Be a blessing to those around you

Some more days with high temperatures in the mid-30s and higher. Our snow is nearly all melted. I hope we get more snow for the care of the earth.

There is a retreat going on here at the Motherhouse this week. The retreat director is Fr. Albert Haase, OFM—a Franciscan Friar of the St. Louis Province. The retreat title is “The Art and Heart of the Spiritual Journey.” I sat in on Monday afternoon’s conference, and liked what I heard. One thing he said was that “contemplation is looking for and finding God in our daily life.” When we are aware, God is everywhere. That is true. Most of the time, we don’t think about God in our life. Thursday afternoon, instead of a talk, we will have a Healing/Anointing Service in Chapel…and the talk will be at 6 p.m.

Last Wednesday our dining Adventure featured Australia. Then in the evening, Sr. Karen told us about her month-long trip to Australia to visit the Brothers and Priests that she taught and worked with when she was stationed in Africa. It must have been a wonderful trip. The Brothers and Priests were very happy to see her. Since they, like us, are getting older, they know they’ll probably not see her again until the big cross-over into Eternal Life. Sister Irenemaree, whose home country is Australia, was at our gathering to fill in additional information about Australia.

On Sunday, several of us attended the 42nd Annual Pro-Life Dinner sponsored by the Morrison County Chapter of Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life at the Little Falls Ballroom. Fr. Jeremy Ploof, a local Catholic Priest, lead the opening prayer and was one of the speakers. The essay winner was Allyson Kahler, daughter of one of employees. Allyson’s mother, Kay, said her daughter really worked hard on that essay. Congratulations, Allyson, you did a fine job. The good news of the day, for me, was to realize that the number of abortions is going down each year.

This week is Catholic Schools Week. God bless all teachers and students in the Catholic School system. Having taught and been principal in Catholic Schools for nearly 50 years, my heart is still there. Catholic Schools do a marvelous job of educating students.

Well, that’s about all the news I know. May God bless you and those you love. And, you, be a blessing to those around you.

Sr. Mary Lou


Celebrations in Life and death

Martin Luther King, Jr’s Birthday, observed. I am grateful for the non-violent ways this holy man showed the world how to live, act and try to work together.

These have been busy days around here. Sister Lerose Popp, age 91, died in the early morning hours of January 15th. Her 92nd birthday would be on Friday this week, January, 23, 2015. She spent much of her ministry years working with children and teenagers. When I was a High School student at St. Francis, in the 1950’s, she was the Third Floor Prefect. I will remember her for her ready smile and positive attitude. Our Franciscan Wake for her is tonight and her funeral is Tuesday at 11 a.m. here at the Convent.

Thursday was also Terry Bernardy’s 60th birthday. The dietary Office was filled with 60 balloons to welcome him to work that day. We are very grateful to him for his work in the Dietary Department. He helps take very good care of all our dietary needs. Thank you, Terry.

Friday evening was “Game Night” for the Sisters, Employees and their families. The dining room was filled with lots of laughter and fun activities. The loudest game was “Animal.” Everyone should have slept well that night just because of all the laughter. There were 7 tables of activities going on at one time. Cheryl was busy serving popcorn and juice to all the players. It was fun to see all the children and adults so engaged in cards and board games. We need to do that again.

There were three activities going on Saturday. The Franciscan Community Volunteers had their Winter Retreat starting Friday evening until about 4 p.m. on Saturday. Two new Volunteers were Commissioned at Sunday’s Mass. We now have 6 volunteers. They do such good work in a variety of non-profit organizations in the St. Cloud Area. To find out more about the Volunteer Program, contact Pat Schlauderhaff at phone: 320-229-0307. Or Google “Franciscan Community Volunteers—Little Falls, MN.”

Another meeting was a Sustainable Farming Seminar that Sr. Ruth is very involved with. We had about 50 or so guests, from all of Central MN for that gathering in St. Francis Hall. I was pleased and happy to see so many younger women and men involved in family farms vs. the big corporate operations. And I forgot what the third meeting was, but I saw folks working hard at a dining room table.

Sunday night there was a UROCK Concert at St. Francis Center. Four different bands were playing. Through a Grant the Music Center got funding to hire a young man to work with possible at-risk youth and get them interested in music rather that violence. At this time there are about 20 regular attendees and they are always looking for more. In the past we’ve had UROCK bands for a couple weks in July/August. It is now a year-long program. The next concert will be April 19th.

On Wednesday our Dining Adventure will feature foods of Australia. And in the evening Sr. Karen will share adventures from her month-long visit there. (Sr. Irenmaree, raised in Australia, will help with the presentation.) Sr. Karen went to visit Priests that she taught in the seminary, while she was a missionary in Africa. From what I’ve heard so far, it was a wonderful visit and sad leave-taking because they will not see one another until they gather again in Heaven.

Next week, January 26-30, we have a Sisters Retreat. The Presenter is Father Albert Haase, OFM. The title is “The Art and Heart of the Spiritual Journey.” Sr. Georgine will be making the retreat and I will be working in the Mailroom for her.

Next Sunday, January 25th, is the 42nd Annual Pro-Life Dinner and presentation at the Falls Ballroom. Speakers are Fr. Jeremy Ploof and students form Our Lady of Lourdes Middle School. In past years the program was very interesting and informative. Sponsors are the Morrison County Chapter of the MCCL.

In anticipation of our 125th Anniversary in 2016, we are sharing some of our history. The latest piece that I saw was that we have maintained a continuous vegetable garden for 122 years. At one time we grew all the vegetables not only for us Franciscan Sisters but also for St. Gabriel’s Hospital and St. Otto’s Nursing Home. By 1964 our garden size was 2 ½ to 3 acres. (At this time our garden is again about this size because of our cooperative program raising vegetables for the Public High School with assistance from High School Students.)

That’s enough for today. I’ve been enjoying our January thaw these last couple days.

God bless you. 
Sister Mary Lou


Relax, refresh, revive

The January thaw is predicted for the end of this week. Right now at 10 a.m. it is about 6 below.

According to the Church Calendar, we are now in Ordinary Time, and the Christmas Season is over. One quick look around tells you that is true. The decorations are all put away and will re-appear again in December.

Last week the Red Cross Bloodmobile was here. Our goal was 250 units of blood. God bless our wonderful donors. We received 267 units of blood! That is wonderful! (We had to turn down 19 people because their blood was low or for other reasons.) I will let you know when we have the next blood drive in a couple months.

We are having a quiet week so not much news.

Have a safe and healthy week. 

Peace and blessings,
Sr. Mary Lou


Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow

Happy New Year. From 6 p.m. on December 30th until the prayer service, Year-end Prayer for World Peace, on December 31st , there were Sisters praying for peace every hour. At the Prayer Service, we had time for reflection on quotations from Pope John XXIII, Oscar Romero, Pope John Paul II, St. Francis and others on how to build peace in our war-torn, troubled world. The closing prayer: “God of Peace, You have called each of us to radiate Your Light in these times of darkness and to share Your Peace in places of conflict. Loving kindness, not hatred; forgiveness, not revenge is the mandate You gave us. Strengthen us as we seek to witness to compassion and build a world of loving acceptance of others. Continue to create us anew as Your peacemakers and bless us as we begin, with expectancy, to fill our world with peace. Amen.”

Saturday afternoon/evening we had our Sisters Christmas Party. A good time was had by all. Before the closing song, I read a bed-time story. I read The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilder. (After the Christmas Scripture Stories, The Selfish Giant is my most favorite story.) If you are not familiar with the story, Google it on the computer. Enjoy.

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of Epiphany. Pictured are the Kings at the Crib in our Chapel and the puzzle of the Kings with the Baby Jesus.

Next week the Bloodmobile will be here: Wednesday, (2-8 p.m.), Thursday (2-8 p.m.) and Friday (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Mother Teresa says, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Albert Einstein says, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

Stay safe and warm.

Peace and blessings,
Sr. Mary Lou