November 28, 2016

Happy Advent.  May we remember that Advent is a time for our spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.  It is so easy to become involved with many activities and forget that Jesus is already here and waiting to come anew with new graces and blessings if/when we are ready to receive them.  Come, Lord Jesus.

“Gracious God, You are the One who comes to heal and save us, to bring joy and peace.  Help us to see, hear, feel and understand the ways You came to us through the person of Jesus.  Teach us how to live as He did so we might also bring joy and peace to others.  Amen.”

Rita Hacker blesses us with beautiful harp music as the prelude to Mass each Sunday of Advent…a prayerful prelude to the Liturgy.  Thanks, Rita.

On Thanksgiving, they served about 400+ people at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the High School.  It is a wonderful opportunity for people to celebrate with family and friends.  The mashed potatoes (five 5-gallon pails) at the meal were grown in our garden and peeled by about half a dozen Sisters last Tuesday.

On Thursday we will be hosting the annual Ministerial Christmas Luncheon.  We are expecting about 35 guests.  I’d like to extend my thanks to these special people who minister to the spiritual needs of the people in their care.  We need you.

Sister Julien carved the turkey for our Sister’s Thanksgiving dinner.

The first Thursday of every month we have Taize prayer in Chapel from 6 to 7 p.m. 
What Taize prayer is, is an hour of meditative prayers and song with Scripture readings that fit the Liturgical Season—so, Advent for this month.

Next Sunday, December 4th, is the Community Chorale Christmas Concert at 2:00 p.m. in our Sacred Heart Chapel with a reception afterwards.  Come enjoy wonderful music and goodies, too.  It will get you into the Christmas Spirit.

With the colder weather, it was time for me to put on my “Chicken and Stars” quilt.  This was a great gift from a friend thirteen years ago.

Christmas trees and decorations are starting to appear all around the building…so exciting. 

Blessings on you this Advent Season.

Sister Mary Lou


November 21, 2016

The official Year of Mercy ended Sunday.  The banner that had hung on the Reader’s Stand for the past year was removed on Sunday and carried out of Chapel by Sister Fabian Schneider.  Mercy will continue even as the Year of Mercy has ended!

Thanksgiving Day is this week…and we have so much to be thankful for.  I am making a list of things I am thankful for.  The first item on the list is for my Mom and Dad who gave me life.  Make your own list…and when you are feeling down, read that list over.

Calendar winter started at 6:44 a.m. today, but the look and feel of winter came on Friday when we got about 7 inches of snow and strong winds to move that snow around.  All schools  were called off already on Thursday evening.  I read a little article saying that snow storms are nature’s way of showing us God’s Power and Glory. 
I agree.


Safe travels for all who are out and about these days.
God bless you.

Sister Mary Lou


November 14, 2016

One quick glance out the window and one gets then feeling of a true fall day—overcast  and chilly…

This is National Bible Week.  How about opening the Good Book and reading a few pages? 

Well, elections are over and now it is for us to pray for those elected…that they carry out their duties…keeping in mind the common good in both their actions and directives.

While going through “stuff” the other day, I came across the following: 
                               Psalm 201
O Lord, You have probed me and You know me.
You know when I eat and when I don’t.
You understand my weight from afar.
My fastings and my feasts You scrutinize
Even before   a bite is in my mouth, behold,
O Lord, You know the whole of it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
From Your Presence, where can flee?
If I go to the pantry, You are there!
If I settle at the farthest limits of the refrigerator, even there You are!

O Lord, my weight is always before me.
You have formed my inmost being.
And I have shaped the rest.
My frame is not unknown to You.
Your eyes have seen my diets.
In Your Book they are all written,
My perseverance was limited before one of them existed.

How weighty are your designs, O God.
Mine, too!
Probe me, O God, and know my weight.
See if my path is slim.
And lead me in the way of starvation!
(Based somewhat on Psalm 139)

A fact you might NOT need to know:  November 28th is the birthday of Mickey Mouse. (Born in 1928)

This coming Sunday (November 20th, has many titles: 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Closing of the Holy Year, Feast of Christ the King,

Of all the deciduous trees on campus have lost their leaves except this one in the cemetary. These pretty purple flowers are still hanging in there too!

Peace and God’s blessings on you and those you love.

Sister Mary Lou


October 31, 2016
My little reflection book today talks about this day of Halloween.  It says: “Halloween’s origin date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, the eve of their new year on November 1.  Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred, and the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.  Ghosts came to the doors of the living asking for forgiveness.  Until they were forgiven for harm they had done, they would never be at rest.  I have never forgiven that image of the spirits of the dead utterly unable to repay the living, begging for forgiveness,”
As I type, I am listening to the radio and they are talking about the big snowstorm 25 years ago when we got about 25 inches of snow in the Halloween Blizzard.  Do you remember it?  I remember.  I had gone to a Halloween party and had 6 plus inches of snow on my car three hours later.
The other day the little white posts with red tops were put along the driveways so the snow-plow-ers know where the edges of the roads are when the big snow fall comes.

Here are a few pieces of information that you probably don’t need to know.  What are baseball pitchers scared of? (Bats)  What’s a boxer’s favorite part of a joke?  (The punch line.)  What is a battery’s favorite football team? (The Chargers)   Why did the golfer wear two pairs of pants? (In case he got a hole in one.)
The Music Center’s Halloween Recital on Sunday was lots of fun. Forty plus pianists and violin players entertained us for an hour.  Most of the musicians are in the beginning of their musical careers and the pieces were quite short…but easy to listen to.  Some of the players were dressed for the perfoirmances.
The Franciscan Community Volunteers were at the Motherhouse last weekend for a couple days of retreat.
The Grotto is very beautiful right now with all the plants in full bloom.  Thank you, Bev, for your work in caring for the flowers.

Last week about 30 volunteers got the Christmas Appeal envelops all stuffed and ready for mailing about Thanksgiving time.  I think they set a record by doing the job of readying 15,000+ envelopes in 2 ½ days.

Allen really got into the Halloween spirit when he came dressed for work today.  And some Sisters decorated cookies for lunch this noon.

I got my copy of the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer last week.  The cover is a picture of a lone fisher-person on a big lake trying to catch the big one.  Many years ago when the Sisters from Africa came to the United States, they were surprised to hear about ice-fishing.  I believe someone took them out one time.  All the clothing to keep warm was another surprise.
November 1st is the Feast of All Saints—a time to remember those ordinary holy people who we know are Saints.
November 1st is the 125th anniversary of the creation of the game of Basketball in1891 by James Naismith in Springfield, MA.
November 1st is also World AIDS Day.  Let us pray for all those people who have the disease.
November 2nd is All Souls’ Day.  We pray for those who have died, that they may soon be admitted into heaven and have Eternal Life with the Lord Jesus.
Don’t’ forget to set the clocks back one hour Saturday night.

God bless you.                                                                                                                         Sister Mary Lou


October 24, 2016

Good morning, good people.  I believe this greeting is attributed to St. Francis.  May it be a good day and a good week for you.

Over the weekend a group of about 25 ladies were at Saint Francis Center for a couple retreat days.  They joined us for Mass and brunch on Sunday.  We are happy to share our space with our guests.

Life is falling back into a regular pace after our week of meetings last week.  I always enjoy our time together…but is good to get back to the regular routine again.

Sunday afternoon the KCs served cake and ice cream to the Sisters.  They do this every year on a Sunday near Columbus Day.  Thank you, gentlemen, for the tasty treat and for your friendship.  God bless you.

A Blood Drive takes place in Saint Francis Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday (1:00-7 p.m.) (October 25 & 26) and Thursday (8: a.m. to 2 p.m.).  Thank you, generous donors.  You are life savers.

Peace and blessings.
Sister Mary Lou


October 17, 2016
As the last part of the celebration of our 125th Anniversary, we invited all the women who had at one time been members of our Franciscan Community to join us for the day.  About 50 former members came for Mass, lunch and visiting.  It was a great day for re-connecting and renewing friendships.

Starting today at 1:30 p.m. until Thursday evening, we have “ Discerning Our Future” meetings with ALL Sisters attending.  So these last days Sisters have been arriving from far-away places.  It is always so good to have everybody home these days.  Please pray with us that the Holy Spirit guide and direct our deliberations.  Thanks.

One of the table decorations is this old handbag.  In the early days of our community it was the Mother General’s purse and the only handbag in the Community.

Another decoration is this fancy holy water bottle with a wire covering around it.

I hope you all saw the beautiful full moon last night.  It was so big and bright.

Tuesday, Oct 11th, was Deanna Boone’s last day of work before her retirement.  We had a little party for her and the theme of the program was, ”The Many Hats of Deanna.”  As a Department Head, she wore many hats.

Father Joe Herzing was celebrant for our Mass last Thursday.  He invited the 3rd and 4th Graders from Our Lady of Lourdes School to join us.  The singing was great with all the extra voices.

Thursday was also “flu shot” day for Sisters and employees.  Now let’s hope no one gets sick.

A few of our trees are still colorful, but if we get rain tonight that will all come to an end.

Here is a little story to brighten you day.
A Story of Four People
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but
Nobody realized the Everybody wouldn’t do it. 
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody accused Anybody.

Have a great week…and, again, please keep us in prayer as we hold our meetings this week.

God bless and protect and care for you.

Sister Mary Lou


October 10, 2016

“’Thanksgiving’’ is the meaning of the Greek word “Eucharist.”  The attitude of thankfulness is central to Christian spirituality.  The debt of gratitude we owe for God’s faithful love can be repaid only in a two-sided coin: turning to God in thanksgiving and doing for others what has been done for us.”  These were the first words I read today in morning prayer.  Oh, how many things we have to be grateful for each day.  Let us say “Thank you” to God many times a day.  On a bright and sunny day like today, that is not hard to do!

Type into the internet “garbage dump, children, playground”.  You get a graphic picture of the meaning of ”He raises up the lowly from the dust: from the dunghill he lifts up the poor.” Psalm 113:7.  These are words from the Responsorial Psalm for today’s Mass.

Friday evening and Saturday we had an Associate/Sister Retreat day.  Sister Carmen  Barsody and Associate Veronica Rivadeneira were co-directors of the retreat.  Their leadership was greatly appreciated by the 60 of us making the retreat.

On Sunday six people were received as new Franciscan Associates.  They are: Camilo Barrera, Jan Duhnke, Steven Good, Betty Kampa Miller, Mary Poser and Mary Pull.  Welcome to our Franciscan Community.  May you and we be blessed for this new Franciscan relationship.

Tomorrow is Deanna Boone’s last day as here as Director of the Community Relations Department. She will be greatly missed as she’s been a wonderful leader of this department.  We will miss her.  Liz Rydeen is the new director.  Blessings on you, Liz, for taking on this new responsibility.  Having worked in the department, she knows some of the ropes.

This afternoon we are having a special Evening Prayer for Betty Tekin, sister of Sister Mary Amy Schreiner.  Betty died recently and Sister Mary Amy was not able to attend the funeral.

A Blood Drive is coming:  Tuesday and Wednesday, October 25 from 1 to 7 p.m. and Thursday, October 26, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.   Mark your calendars.

As another part of our 125th Anniversary celebration, we have invited women who once were members of our Community to come join us on Sunday (16th) for Mass, lunch and visiting.  They are important to us and we enjoy having them come back to visit.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Mary Lou


October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016

On Sunday Sister Irenemaree renewed her vows.  It was fitting for her to do so since
George Rodak, her father from Australia, has been visiting in the States.

On Friday evening, a capacity crowd of 420, filled both chapels for a wonderful concert titled “with gratitude” by David Haas, Marty Haugen and Michael Joncas.  These three gentlemen make beautiful music both as individuals and together.  The 32-page program included words and music to all the songs they sang…and we got to sing along on some of the songs.  This was another event to celebrate our Community’s 125th anniversary.

Yesterday we had the 21st annual Blessing of the Animals at Washington Park, a few blocks north of the Motherhouse.  There were six of us blessing each pets.  First was a short prayer service and then each pet was individually blessed.  Fittingly, the song we sang was, “All Creatures of Our God and King.”  Each pet was also given a blessed medal to be attached to their collar—for fish I guess they have to tape the medal to the fish tank!

Tonight at 7 p.m. we have a prayer service called the Transitus.  This is a prayer service Franciscans have on the eve of the feast of Saint Francis, to commemorate the death of Saint Francis.

Thursday, the 6th, we have Taize Prayer in Chapel at 7 p.m.

Friday evening and Saturday Sister Elise will be directing a retreat for persons who will make their commitment as Franciscan Associates on Sunday at the 11 a.m. Mass.

The pumpkin and squash are now harvested.  While outside on Friday, I discovered, behind the barn, a trailer filled with this beautiful garden produce.  Lots of good winter eating on that trailer.  Thank you, Sister Ruth and helpers, for all your work to make this possible.

Here’s a picture from the Peace Garden.  Since we’ve not had frost yet, everything is still beautiful!

Happy Feast of Saint Francis.  You will be remembered in our prayers.
God bless you.

Sister Mary Lou


September 26, 2016

I have quite a list of things to include in today’s blog.

First, is the news of the death of Sister Latona Kalis, age 77, who died at Clare Residence, here at the Motherhouse, on Friday, September 23, 2016.  She had had a stroke 12 days earlier.  Sister Therese Furnstahl was with Sister Latona at the time of her death.  The Franciscan Wake will be tonight at 7 p.m. in the Motherhouse Chapel.  The Mass of Christian Burial is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 11 a.m.

The 56th Annual Orphan Train Reunion was held here on Saturday, the 23rd.  There were about 60 descendants of Orphan Train riders in attendance.  The stories are so interesting.  Some of the orphans were treated so well and they had happy childhoods…and some were not so happy.

Charlie McGuire was the entertainer at Saturday’s program.  His father was an Orphan Train rider.  Charlie played guitar, sang and told stories he’d heard from his father and mother.

Steve Januschka was our guest for Mass and lunch last week when we celebrated his 93rd birthday.  A couple of his 8 children joined us.  Steve, a much loved employee, worked here for many years.

I copied the following little note from last Thursday’s Saint Cloud Times:  “You have no idea the value of your support.  A kind word, a prop, a leg-up when you are able to give this at the perfect moment, will mean more to your people that they’ll ever be able to articulate.”  That is so true.  Let’s keep it up.

The newest piece of furniture in our Sacred Heart Chapel is this lovely electronic piano donated by the Gordon William’s Family.  Thank you.

Peace and blessings.

Sister Mary Lou