Ring in the new year!

My wish for you is that you had a grace-filled, wonderful Christmas celebrating the coming of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, with family and friends. The Christmas Masses here were prayerful and filled with music that made the heart happy. After the 7:30 p.m. Mass on the 24th, MANY people came to St. Francis Hall to enjoy goodies and visit. Following are some pictures that caught my attention as I moved around the building.

We had lovely green grass for Christmas, but that night we received a couple inches of fresh white snow. Now the cold is taking over. I hope the cold kills some of the “sickness bugs” going around. I remember when I was teaching, I liked some really cold days for that reason.

After Thanksgiving we mailed out some 16,000 Christmas letters to Donors and friends. Each envelope contained a little tag like the one shown here. Donors could write the intentions for which they want the Sisters to pray for in the coming year. All tags were hung on two trees at the back of Chapel. Now after Epiphany, the tags will be divided among us Sisters and these are the people we will individually pray for in the coming year. God bless you generous donors. You are being prayed for.

Our Dining Room tables were beautifully decorated with some of the decorations used for the past 19 years. This picture shows a collage of one of each of those decorations.

For 11 evenings before Christmas the local Food Shelf had fund-raiser time at Coborns Superstore. Pairs of volunteers worked to Make a Joyful Noise for four hours each evening. Sister Julien and I were the workers on the 23rd. We greeted each customer with “Merry Christmas” as they left the store. Through their generosity we raised $475 on our shift. Approximately $3,500 was raised in the eleven days. Thank you, generous donors. That will help the Food Shelf and feed many hungry people this holy Season and afterwards, too.

We will be having a 24-hour prayer vigil for Peace on New Year’s Eve. We invite you to join us in praying for peace in our hearts, in our Church and in our World…wherever there is strife and unrest.

January 4—10 is National Migration Week. The theme is “We are One Family Under God.” This is a time to reflect on the plight of migrants and refugees worldwide. In June 2014 the number of refugees worldwide exceeded 50 million children, women and men. Half of these refugees are children traveling alone or in groups. Millions of these refugees are people displaced because of natural disasters, wars, human trafficking, political unrest—to name a few reasons. Please pray for them and for us so that we do our part so all can live as One Family Under God and care for them however we can.

I wish you a safe, healthy and blessed New Year.
Peace, Sister Mary Lou

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