God’s Gifts Within and Around Us

Since we failed to get last week’s blog posted last week, I’ll just include this week’ remarks on the same posting.

The 3/4s inch of rain last Friday was a wonderful blessing. I’m sure Mother Earth and all the plants and animals were as grateful as we were. Lawns are greening up nicely.

Yesterday Jeff, from the JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) Department, and Rick, from the Franciscan Life Department, put together a fantastic program, Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Saint Francis Being Named Patron Saint of Ecology. The two excellent speakers were, Dr. Bernie Evans and Dr. Jessica O’Reilly from St. John’s/St. Ben’s. All of creation reflects the goodness and beauty of God. We’ve all had the “Oh” and “Ah” moments on seeing a beautiful sunrise or sunset or other beautiful sight. These experiences bring a “Thank you, God,” to my mind…and most probably to you, too.

A number of years ago, Elizabeth Roberts made these lovely large wooden symbols of creation: Brother Sun, Sister Moon and Stars, Sister Water, Brother Wind, Sister Bodily Death, and Sister Mother Earth. Here they are for you to look at once more.

Saturday, April 25th, there was a celebration at the St. Cloud Cathedral “Inspiring Hope and Celebrating our Community.” It was a time of song, prayer, Scripture Readings and hearing the stories of some of the people who have immigrated to the U.S.A. and their struggles to get here. Our Bishop Don led the service. Then after the “Church Part” we went over to Mary Hall for a snack and a dance program put on by many Hispanic children and youth from the Cold Spring area.

Friday evening’s Legacy Chorale Concert was fantastic. That group of about 60 singers really knows how to sing!!! That hour-and-a-half went by so fast. They sang many songs about “water.” Thank you, singers, for sharing your time and talent with us. From just watching you, we know you like to sing and to sing together.

This coming Sunday, May 3rd, we have our St Francis Music Center’s Spring Chorale Concert in Sacred Heart Chapel at 2 p.m. A reception will follow in St. Francis Hall

May 3rd is also the Spring Magic Dinner and Dance at the Falls Ballroom, sponsored by St. Camillus Place. This event is for mentally and physically challenged persons of Morrison County. Some are so excited about dancing that they can hardly eat their meal. Dancing from 1 to 4 p.m. really tires the dancers out, but they don’t give up.

May 1st is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. May he bless and care for all workers…and that’s a good many of us.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou

April 22, 2015


This afternoon we had a Prayer Service of Psalms and songs to honor Mother Earth. “All creation is a song of praise to God” (Hildegard of Bingen, Mystic) The Canticle of Creatures by St. Francis praises all of creation: Sir Brother Sun, Sister Moon, the Stars, Brother Wind, Sister Water, Brother Fire, Sister Mother Earth, “those who give pardon for Your love, and bear infirmity and tribulation.” This is a day to raise awareness of the need to reduce waste, to recycle and to conserve energy. “Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility. Amen.”’

Two trees, donated by Julianna Fernandez in memory of her husband William, were blessed and will be planted on our grounds in the near future. Some water and soil, to be used at the planting, were also blessed.

At the Spaghetti Supper, Saturday evening, I asked the farmer at our table if he’d done field work or any planting yet. I loved his answer. “Oh, yes. We’ve been picking winter potatoes.” That’s the first time I’ve heard “picking rocks” called that. It does sound a little more fruitful than just “picking rocks.” I remember how happy my Dad was when the road construction guys came and asked him if they could buy his rock pile. He said, “I never dreamed I’d ever get money for all that back-breaking work.”

Sunday’s St. Francis Music Center’s­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Concert was another amazing success.

We served 373 meals the night of the Spaghetti Supper. I pretty sure no one went away hungry.

Monday, April 20th, was the funeral for Secular Franciscan Ed Feiler from Brainerd. He was a good friend and a wonderful Secular Franciscan…and is missed much by many of us.

Girls Camp is June 9, (10 a.m.) through June 11, (6 p.m.). The theme is “God’s Gifts Within and Around Us.” Girls who have completed grades 6 –8 are invited to attend. Contact Sr. Ange Mayers to register or for more information: (e-mail: amayers@fslf.org or 320-632—0680.)

Friday is Arbor Day. Plant a tree and be grateful for the gift trees are in our lives.

Friday evening, 7:30 p.m., the Legacy Chorale will honor s with a concert in our Chapel. You are invited to join us.

Sunday, April 26th, at 1 p.m. there will be a program in St. Francis Hall on Promoting Ecology. There will be several noted speakers. Again, you are invited to join us for this free presentation.

These two lovely watercolor pictures were painted by associate Bea Britz, and are on display in our convent dining room. There is beauty everywhere in our building. And we are grateful.

Sr. Joan Gerads has two guests from Venezuela visiting Minnesota this week. Yesterday’s dusting of snow delighted them. Then when the strong winds blew the snow around that excited them, too. (Most of us would be happier to see a gentle, soaking rain.) The guests also are fascinated by the trees getting leaves. That excites me, too, but for them it is a new thing that doesn’t happen in their country.

Peace and blessings on you and those you love,
Sister Mary Lou


Praise God for our many blessings

Happy Spring. We, here in Little Falls, missed out on the rain that some places got yesterday. (We had a quick little spirt of one one-hundredth of an inch of rain.) It has been VERY windy. A few more flowers are poking their heads out of the ground and some of the trees are showing lots of leaf buds. Praise God for these blessings.

Last week we had Community meetings from Tuesday through Friday. It is always good for all us Sisters to get together and share our combined wisdom. In early October, we’ll do it once again.

The Wednesday evening “Celebrating the Sisters” prayer service, brought many of us Sisters near to tears by the readings, the songs, the affirmations and the prayers that were said for us Sisters…signs of love and appreciation for us and the works we've done and continue to do. The Chapel was full of Relatives, Friends Employees, Associates and Volunteers all praying for and with us. We started out with the reading of Pope Francis’ letter to all Consecrated People on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life. The Mary of Lourdes Elementary School Choir, the Mary of Lourdes Middle School Choir and the Holly Family Parish Choir furnished music. Fr. Joe Herzing offered the opening prayer. The dining room was filled with guests and Sisters enjoying great refreshments. Thank you so much Geri and all who helped with the events of the evening. We are grateful.

Saturday about 50 Secular Franciscans from the Queen of Peace Region were here for their Spring Retreat. The morning speaker was a lady who had been in Human Trafficking /Sex Trafficking business for many years. She is now out and helping others who want to get out and be free. For more information check out her website: www.gracemariesong.com

One of our Brainerd Secular Franciscans, Ed Feiler, died very suddenly Saturday evening. His funeral will be next Monday. Eternal Life give to him, O Lord. May he live in God’s Presence forever. Peace, blessings, strength and courage to his wife, Pat, and their family.

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week (April 13 through 17th.) We will be taking part in the state-wide tornado drill an Thursday. At 1:45 the “Black Alert” message will be given and that alerts everyone to head to the tunnel for their safety. We always pray for safety, but it is still necessary to do the drill so in the event of a tornado we know what to do and where to go.

Tuesday through Thursday, the Nursing Leadership Symposium (formerly Directors of Nursing Training) will be meeting in St. Francis Hall. We expect 25 to 30 participants. Approximately 15 will be staying in the newly renovated St. Francis Center Third Floor Guest Rooms. They will be back again in May, July and August.

Saturday, April 18th, is our Spaghetti supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Come join us for a delicious meal.

Sunday, April 19th, 2:00 p.m., St. Francis Music Center presents its Spring Orchestra Concert in Sacred Heart Chapel with a reception to follow in St. Francis Hall. I promise you, you will hear GREAT music.

God bless you.

Pax et Bonum. (Peace and all Good.) (The greeting St. Francis liked to use.)
Sister Mary Lou


Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! May the blessings of Easter continue to be with us as we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Here are a few pictures from here in Little Falls.

Choir practice is always necessary. Here is Sr. Jean doing a last minute polishing toward perfection…and if there are little blips, no one else would notice anyhow.

Holy Thursday evening we had Adoration until 10 p.m. In the front row sat 99 year-old Sr. Fabian. Sr. Bernice Ebner said it best: “If a 99-year-old Sister can pray until 10 p. m., then surely I can pray that long, too!”

Friday morning started out with Hot Cross Buns for breakfast (a tradition here.)

Friday morning we had the Silent Walk for Peace. What a wonderful witness by about 40 people to walk silently through the down-town area of Little Falls: stopping at St. Gabriel’s Hospital, a Funeral Home, the Jail, the Courthouse, Bank Square, the Mississippi River Bridge and Dam, Veterans Memorial, Maple Island Park, First United Church, St. Francis Center, Hurrle Hall, Alverna Apartments and St. Otto’s Nursing Home. We prayed for the sick and dying, the dead and those who morn them, law enforcement officers, the imprisoned, immigrants, and refugees, judges, the reordering of financial institutions, Veterans and military personnel, those who care for Mother Earth, for unity among Churches, students and the elderly. It is an impressive sight.

Later we had Stations of the Cross in Chapel and also outside. It was cold, but about 15 hearty people joined us outside. Then at 2 p.m. we had the Good Friday Liturgy.

Holy Saturday Liturgy started at 8 p.m. Many guests joined us in prayer and then for the social time afterward in St. Francis Hall.

With my camera in hand, I went hunting for signs of spring. I did find several brave little flowers on the east side of Mary Hall and in protected areas. With rain, sleet and snow forecast these coming days this week, those little flowers may wish they had not come out so soon.

Our Blood drive last week was very successful. We received 242 units of blood—and another 27 people came and could not give blood. A BIG “Thank You” to all who came and to those who volunteered their time and services. You truly give the gift of life.

This week, starting today and going through suppertime on Friday we Sisters have “Discerning Our Future” meetings. Please pray for us and the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we make decisions about our future. Thank you.

On Saturday, about a hundred Secular Franciscans will gather here for their spring Retreat.

Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. May we always be mindful of the fact that God greatly loves us and has mercy on us when we mess-up. Let us depend on His Mercy and receive it graciously.

Again, Happy Easter. Alleluia
Sister Mary Lou