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