Christmas celebrations abound!

December 14, 2015

Already the Third Week of Advent. As we prepare for the Birth of Jesus, may our hearts be kind and merciful to everyone…those near at hand and those far away.

The local Lion’s Club members came to St. Francis to entertain the Sisters with some Christmas songs. They invited us to join them in some of the songs and that was great fun. After the singing we all enjoyed a pizza treat.

Friday evening, the 11th, the Saint Francis Music Center presented us with wonderful music by the St. Francis Preparatory Orchestra and the St. Francis Concert Orchestra, directed by Bobbi French.

The title of the program was “Sweet Holiday Suites.” In music, a “suite” is a collection of pieces that are somehow related to one another—in tone or style or by composer’s design. The play on words in the title was a convenient way to teach younger students the correct pronunciation of the word “suite.” Thank you to all players for sharing your talent and giving us an hour’s worth of great entertainment. Their next concert is Friday, April 22, 2016, at 7 p.m.

Saturday was the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We had a special Mass and prayed for the people of the Americas—North, South and Central America. The Virgin Mary is the Patron of the Americas.

As of January 1st, we will no longer be a distribution site for altar Breads—something the Franciscan Sisters have done for nearly 125 years. Pictured is Sister Anne with the last delivery of altar breads that will be sent out in the next couple weeks.

Sister Anne has been in charge of this department for 41 ½ years. That is a long time! THANK YOU, SISTER ANNE for all those years of service.
Pope Francis declared this year The Extraordinary Year of Mercy. The Vatican has a website set up for this special year. The address is: www.im.va. This is a great place to find out more about this special year. The logo shows Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who is carrying another person. Sister Mary Obowa has sewn the logo onto a piece of linen that adorns the ambo in our Chapel.

On Thursday we will have our Employee/Sister pot luck lunch and also for the drawings for all the lovely gifts that have been on display in the Clare Parlor the past couple weeks.

Sister Ruth is still busy processing tomatoes in tomato juice. The tomatoes were frozen a couple months ago when she was too busy with other garden produce to make the juice. She makes such good juice. I always take it for breakfast. Thank you, Sister Ruth, for all the nutritious food you bring to our table.

May your week be blessed. May all the Christmas cards get to their destination on time. “They say” today is the busiest Mail Day of the year. Sister Georgine would agree. We had LOTS of mail delivered today.

May Jesus and His Teachings become more of a part of our life these last weeks of Advent.

Sister Mary Lou


We prepare for the Lord

We are into the Second Week of Advent.  “Behold, the Lord comes to save His People: blessed are those prepared to meet Him.”  May the hustle and bustle of the season not deter us from the meaning of Advent—of Who we are waiting for.

The Little Falls Ministerial Group met here for lunch on Thursday, December 3rd.  They are a large group taking care of the spiritual needs of the people of our area.

Shawn Colberg, professor at St. John’s University, was the speaker at the December 5th, Advent Reflection Day.  He spoke about Saint Bonaventure’s take on the Incarnation of Jesus and how this is meaningful in our lives.  Shawn reminded us of the importance of seeing Jesus in the present moment.  Do I believe God?  Will I do what God asks of me?  At least 70 people came for the day.  That was a great turn-out.

Saint Nicholas came to visit the sisters and guests at noon on December 5th, the eve of the Feast of Saint Nicholas.  He handed out little treats to both the naughty and the nice.

Sunday evening’s St. Francis Community Chorale and Children’s Choir Concert, was a real treat for our ears. Sacred Heart Chapel was full of eager listeners.  I commend directors Barb Stumpf and Joan Wingert for a job well done.  (I took a picture of one of jars of the “free-will offerings” taken in that night.)  All their practices and efforts were well worth the effort.  Thank you for sharing your talents and your efforts.

On Friday night, December 11th, we will have the privilege of hearing the St. Francis Music Center’s two Orchestras.  The program will take place at 7 p.m. in Chapel.  We invite you to attend.

Usually we have a Communion Service on Saturdays.  This week, because of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, we will have Mass at 11 a.m.  Father Tony Kroll will be the Celebrant.

Christmas decorations are going up all over the building.  These are a couple pictures I too today.

Peace and God bless you,

Sister Mary Lou


Advent Season is Upon Us

First Week of Advent.  ‘Behold, the Lord will come, and all His holy ones with Him; and on that day there will be a great light.” (Zec. 14:5, 7.)  Let us continue to pray for the light of the World to bring peace to our suffering and troubled world.

We had about 4 inches of snow yesterday…and from the sounds of it, it will all be melted by the weekend.  The wet, sticky snow was good for making good snowmen.  My sister, Rita, will be

returning to Indonesia on Friday.  Here she is with her snowman.  She will leave the farm near West Union at 6:30 a.m. and arrive at her home in Sentani, Indonesia at about 7 a.m. on Monday her time.  Her trip takes her from Minneapolis to Tokyo to Singapore to Jarkarta to Jayaoura to Sentani with a couple layovers along the way.  It’s a long trip.  She does cross the International Dateline along the journey.

I hope our Thanksgiving Day was truly a day to give thanks for the blessings from a good God who loves us very much.  Our table was laden with good food…but the first event of the day was to attend Mass.

Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent and also the Feast of Saint Nicholas.  I hope you’ve been good so Saint Nicholas can leave you some goodies.  I remember, as a child, Saint Nicholas always left us some peanuts and candy.  There’d be a big racket on the porch, but no one was there, but there was a bag of goodies on the wood box!

December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, is a big feast for our Religious Community.  We are mindful that our religious title is Franciscan sisters of the Immaculate Conception.  We go by Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls as a legal title since it is called for in so many dealings with the public.  It is also the day on which Pope Francis will have the Catholic Church begin the “Year of Mercy.”  Now during Advent we prepare for the Birth of Jesus—the God of Mercy among us.
December 12th, is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.

We will host the Ministerial Christmas Luncheon on Thursday, December 3rd, in St. Francis Hall from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Advent Day of Reflection is Saturday, December 5th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The speaker is Shawn Colberg.

We will have opportunities for lots of music enjoyment in the next two weeks.  I hope you can join us for some of the events.

St. Francis Music Center has Christmas Recitals December 4th at 7 p.m.; December 5th at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; December 6th at 1 p.m.  Their recitals are all held in Room 242 at St. Francis Center. 

Sunday, December 6th, the Music Center presents their Christmas Chorale Concert at 7 p.m. in our Chapel.  This concert will be repeated on December 13th at Bethany Lutheran Church in Cushing, MN.

Friday, December 11th, the two Music Center Orchestras will present their Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. in our Chapel.

The 8th Annual Franciscan Community Volunteers will host their Christmas Open House on December 6th,  from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Franciscan Welcoming House (1600 11th Ave. South, St. Cloud, MN.)

The other day I went to the Pottery shop for my first and last time.  Pictured is Sr. Tonie standing beside the kiln her father donated to St. Francis High School in the middle 1960s.  Soon the kiln will have a new home.

Pax et Bonum. (Peace and All Good)                                                                                                                         
May the Lord, bless us and all our brothers and sisters throughout the world.                                                    Sister Mary Lou