April17, 2017—Easter Monday


One of the Intercessions from Morning Prayer today is:  Lord, as we begin this week of service, sustain us in the JOY of Easter.  (What a good thing to pray for and to live each day.)  And another intercession is: “Bless all agricultural workers and farmers, especially family farmers, and bless the soil as it accepts the gift of new seed in this hopeful springtime”…  Another very good thing to pray for.

Sister Elizabeth (Betty) Martell, age 89, died Holy Saturday afternoon, April15, 2017, at 4:42 p.m. in her room in Clare Residence, here at the Motherhouse.  Visitation is after 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.  The Franciscan Wake is at 7 p.m.  Mass of Christian Burial is Friday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m.  Sister Betty’s sister, Sister Jeanette Martell, died November 14, 2011. 

This week (April 17 to 21) is Severe Weather Awareness Week.  We will be participating in the State-wide Tornado Watch on Thursday, the 20th, beginning at 1:00 p.m.  At 1:45 a Tornado Alert will be announced over the P.A. and the sirens will be sounded.  At that time all who are able will gather in the tunnel until the “all clear”: is announced.  Those who can’t go to the tunnel will go to a hallway away from windows. 

Thursday, April 20th, at 2 p.m. we will have an Earth Day Prayer Service in St. Francis Hall.

Friday, April 21, at 7:30 the Legacy Chorale will gift us with a concert in Chapel.  There will be a preconcert Dialogue starting at 7:10.

On April 22nd the Secular Franciscans will have their spring Retreat in St. Francis Hall.

Sunday, April 23rd is Divine Mercy Sunday.

There will be an Orchestra Concert at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 28, in the Chapel.

May 7th at 2 p.m. we will have the Spring Choral Concert  in the Chapel.

Blessings on all of  you this Easter Week.

Sister Mary Lou


February 27, 2017

This morning we had the funeral for Sister Mary Evangeline Stanoch, age 95, who died Thursday, February 23, 2017.  She was the last of the 10 siblings to join her parents in heaven.  We had a good “send-off” for her with many nieces, nephews and other family members joining us Sisters for the Mass of Christian Burial.

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.  Tomorrow, Tuesday,  the day before Lent starts, is Donut Day here at the Convent.  It is a long-time tradition in our Community to serve home-made, fresh donuts to everyone this day.  On Wednesday we get serious about Lent—mostly by prayer for the many needs of the people of the world and for peace in the world and amongst the peoples of the world.

March 1st is the anniversary of the Founding of our Community.  This year we will celebrate it the day before because the 1st is Ash Wednesday.  I thank God for those 16 women, who in 1891, got permission from the Bishop to start this new Franciscan community in central Minnesota.  We are now 126 Sisters ministering in 7  States and  in Mexico and  South America.

Last Tuesday we had a party to celebrate the retirement of Sister Jean Schwieters as Liturgist and Choir Director and Sister Joel Bieniek as Sacristan and Flower Arranger for many years.


I recently took pictures of our three eldest elders: Sister Joel Bieniek is 99, Sister Bernarda Sanoski is 100 and Sister Fabian Schneider is 101.

Thursday is the birthday of Dr. Seuss (born in 1904).  This author wrote many books for children-- and that adults also enjoy.  My favorite is To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.  When was the last time you read a children’s book?  It’s good for your heart and your soul.

Peace and blessings as you celebrate Lent.
Sister Mary Lou


February 20, 2017

PRESIDENTS” DAY.  Let us all pray for our president and all governmental leaders.  They need it.  We need it.

“Temps flirt with 60s” is the headline in today’s paper.  It’s hard to believe that is a February day.  One has to look hard to find a snow pile to find a snow pile anywhere.  I do believe we will still get another blast of winter weather.  And right now we have a steady rain.  I wonder when it will turn to snow.

Sister Donna finished this 1,000-piece puzzle last week.  It is a beauty.  Because of the irregular shape it took a little longer than usual to complete…but well worth the effort!

And here is another 1,000 piece puzzle that took a while to complete…and another beautiful work of art.

I’m reading the book The Crazy Quilt by Ruth Jesness Tweed and came across this little verse that says it well:

My prayer for you, my readers, is that God bless and continue to care for you.


Sister Mary Lou


February 7, 2017

Last Saturday’s Soup Supper is now a memory.  We served 1,043 bowls of soup in the dining room and had 60 servings to go to homes off campus.  The soups were delicious.  The conversations and visiting were wonderful to see and hear.  The weather was conducive to making one want to have good, hot soup.  Thanks to the cooks for their fine work.  Thanks to all who worked to make it a successful event.  The proceeds went to help music students and participants in the Health and Wellness programs.

From my observations, it looks to be a quiet week.  And that is good.  After so many activities, it’s nice to have some catch-up time.

One day last week, Carol brought in her “good dishes” and we Sisters on Second Floor had a nice Tea Party.  The little cakes were delicious and the company was great, too.

I found this blessing on a card and thought it good for all of us.  “May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.”

God bless you and those you love (and the ones you have a hard time with, too.)


Sister Mary Lou


January 30, 2017

It’s almost the end of January.  We have very little snow on the ground at this time…but I think some is forecast to come in the next couple days.  Thursday is Groundhog Day.  Regaurdless,  if the creature sees his shadow or not, I think we’ll still have 6 more weeks of Winter.

Yesterday afternoon, St. Francis Music Center presented the Honors Concert, a program featuring 16 of their most accomplished students.  Wow!  Are they every good!  We heard piano, violin, flute, cello, and vocal presentations.  I praise God for the talents of these youth and their willingness to share them with us.  Sacred Heart Chapel was nicely filled with an appreciative audience.

Last Tuesday, 24th, we had our Appreciation dinner and celebrated the 16 employees who have worked here for 5, 10, 15, 25 and 30 years.  We have such wonderful employees!  Thanks to each of you for your faithful service.

On Saturday, the Franciscan Community Volunteers, who live and work in the Saint Cloud area, came for a few hours in the afternoon to play BINGO with the Sisters and then served us a treat, too.  These young men and women give a year of their time to volunteer at a non-profit facility.  God bless them for their dedication.  They live with the  Sisters at the Welcoming House in Saint Cloud.

We have a new employee here on Second Floor (the Care Center).  To welcome Trevor, Sister Maurita wrote words to a song that we sang for him:  God bless dear Trevor/  Keep him well and true./ Stand beside him and guide him/ Through the ups and downs of the job/ Through the good times and the hard times/  But we’ll pray for you./ God bless Trevor, Our newfound friend. God bless Trevor in his new found job.

Monthly we have what we call “enLUNCHment.”  It is a time for Sisters to share about their life and ministry. (It’s great to hear the information while they are still alive rather than at their Wake Service!)  Last Wednesday Sister Therese Furnstahl, Franciscan Sister for 73 years, shared her story.  She had interesting stories from her years in health care and home care work.

God bless you.  Make it a great week.

Sister Mary Lou


January 23, 2017

Today is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children – A very good thing to pray for.  In my little reflection book, Living Faith, Sister Macrina Wiederkehr. OSB, reminds us that “Evil spelled backwards is live.”  (I’d not thought of that before.) We need to live life with a positive outlook, free of worry and fear…and work for that same blessing for all people.

We have a new President of the United States.  In another context, Red (in the comic strip Red & Rover) says”…with Great Power comes Great Responsibility.” Let us keep President Trump and our political leaders in our prayers.

I am listening to Party Line on our local radio station.  They just reminded me that next week is Catholic Schools Week.  Catholic Schools are dear to my heart, since my professional life was working in Catholic Schools.  God bless parishes that have and support Catholic Schools.  God bless the teachers, students and parents and their boards of Education.

Last week—Monday through Friday-- we had a Retreat for Sisters going on here at the Motherhouse.  The retreat director was a Franciscan  Friar, Father Chuck Faso.  Retreat participants liked the retreat and I liked his homilies at daily Mass.

Tomorrow evening we have a special meal and program as part of our Employee  Appreciation event.  Many employees will be recognized for their years of  service.  More about that next week.

Next Sunday, January 29th, the Music Center is hosting an Honors Concert.  This concert features 16 of the Music Center’s most accomplished students.  They will share their talents in playing violin, piano, flute and cello.  The concert is free and open to the public.  Robyn Gray, Music Center Director, says, “I encourage you to come.”  I’ll be there.

Have a good week.
Peace and blessings on you.
Sister  Mary Lou



January 9, 2017

We KNOW we are in the season of winter.  We’ve had about 4 to 6 inches of snow the last couple days and by Thursday we should have minus 30 degree temperatures.  We've already had a minus 28 so minus 30 isn’t that much colder.  We can take it.

Today is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the end of the Christmas season.  The Catholic Church Calendar goes to Ordinary time tomorrow. Today there are ladders and boxes everywhere as the Christmas decorations get packed away for 11 months.

We had another successful Red Cross Blood Drive lasts week. We received 248 units of blood…another 25 people who came to donate were turned away because their blood was low.  God bless all generous donors and workers who make it possible for the Blood Drive to happen.

On Saturday we Sisters had our Christmas celebration.  With all the activities all around, we have our special prayer, singing from the “Black Books, and goodies after the 1st.  The Black Books are old books containing some of our favorite songs “from long ago.”  Always there are good stories to share.  When I get it typed up I will send out the story of the Selfish Giant.  It is my favorite Christmas-time story.

Next week, 16th through 20th, we have a Sisters Retreat going on… so it will be quite quiet around here.  Those of us not making the retreat work to keep the noise level down out of respect for the retreatants.

Stay healthy and spread happiness wherever you are.

God bless you.

Sister Mary Lou


January 5, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR.  “We are all on a journey, each day unsure of what’s around the next bend.  But uncertainty doesn’t have to be scary.  As people of faith, we know that we are always loved by God in in God’s care.  What are my hopes and dreams for the New Year?  Ask the Lord to guide you each day in the year ahead.”  (Living Faith, pages 1-2)

On Saturday, December 31st, we had a Peace Prayer Service.  The Opening Prayer said it well:  We praise You, O God, for your presence with us, for your constant care and concern for us, for You Mercy.  Open our eyes, our ears and our hearts to the truth and beauty around us.  Make us aware also of what does not reflect You, but demeans Your Creation; war, oppression, violence and prejudice of any kind.  Give us wisdom and courage to witness to the peace that comes from You and from following  Your Gospel way. Amen.

The annual Convent Caring by Sharing Project this year, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters, Emp[oyees and Friends, collected $1,815 to assist Tool Shed.  (Most of us had never even heard of Tool Shed before this.)  “Tool Shed is a group that assists teaching life skills to women in transition specifically following incarceration.  Tool Shed promotes weekly support groups to ex-offenders and their families, helping them rebuild their lives and relationships with Morrison county at-risk families.  Assisting at-risk families is the most effective way to break the cycle, building a strong, heathy foundation on which to build an improved life style.”  (Morrison County Record, Page12, Section B, December, 2016)

The Bloodmobile is here today (1 to7 p.m.) tomorrow (1 to 7 p.m.) and Friday (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.)  God bless all those who are willing to share their life-blood with those who need it.  And God bless the men and women who work for the Red Cross in this life saving project.  From the number of waiting donors in St. Francis Hall right now, they should have no problem in meeting their goal, whatever it is—every bed is occupied and every chair has someone on it.  I was concerned that the extreme cold weather would keep people at home.  It has not!

I make a point to visit the veterans cemetery every year. A wreath in placed on every grave site, it is very beautiful!

Walk in love.  Live in Light.  And never lose hope.

Keep safe and warm.’
Peace and blessings

Sister Mary Lou