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

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