Look for the Lord’s hands in all that happens

“O God of mercy, we beg You now to protect in a special way those who are in service for the country we love. Bless them and take care of them. If they are tired, give them strength. If they are wounded and suffering, give them comfort. If they are lonely, touch them with Your gentle hand and let them know You are near them. And if it be You will that they should give up their lives for us, grant them a good death, and a home with You in heaven. Hasten the day, dear Lord, when we all may enjoy the blessings of peace once more. Amen.” (Prayer used at the Mass at Camp Ripley this morning.) Celebrant: His Excellency Donald Joseph Kettler, Bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Sunday, May 24th, I went out to the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery for their Memorial Day Service. It was misty or rained the entire time. It was a sea of colored umbrellas! The Richfield Symphonic Band provided the music. The Grey Eagle Community Choir lead the singing of the National Anthem, America the Beautiful and Abide With Me. I am always impressed by the procession of the flags and the placing of the wreaths.

There are 1,500 veterans and their eligible family members buried at the Veterans Cemetery which opened in June of 1994. There were 420 burials since last year’s Memorial Day service. Camp Ripley is 53,000 acres large.

Our Sister Cornelia Lee (1-2-1893 to 7-23-1945) was a Red Cross Nurse in the Army in World War I. She served in hospitals in London, England. She entered our community June 12, 1923. She was highly educated and worked in many capacities in our institutions

Charles Kapsner showed the third of the five 8 by 10-foot oil-on-canvas paintings honoring the Coast Guard branch of the Military Services. He expects to finish this painting by fall and then he will begin the next painting.

Last Thursday we had CEC graduation for 30 students. Congratulations, students. The Franciscan Sisters gave two scholarships to two CEC students. We also gave scholarships to two High School students.

Last Friday I had a wonderful surprise when Father Paul Wightman stopped to visit me on his way through Little Falls. We met in 1983 when we were participants in the Ministry to Ministers Program in San Antonio, TX. He is 85 and is pastor of 5 parishes in and around Ava, MO. He had been at the retreat house in Buffalo, MN and was heading further north to visit friends and a parish where he worked after our San Antonio time.

Tuesday we will have another tour group from All Saints Academy visiting us and learning about who the Franciscan sisters are and some of our ministries.

Gardeners are busy in the community Gardens south of the Motherhouse. It’s good to see them so enjoying work in their little spot.

Sister Ruth’s plant sale is going on these days. I saw lots of healthy tomato and pepper plants, There are still many plants left if you want to purchase some.

Have a good week filled with many good things. Look for the Lord’s hands in all that happens. 

Peace and blessings on you.
Sister Mary Lou


Continued blessings...

Praise the Lord. We’ve had about 2 1/2 inches of rain the past two days. Now we await sunshine and warm weather, and the plants will really grow. Lawn mowing season is here. I like the smell of newly mown grass. How about you?

The news last week of Father Ken Brenny’s death came as a shock to all of us. He is known and loved by many of us. He came here as presider at Mass many times. His was a very active retirement. May he be enjoying Eternal Life with the Lord. Peace and blessings on him.

Today we celebrate Sister Fran Kempenich’s 90th birthday. Thank you, Sister Fran, for all the good you’ve done these many years and for all the lives you’ve touched. Continued blessings on you, Fran, and your activities.

Last Wednesday evening, we held our Volunteer Appreciation event. It was so much fun. For entertainment there was the revival of the Hootennunnies, a singing group of St. Francis High School Sister/Teachers in the 1950s. Words for the songs were on the screens in St. Francis Hall so everyone was singing along with them. And some people really dressed for the event!

May 15th was the feast of St. Isidore and Maria, Patrons of farmers and gardeners. Through their intercession, we pray for a good growing season. The following is the prayer we used to bless our gardens and fields. You can use it too, to bless your gardens and fields. “O God, from whom all blessings flow, look kindly on us as we begin another season of planting and tilling of the land. We humbly acknowledge our dependence on Your Provident Care and beg You to give to us the needed sunshine and rain so that what has been planted may come to fruition. Protect us from all that would destroy the potential fruits of this land. We, on our part, promise to cooperate in the building up of what You have created, honoring and respecting the handiwork of Your Hands.”

Thursday morning 46 Second and Third Grade Students from St. Francis Xavier School in Sartell will come for a tour at St. Francis Convent. One of our ministries for nearly 100 years was to make the Altar Breads that were sent to 127 parishes, mostly in the St. Cloud Diocese. We show a short video to the students which shows how Altar Breads were made. They will also visit our Chapel and the Franciscan Life Office to learn a bit about St. Francis. In addition they have opportunity to visit with the Sisters.

Thursday, evening, May 21st, about 30 students will be graduating from the CEC (Continuing Education Center) program. This education program has been happening at St. Francis Center for 25 years.

Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost. May we call on the Holy Spirit for Wisdom in making decisions… big ones and little ones.

God bless you.
Sister Mary Lou


The earth laughs in flowers

May 13, 2015 - Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Let us praise and thank God for the wonderful rain we’ve received this past week. “They say” we received about 2 inches of rain the past week—and more to come. The lawns are so green. There are flowering trees and bushes everywhere one looks. Our lilac bushes are so full of flowers…and bouquets of them all over. Sister Joel will have plenty of flowers for Chapel for the weekend.

Soon the rhubarb will be ready for pie and sauce..

Lisa’s Baptism last Saturday was a spiritual experience for all of us attending the Mass. Father Joe is such a great presider and puts so much meaning into the entire ceremony. Welcome, Lisa, to our Community of Faith in the Catholic Church. Thank you, Father Joe, Sister Rose Margaret and Sister Susan, for walking with her through the RCIA program.

On Saturday I went out to the Pine Grove Park to look at the trilliums In places it is a carpet of white flowers. God is good to make such beauty.

Tonight is our Volunteer Appreciation Party for the MANY volunteers who come here to assist in innumerable ways. For them we are most grateful. Thank You. Kathy has been very busy decorating the room. It will be colorful and lovely. The Hootenunnies of the 1960’s will sing for us.

I hope the “fisher people” had successful fishing trips last weekend.

Sunday (17th) Mass will be at 11 a.m. We are having a Memorial Mass to remember those who our donors have asked us to remember and pray for. We are expecting about 70 guests. (In past years we’ve had this Mass the day before Memorial Day—but often other activities are planned for that day—so we moved our day.)

Saturday is Armed Forces Day. Let us be grateful for the services of these men and women…and pray for the deceased.

Sunday (17th) is the day we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Spring is busting out all over

“Spring is busting out all over.” I’m amazed at how green the lawns are…even without very much rain. This morning I read three interesting articles in Jim Gilbert’s book, Nature Notes.

First: Arbor Day was started by J. Sterling Morton, a journalist in Nebraska, 143 years ago. Each time we plant a tree we give to the world a new source of beauty, shade, oxygen and habitat for creatures of many sizes. We plant trees to celebrate our hope for the future. A Greek proverb says, “A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.” The two trees we blessed last week are now in their out-door homes

A second thing I read was that tulips are native to the Mediterranean region and Asia. (Tulip is the Turkish word for turban.) The Dutch have been in the tulip business for more than 400 years, but tulips did not originate there, or from Turkey where they got theirs.

And I also read an article on loons. These lovely birds are about two feet long and weigh 8 to 9 pounds. The common loon was designated the Minnesota state bird in 1961. The name “loon” means lummox or awkward and refers to the bird’s on-shore movements and perhaps it inability to fly from the ground.

Last Wednesday, about 15 of us former Sister Teachers were guests at St. Ben’s for Breakfast with the Bishop. It was a fund-raiser for the Catholic Foundation. The Sisters are responsible for the Catholic School system in the United States. I am very grateful for having been part of Catholic School education for so many years.

On Friday, we had a tour group of about 70 students, teachers and parents from St. Katherine Drexel School in St. Cloud. They learned about our Chapel, St. Francis and the making of altar breads, which was a ministry of ours for over 100 years.

The St. Francis Music Center had their Choral Concert at 2 p.m. yesterday…and a reception followed. They are a wonderful group of singers who like to sing and sound so professional! Thanks for sharing your talents with a grateful audience.

During the intermission the Franciscan Earth Citizen award was presented to: Sister Ade Kroll, OSF, a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, Minnesota and living in Berkeley, CA,; Patty Keeling, Franciscan Associate who lives in St. cloud, MN; and Ignacio Lopez, Franciscan Associate Applicant, a fruit and tree farmer in Condega, Nicaragua. Thank you to each of you for your tender care of Mother Earth.

St. Francis Music Center has a number of recitals these ending days of April and into May. Yesterday Room 242 was filled with students and family members listening to the accomplishments of musicians, young and older.

Tonight the fund-raiser for our Franciscan Community Volunteers, known as The Taste of St. Cloud, will be held at Territory Golf Course Coyote Moon Grille in St. Cloud from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Come hungry!

Tonight and tomorrow 35 Directors of Nurses will be coming for their in-service meetings here until Thursday noon. Some will stay here in our third floor rooms. Marcia had an Open House last week and again today for those of us who missed the first date, so we could see the re-decorating that has been done in those rooms. It is lovely—a real touch of art at work.

This is a photo from Sister Lillian Kroll's art show. It was a delightful event.

Saturday, May 9th, will be a very special day for one of our employees. We will have a special 10:30 Mass at which time Lisa will be Baptized. Welcome to the Catholic Church, Lisa, and congratulations.

Wednesday is the Little Falls Day of Caring. High School students, teachers and others will be raking lawns, washing outside windows and cleaning up yards for elderly and handicapped home owners. Thank you folks for your generous service.

That’s all I know for now.

Peace and blessings,
Sr. Mary Lou