Last Friday morning’s conversation before Morning Prayer at Mary Hall, third floor: “Mary Lou, is your door closed?” “No.” “There’s a bat hanging on your door frame.” Fifteen seconds later, “Yes, my door is closed.” “Donna, there’s a bat on Mary Lou’s door.” A few seconds later, Donna armed with tennis racket, knocks down the bat and kills it. How the bats get in, we don’t know. But they are many fewer now than there used to be. (I have nothing against bats when they are outside, but I don’t like them in the building. The last one I had, I took outside to give it a second chance.)

The Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell Ringers are out there ringing the bells. I did not recognize Betz outside the Coborn’s Store on Friday. She wasn’t going to be cold this day, as she was the day before. There were many $s in the kettle. Thank you for ringing bells…and to the donors, too.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., is at the High School. The Franciscan Sisters are providing six five gallon-pails of potatoes for the meal. We will cook and mash them here in our kitchen and then bring them to the High School. The picture shows, Sr. Donna with one pail of peeled potatoes and boxes of those yet to be peeled.

Tuesday, Nov. 25th, we will have a concert in the Chapel at 7 p.m. by a Nicaraguan Troubadour. He will be playing and singing songs from his country.

On Wednesday we will have an afternoon gathering in the dining room to thank Pat Sharon for being our Librarian the past eight years. She has done a very fine job and we will miss her. (Christina Gottwalt has been hired as our new librarian.)

Last Friday evening there was a program at the Great River Arts Center. The speaker was Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train, a novel. She has spoken at two of the 50+ Orphan Train Reunions, hosted by now deceased, Sister Justina Bieganek. Christina talked about the research she did before writing this novel so the facts are correct. It was a very interesting presentation with LOTS of people in attendance.

Sr. Donna just finished putting together this lovely puzzle of a beautiful angel.

Mass in our Chapel is at 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day

Sunday, November 30th, is the First Sunday of Advent.

Sunday is also the beginning of the “Year of Consecrated Life.” More about that at a later date.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING. We have so much to be thankful for.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Winter has arrived whether the calendar says so or not.

Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary—Patroness of the Franciscan Third Order: Secular and Regular…and now you are wondering what that’s all about. St. Elizabeth (1207-1231) was married to Louis of Thuringia. They had three children. She erected a hospital, served the sick, and cared for those with leprosy. Secular Franciscans are women and men who are Franciscans who belong to the Secular Franciscan Order. Franciscans take vows and live in Community are called “Regular.”…that’s what we are…Franciscan Sisters “Regular.” St. Elizabeth, pray for us.

Winter has arrived whether the calendar says so or not. The radio announcement at 10 a.m. just said, “The Temperature is 11 degrees and feels like -4 degrees.” The wind is strong and last Monday’s 11 ½ inches of snow is moving around pretty good in open places. I think I will mostly stay inside today.

Today we had a Bi-Lingual Mass honoring the six Jesuit Priests, their housekeeper and her daughter who were murdered, early in the morning, in El Salvador 25 years ago yesterday. The priests were murdered because of their stance with the poor and their speaking out for justice and peace in El Salvador. Martyrdom continues to take place in our own time. We know the names of only a few, but the nameless cloud of witnesses invites each one of us to contemplate its possibility for our own lives.

On Tuesday, November 25th, we will have a concert in our chapel by Paul Baker Hernandez, a hermit monk turned troubadour, singing and playing Latin American music to support “Save the Water, Save the Children.” This project is to raise funds to continue grassroots health, educational and cultural programs in his working class barrio in Managua, Nicaragua.

The Orchestras and Chorales are busy practicing for their concerts coming up in early December. The St. Francis Chorale will have their Concert, “Christmas Candlelight Carols” on Sunday, December 7th at 7 p.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel. Brothers in Harmony and the St. Francis Children’s Choir will also be featured. Barb Stumpf is director. The concert will be repeated on Sunday December 14th at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Upsala, MN at 3 p.m. Free will offering accepted.

On Friday, December 12th, at 7 p.m., Sacred Heart Chapel will be the place the two Orchestras will present their Christmas Concerts, “Making Merry.” Some St. Francis Music Center faculty and also some members of the Heartland Symphony Orchestra will also perform with the Orchestras. It will be GREAT entertainment and will put you in the Christmas Spirit, if you are not already there. Free will offering accepted.

Usually I read a story to First Graders at Lindbergh School on Thursdays. Last week, after the story, we took a picture of the students and their teacher, Mary Hanson. It’s such a great group of students. I really enjoy my time with them. “Once a teacher, always a teacher.” And in my estimation, First Grade is the BEST grade. Guess I am a bit prejudice, having taught first grade for many years.

Recently St Francis Music Center received a $91,450.00 grant to bring together young people with musician mentors who want to make a difference with anti-bullying and other unproductive behavior. Rob Clemons was hired as the director of the URock Against Violence program. St. Francis Music Center is committed to serving all who wish to learn and strives to create an environment where everyone is welcome and feels valued.

The Little Falls Community Thanksgiving Dinner is November 27, 2014, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Little Falls Community High School Commons. All are invited to attend this community dinner. There is no charge. Donations are accepted.

A BIG THANK YOU to all who donated to Give to the Max Day fundraising effort. The number I saw on our bulletin board was that we received $37,924.77. God bless you, generous donors. We are praying for you.

In the Gospel reading for today, Jesus asks the question, “What do you want Me to do for you?” As I ponder that question, I can think of many things we can ask Jesus to do for us personally and for our world with wars and hunger, and homelessness, unemployment, ebola, and so many other things. Let us together ask the Lord for the help we need.

Keep warm and stay safe.
God bless you. 
Sr. Mary Lou


A taste of winter

Our first winter storm is in progress as I write. I picked this little flower outside the Convent east door yesterday afternoon. Now it would be covered by 10 or 11 inches of blowing snow. All schools in the area are closed today. May children be safe this day.

Elections were last Tuesday. Our Morrison County had a 70.99 % voter turn-out. Congratulations. Many times I heard, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about government.”

Saturday evening we had our Harvest Dinner. MANY people came for a delicious meal. The Dining Room and St. Francis Hall were filled with happy guests and then the Dining Room filled up about 2/3rds the second time. Everybody raved about the delicious vegetables. Thanks to the cooks, the volunteer servers and all who had a part in a very fine dining experience.

In the Gift shop, there is for sale a BEAUTIFUL tree skirt made by Sr. Mary Obowa. Each panel shows one of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is a work of art—as are all of her items.

Thursday is Give to the Max Day. Please consider giving a donation to the Franciscan Sisters. We will pray for you.

Be careful and take care in the snow.

Peace and blessings, 
Sister Mary Lou


Eyes brightened with beauty

Below are two pictures taken yesterday about 5 p.m. … the first day of the ending of day-light-savings-time. John Gilbert, author of Minnesota Nature Notes, says that November has some of the best sunrise and sunsets of the year. It sure started out that way!

First, The Blood Mobile report: Tuesday’s goal was 108—we got 90: Wednesday the goal was 89 and we got 93: Thursday the goal was 68 and we got 75. Our total goal was 265 and we got 258 units of blood. That is a lot of very generous donors. There were many “double donors.” God bless each donor with many blessings and graces. This is a real gift to those in need.

Sr. Eileen celebrated her 90th Birthday last Monday. It was a happy day for her and her family.

Some of the Dietary Staff got into Halloween “real good.”

On November 1st, Sr. Joel had a display to remember All Saints. She does such a wonderful job of ambiance-making. God bless all the every-day Saints in our midst.

Sister Joel set up another beautiful November display for remembering our deceased Sisters (7), Priests (9), Associates and Friends and Relatives. There is also a book for us to write in the names of those we wish to be prayed for each day. This sheet is put on the altar for Mass each day. May all those who have died be enjoying Eternal Life with the Lord.

Yesterday the Flensburg Choir joined us for Mass at the Convent. The Sisters who just moved from Flensburg were happy to see their friends. Sisters Christelle, Fabian and Bernarda, were members of the choir during the years they lived in Flensburg. After Brunch the choir sang songs (some Polish ones), laughed and had a good time.

Yesterday I attended a great concert, Civil War Portrait, by the Minnesota Center Chorale at Calvary Community Church in St. Cloud. The Chorale’s singing was fantastic. The two featured artists, Cristina Seaborn (on the fiddle) and Paul Imholte (On the Hammer Dulcimer) were tremendous players.

Tomorrow is ELECTION DAY. Please vote. Some of you may have already voted. Voting is a privilege and also a RESPONSIBILITY.

Saturday evening is the time for our Harvest Dinner. The Menu: Fried Chicken, Sausage, Garden Vegetables, Coleslaw, Homemade Bars and Beverages. It makes me hungry just thinking about it.

These are two pictures of very hardy little flowers blooming outside Hurrle Hall. We’ve had some really cold nights and there they were showing off their bright colors. Come and join us.

Have a great week. Will we have snow by the next time I write? I’m willing to wait another 6 weeks.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou