracay, Venezuela and Homa Bay, Kenya. Some of our Sisters worked in these places.

Yesterday we celebrated and honored our DONORS. It was a beautiful day so travelers could enjoy “AHHH” sights along their journey. The Mass was joy-filled, the meal was delicious and the program was informational. The speakers talked about the many ways the Franciscan Sisters work with children and youth, via music, mentoring and supporting them. Some of us work directly with children in the local schools. Some support the Franciscan Community Volunteers (FCV) and we all support the Music Center especially in the 300+ students who come for music and band lessons and the URock Against Violence Program. We have a 3-year grant to help support this last mentioned program. (Music is a better way to channel energies than through bullying and violence.)

The other evening I was called to come take a picture of a group of former Missionaries. In 1974, Sr. Donna Zetah first saw the Church of San Pedro in Zepita, Peru. She also saw a lady catechizing a group of local children. This young Aymaran woman, Genoveva, worked with Sister Donna and Maryknoll Sister Peg Hennessey and Maria Zeballos to train local Health Promoters. Later Genoveva became a Sister of St. Joseph. Sister Genoveva is now on the leadership Team of the Peruvian Province of the Sisters of St. Joseph. While she was in St. Paul for their Provincial meetings, Sr. Genoveva came to Little Falls to renew old friendships, after 40 years.

Saturday afternoon we celebrated Sister Vianney’s 90th birthday. She wanted pecan pie and apple pie as her treat. Both were home-made and delicious. There were lots of butterfly balloons in the dining room. Thank you, Sister, for all the good you’ve done these many years and for the many lives you’ve touched through your health ministry work.

On Friday several of us drove around the countryside to look at beautiful tree leaves. God is GREAT to make such feasts for the eyes in all the beauty we saw. And some of that beauty is right outside our very own front door at Mary Hall. Lots of years ago, Steve Januschka planted two trees from his farm here on campus…and look at this one now!

Tomorrow we will have a retirement party for Steve, age 91, who has been working here 25 years to keep the cemetery grounds and flower beds beautiful. Thank you, Steve, for your example of prayerfulness and loving care for God’s Creation here on the Campus of the Franciscan Sisters. Come back any time to visit.

Saturday is the Feast of St. Francis, our Patron. We will have special Morning and Evening Prayers. Crosier Father Kermit Holl will be presider at the 11 a.m. Mass. It will be a day of thankfulness and praise to a Saint who means so much to us. May St. Francis bless and care for you, too.

Sunday at noon will be the Blessing of Animals at Washington Park here in Little Falls. Thank you, God, for creating such a variety of animals to serve us and be our friends.

Blessings on you this week.

Peace and prayers,
Sister Mary Lou.


Pray it with me

Have a wonderful day on the last day of summer—until 9:29 tonight. There are beautiful red and yellow trees and bright patches of sumac along the road sides. I saw them Saturday when I drove to Brainerd for our monthly Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) meeting.

Then we saw beautiful scenery again on Sunday when we traveled to Morris for the 100th Anniversary of St. Mary’s School. Many of our Sisters taught there since 1942 when the Franciscans started teaching there. Mercy Sisters were the first teachers, then Benedictine Sisters and Josephite Sisters and then the Franciscans until 2003. The end of June the school roof collapsed because of MUCH water (because of a plugged drain pipe on the roof) and did severe damage to every classroom. Service Master did a fantastic job by working 24/7 in repairing the building and having it ready to start school on September 8th. New floors with new carpeting, new ceilings, new lighting, new cupboards, new paint, the latest technology, all make for a beautiful school. Five of us former teachers went for yesterday’s celebration. I worked at St. Mary’s School 13 years both as teacher and principal.

This picture was painted by Sister Mary Zirbes. It is titles Spring Flood 2014 of the Sauk River.

You’ve probably heard of Nuns on the Bus. This group of Sisters is at St. Bens tonight and going to Duluth tomorrow. Their message is, “We the People, We the Voters!” Mid-term elections are just around the corner. The message is: 1) VOTE Strong voter turnout overpowers the influence of big money in politics. Dollars can’t vote, you can. 2) ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO VOTE When we encourage people to vote, we make sure that the voices of the 100% are heard. Urge and help others to vote. 3) HOLD CANDIDATES ESPONSIBLE When we demand that candidates commit to policies that benefit the 100%,we can hold them accountable when they are elected. When the people vote, politicians listen. For more information see: www.nunsonthebus.org

Several Sisters and others were very busy picking grapes. The harvest was abundant. Soon we will be having fresh grape jelly. Thank you, Pickers and cleaners for your hard work.

This coming Sunday, September 28th, we celebrate Donor Day. We honor some of the many who support our ministries with an 11 a.m. Mass for their intentions followed by a delicious meal. We thank all who support us by their prayers, thoughts and financially. God bless you “in big bunches” as Sister Moe says.

A prayer I found: “God, please help all the unemployed, the hungry, the homeless, all who suffer from fears or hopelessness, those in war-torn countries, especially the children, all who suffer some kind of disease or illness and those grieving the loss of loved ones.” It covers a lot of needs. Please pray it with me.

God bless you. Peace.
Sister Mary Lou


Change in the seasons

Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis: St. Francis had a burning love for the Crucified Lord Jesus and never ceased to preach this devotion. In 1224, two years before his death, when he was lost in deep contemplation on Mount La Verna, the marks of Christ’s Passion were imprinted on his hands, feet and side.

We are past the middle of the month. We’ve had some frost to let us know that there will be a change in the seasons. Is this Indian Summer now? We’ve had a few very wonderful days! Gardens are being cleaned up and wonderful produce is being brought in to storage. Yesterday our friend, Larry Anderson, brought us a pick-up full of cabbage and peppers…102 pounds of peppers and 427 pounds of cabbage. May God bless you, Larry, for your generous gift. We will continue to pray for you and your family.

Monday was the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. We have a beautiful statue of the Sorrowful Mother in our Chapel. Here is a picture of it.

On Tuesday, we had a bi-lingual Liturgy. Father Tony Kroll was the celebrant and Father Deo, from Tanzania, Africa, presided with him. I must admit we are getting better each time in singing the Spanish hymns. (Fr. Deo left this morning to return to Africa after spending a month here.)

Today our Dining Adventure will feature foods from Romania. In size, Romania is just a little bigger than the state of Minnesota.

Last Saturday (13th), was the Fall Day of Reflection hosted by the Associates and Franciscan Life Office. There were 61 attendees—a few more Associates than Sisters. The title was “Fullness of Life in God: The Trinity.” Sister Rose Mae Rausch and Sister Mary Zirbes were the presenters. It was a peace-filled and prayerful day.

On Sunday, the 21st, several of us will travel west to Morris, MN, for the Centennial Celebration of St. Mary’s School. The school was badly wrecked on June27th when several feet of water on the roof broke through the roof and did immense damage to every classroom. The building has been repaired and classes started on September 8th. I am eager to see the re-furbished building. I was teacher and principal there 13 years.

The next blood drive is 1 to 7 p.m. October 28 and 29 and 8 a.m. to2 p.m. o October 30th. Save the date.

Peace and God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


A good memory!

September 8, 2014- Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Cloud, the patron of our Diocese. At Mass we had special readings and special prayers asking the intercession of St. Cloud on the Churches and People of our St. Cloud Diocese. St. Cloud, continue to bless us and pray for us.

As happens the first Thursday of every month we had our hour of Taize Prayer from 6 to 7 p.m. It is wonderful to see 25 or so pray-ers gathered for contemplative prayer.

Father Deo did an EnLUNCHment presentation last Wednesday noon for Sisters and Employees. He told about his ministry and life in Tanzania. Archives out up a display of items Sisters who have worked in Africa brought home. Note the ostrich egg being held by a stuffed-toy ostrich. Sr. Tonie said that one egg serves 7+ people.

After the mid-70 degree temperatures during the Arts and Crafts Fair there is going to be a big cool-down by mid-week when we can see temp of highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s…and storms Tuesday night on. Time to get the warmer clothing out of storage!

The Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair is now a memory…a very good memory! Most all the vendors that I talked to had a very good experience…and all were very pleased with the very nice weather. (Last Wednesday we had 4 to 5+ inches of rain in the big, damaging storms that went through our area.) As a Block Host, I spent many hours at the Fair. I always enjoy seeing the wonderful, creative items the vendors make. All the beds were used in St. Francis Center by vendors who stayed here for a couple nights. By this morning the city streets are all cleaned and you’d never know we had such a big event and thousands of visitors were here over the weekend. Here are a few pictures.

Have a good week.

Peace and God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


Wind Beneath my Wings

When I see “September,” I say to myself, “Summer is over. And school is in session.” And so it is.

This morning we had a Mass for Peace in our Chapel. Bishop Donald Kettler is having a Mass for Peace at the St. Cloud Cathedral of St. Mary today, also. The songs at Mass were all about peace and healing. With so much war and fighting and hurt in our world, it is so necessary for all of us to pray and work for peace.

At the end of Mass Yesterday, Sr. Susan lead us in a blessing for Sr. Mary Hrosikoski and Sr. Ange Mayers who will moving to our mission in Monterrey, Mexico. They will be forming community with Sisters Isabel Berrones and Sister Janice Wiechman. We wish them God’s blessings in their new home.

Our Constitutions say that when a member of the Leadership Team dies, they are to appoint a new member to the Leadership Team. Sr. Carolita Mauer died on July 13th. Sister Grace Skwira was appointed to fill out Sr. Carolita’s term of office. Today is Sr. Grace’s first day at her new job in her new office.

The mailroom is a busy place. These boxes on the cart came in today and the other pile will go out by UPS tomorrow. Once upon a time our UPS service came out of Brainerd. Then “they” switched us to the St. Cloud center. Today we are back with the Brainerd distribution center. I will need to assure Tom that it not every day we have so many boxes coming and going.

Last evening I went for a little ride around campus. Here are a couple pictures of what I saw.

The Minnesota State Fair closed yesterday after a ten-day run. We had our own fair here at the Convent. Sisters and employees shared some of their works of art. I was impressed at the beautiful items they made. Live animals were: a pony, chickens and a cat! The ice cream truck came so we enjoyed special treats, too.

This coming weekend ( Sept.6 & 7) is the 42nd Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair. Our Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair is one of the top arts and crafts fairs in the country according to Sunshine Artist magazine. There will be about 600 vendors…with 99 of these being new vendors. Please pray for favorable weather. Last year the 2nd day was pouring rain all day. The vendors went home…and the Fair was over.

We had a one-day Red Cross Blood Drive on Thursday. Wow! Our goal was 121 and we got 152 units of blood. They even had to turn away a couple walk-ins because there wasn’t time to take everyone. God bless all who came to share the gift of life.

Something happened in August that will not happen again for another 823 years. What was it? There were five Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in August. We won’t be around to witness the next time it happens!

On August 24th the parish of St Bartholomew in Maracay, Venezuela, started a Jubilee Year to celebrating its 50th anniversary. Nine of our Sisters: (Sisters Rita Barthel, Ruth Nistler, Joan Gerads, Agnes Soenneker, Jean Yoerg, Maurita Bernet, Audrey Loher, Cheryl Biever, Loretts Denfeld) served in that parish from 1967 to 1986. During Vatican Council II, in the early 1960s, our Bishop Peter Bartholome (1953-1968) met the Bishop of Venezuela who said, “I desperately need help.” It was after that that St. Cloud Diocese started sending missionaries to Maracay, Venezuela. Father James Minette and Father Mark Willengring were two of the first priests to start the new parish.

I’ve been praying for students and teachers these days. May you all have a wonderful year.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou