Easter Blessings

HOLY WEEK. May we use this time to reflect on the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus and the great gift that is to us—for our Salvation.

Last week we celebrated the 35th Anniversary of the St. Francis Music Center. This program was the brain-child of Sr. Cecilia Schmitt, “a mover and a shaker,” to be sure. Robyn Gray has been director for the past 23 years. She says, “It’s a great place to be and work, and we are grateful to the Franciscan Sisters for having this place.” Right now they have 20 teachers and about 400 students a week for lessons, choir, orchestra, dance and gymnastics. The age range is birth to the nineties.

The Morrison County Record this week has an interview that Sister Georgine and I did on Palm Weaving. Just googling the words: “Palm Weaving” gives many ideas and directions.

On Saturday the 10th Annual Seeds of Kindness luncheon was held in St. Francis Hall. Thirty-three tables were beautifully decorated. This Habitat for Humanity is a very successful fun-raiser. This event raises almost enough money for all the materials needed for the ladies to build their Habitat House. Sister Julien serves as a member of the local Board for Habitat. This is the fifth year the event has been at St. Francis. Here are pictures of a few of the tables.

On Saturday, the Planning Committee for the St. Francis High School All-School Reunionmet to get things rolling. The Reunion is the third Sunday of July, July 19, 2015.

The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be here Tuesday and Wednesday (1-7 p.m.) and Thursday (8 a.m. - 2 p.m.). Our goal is 300 units. Knowing our generous donors, we’ll meet that goal.

The March Food Drive collected $1,088.78 and some food for the Morrison County food Shelf. God bless generous Employees and Sisters who made that happen. A worthy cause, indeed.

On Holy Thursday, Mass is at 7 p.m. with Adoration until 10 p.m.

On Good Friday we have the Silent Walk for Peace starting at 9:30 a.m. There will be Stations of the Cross both in Chapel and outside starting at 11 a.m. The Good Friday Service is at 2:00 p.m.

Easter Vigil Service starts at 8:00 p.m. with the Service of Light part in the Gathering Space. You are welcome to join us for any and all of these Services.

A Blessed and Happy Easter to each of you, my readers. Safe travels (and may the Easter Bunny be good to you.)

Sister Mary Lou


God’s Presence is always with us

Here we are into the fifth week of Lent. We got no snow from what was predicted for yesterday and last night. Pictures from my sister, Cecelia, show they got quite a bit snow in the Kandiyohi/Willmar area. Most days this week look like we could receive moisture…which we will be very happy to receive. One of the last days of winter I took this picture of a beautiful sunrise.

The Little Falls Chamber of Commerce has a monthly event called “Friday Morning Coffee.” Last Friday it was hosted at the Little Falls Zoo. The ending event was to watch how the trainers are training the bobcats and tigers to come to the fence on command and then get a meat treat when they come. We really do have a nice zoo. It is a worthwhile stop when you have hours that you want to use productively.

The palms came last Thursday so we are ready for Palm Sunday …and some of us will be doing some palm weaving activities. Our Sister Cecilia was a great one for teaching palm weaving. She wrote a book and shows MANY different things that can be done with palm branches. As I child, I just remember the dried palm branches on a shelf in our home. Palm branches are a sacramental—blessed objects that dispose us to receive grace and remind us of God’s Presence with us.

I’ve not seen my first robin, though many others have. I’m still looking for the first dandelion.

Short blog this week. Last week’s blog has the listing of events happening on campus.

The Lord give you peace,
Sister Mary Lou


Keep Lent holy!

We experienced beautiful springs days last week…and getting a good rain today would make it really be spring. My prayer is for rain: gentle and sufficient to replenish what is lacking for moisture in the soil. I am still looking for the first dandelion.

Last week was National Catholic Sisters Week. On Thursday our dear Employees honored us Sisters with a special morning treat and a short program. We each received a little ribbon-wrapped scroll. Mine said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso.” That is true. We each also received a vase with a springy carnation with the message: “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust.” Thank you, Employees. You are the best. Our hearts are touched.

EnLUNCHment speaker on Thursday was Belle Anjangha, a young woman and student at St. Cloud State University. She is from Cameroon and spoke about and showed pictures of life in that African country.

On Friday I rode my scooter out to the Grotto and took these pictures of beautiful blooming roses near the statue of Bernadette. I was sure they were real. Well…my April Fool’s joke was on me and came a couple weeks early!

The Knit and Stitch sewers were at St. Francis Center this past weekend. I went to see the kinds of crafts they were making. One lady just finished the lovely little sweater. Wouldn’t any little girl be proud to wear such a lovely garment? I also saw a beautiful scarf and a knitted basket that would be felted after she finishes knitting it. She had a big ball of multi-colored yarn made up of all her leftover yarn scraps and was determined to use them all up.

From the looks of the dining room, one can figure out that we will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow.

I haven’t checked the menu, but I’m guessing there will be some Irish foods.

All departments have containers out for collection of money for the Morrison County Food Shelf.

Lenten Activities continue here: Daily Mass at 11 a.m. (Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and a Communion Service at 11 a.m. on Saturdays), Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 3:30 p.m., and Evening Prayer every day at 4:15 p.m.

Dates for up-coming events are:
  • Seeds-of-Kindness fundraiser, March 28
  • Red Cross Bloodmobile March 31 and April 1 and 2
  • Holy Thursday Service 7:00 p.m. with Adoration until 10 p.m.
  • Good Friday Stations of the Cross (inside and out doors) at 11 a.m. and Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at 2 p.m. 
  • Easter Vigil Service at 8 p.m. with fellowship following
  • Easter Sunday Mass at 8:30 a.m.
  • April 18th Spaghetti Supper fundraise from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
  • April 19th Spring Orchestra Concert at 2 p.m.
  • Earth Day Prayer Service on April 22 at 2 p.m.
  • Taste of St. Cloud 4:30 to 7:30 at Territory Golf Course in St. Cloud.
God bless you.
Keep Lent holy! 
Sister Mary Lou


It's a sign of Spring

It feels like SPRING outside. I like it! Now I’m waiting for the first dandelion.

This is National Catholic Sisters Week. God bless all Catholic Sisters and the MANY good woks Sisters do every day. We serve many people each day and MANY people serve us each day, too! Thank you.

At 9 a.m. on Thursday we will have an Appreciation Treat in the dining room to celebrate Sisters. It was a nice surprise to see that note on the weekly bulletin. I plan on being there.

Fourteen members of the Benton County Home Ec. Committee were guests at St. Francis Center over the weekend. This was the 18th year these ladies have been coming for a busy weekend of sewing. Two of the projects they were working on were of particular interest to me. Some ladies were making cloth bowls…very lovely. One lady was making what is called a “Calendar Quilt.” I had never seen anything like this…very beautiful and oh so intricate. (And I would never attempt that project.) The ladies are so happy and eager to show their work. Thanks, ladies. The Fourteen sewers all had very colorful lips and called themselves “KISS” for Keep it Simple, Sisters.” Five of the ladies were blood sisters.

Sister Michelle led a Lenten Day of Reflection on Saturday. The theme of the day was: “The Lenten Journey: Preparing our Hearts for Love.” There were about 60 people in attendance. It was a great day. Thanks, Sr. Michelle.

COACT (Citizens Organized Acting Together) met here on Saturday. This group focuses on Social Justice Issues. Sister Ruth is a member.

March is Food Shelf Drive month. Every department has a container for donations. Thanks to all generous donors.

Wednesday evening (6:30 p.m.) is Sr. Elise’s third and last presentation: “Lent: A Sacramental Journey into Easter.” Sr. Elise is such a good presenter and her material is so uplifting. We have about 60 people attending each evening…and that does not include all the Sisters watching on closed-circuit TV.

The Red Cross Blood Mobile will be here Tuesday, March 31 (1 to 7 p.m.), Wednesday April 1st (1 to 7 p.m.) and Thursday, April 2nd (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Donating blood would be a great Holy Week activity.

There is always a puzzle on the Mail Room table for folks to work on. Here, Sr. Joel is intently looking for the “just right piece.” Many Sisters and Employees enjoy being able to find at least one piece to fit into the picture.

In Chapel last week one day, the dead branches all sprouted big pussy willows…another sure sign of spring. A week ago, I posted a picture of the so-called dead branches. And now in a week they are filled with fuzzy pussy willows! I am always so amazed at how nature works.

Peace and blessings to you this Third Week of Lent.
Sister Mary Lou


Spring is around the corner

Sounds like the “lion” of March will come tonight and be out of here by noon tomorrow. We are 30 inches below average in snow so far this year. Last week, Sr. Donna just finished putting this 1,000 piece puzzle together. Since snow is forecast for tonight, I decided this was a good time to publish the picture.

Yesterday was a special day for us. It was our Founding Day…the day we became the “Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Little Falls, Minnesota.” That title was later shortened to “Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota” because the other title was too long for the computer. At least that’s the story I heard. Bishop Donald Kettler came to preside at our 11 a.m. Mass and then joined us for a festive dinner.

Later in the afternoon, I went out to the cemetery to thank the 12 Sisters buried there for founding our Community 124 years ago. We claim 16 founding Sisters, but only twelve are buried here. Four are buried in Rock Island, Illinois. Early in our history, they went to Rock Island to start a hospital and then they just stayed there and started a new community. And again, that is how I remember the story.

The three dwellings pictured here are the first homes the Sisters lived in. The log cabin is in Bell Prairie. The Slab Shanty was on our campus and the Sisters lived in it until Hurrle Hall was constructed.

Last Wednesday, our Dining Adventure was Washington State. We had halibut and salmon as two of the foods from that area.

On Wednesday, Sr. Elise will have the second of her three Lenten presentations. “Lent: A Sacramental Journey into Easter” is this week’s topic.

Thursday is Taize Prayer at 6 p.m.

Stations of the Cross are at 3:30 on Friday.

Saturday from 9 to about 3 p.m. is the Lenten Reflection Day. The presenter is Sister Michelle L’Allier. You are invited to join us.

March 8 to 14 is National Catholic Sister’s Week. Let us praise God and thank the Sisters who have done so much service throughout the world—for the glory of God. I am grateful for my vocation--for my calling to the Little Falls Franciscan Community.

Remember to “spring the clock ahead” sometime before Sunday Morning.

Blessings on you and those you love during this second week of Lent.
Sister Mary Lou