Sister Jan Kilian
I made myself a cup of tea, leaned back in the chair Sister Mary Pat trucked from the Motherhouse for me and tried to answer for myself what this Franciscan Living Blog is all about. After three months of writing, I took time to ponder what each one of us has written so far. “Living Franciscan” paints quite a stirring portrait of Little Falls, MN Franciscans. Knowing the other five women contributing to this Blog, I found myself saying, “Yeah, I see you (Michelle, Carmen, Carolyn, Cordy, Jean) in this piece! It is so you. What you say is you, but it is also me and, mysteriously, each one of us. There is nothing here I can’t identify with: Carolyn, no ordinary healer but one who delves into something magical like ‘holographic memory resolution’; Michelle, living your call to communion with heart; Carmen, living your primary values in active, expanding, compassionate heart; Cordy, praying with, listening to broken people, and being there so beautifully with your dying brother; Jean, peeling back the meaning of words we eat and breathe in Franciscan living, words and works of peace and thankfulness. Why do I know from deep within myself what each of you is talking about?
Sipping your words along with my tea, I am reminded of our annual Community Days, when all of us Sisters and Associates gather in Little Falls for some “us” time. Nearly every year, some one of us asks, “Who the dickens are we anyway?” We ask other unanswerable questions, have a good week together, and then go back to our world-wide ministries re-energized and reassured that answers aren’t the most important commodity where we are concerned. We are a rather indefinable collection of people in love with God, God’s creation, and each other: a collage of Divine composition.
Anyone reading this Blog* could be curious about what holds us together. Such curiosity has led some to come and see for themselves. We now have more Franciscan lay Associates than we ever dreamed possible, and two beautiful Mexican women have asked to join our vowed community. Aurora is a novice living with our sisters in Waite Park, MN and Isabel is a postulant, living with our sisters in San Rafael, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
So, this Blog, this collage is us, a work of art made of diverse fragments - visions, questions and experiences - held together with a common Franciscan attraction. Trying to make articulate statements of who we are as Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls is harder than clarifying who my Kilian family is: Kilians come to be Kilian by gift through birth or adoption , or choice, as in marriage. Franciscans come to be Franciscan through gift of an inner calling and through the choice to respond to that invitation. If my Kilian family ever sits together to try to define who we are as Kilians, the conversation gets pretty funny. We name ancestors and uncles and cousins and tell stories and say “Remember when”, and the inlaws say, “That’s a Kilian for you!” I think we Franciscans do our best defining work when we, too, use stories and memories which strengthen our relationships. It can be enlightening to notice when a friend or observer says, “That’s a Franciscan for you!” For reasons I don’t intellectually comprehend, I sit in this chair reading Jean, Cordy, Carolyn, Carmen, and Michelle and I can wholeheartedly say, “That’s a Franciscan for you!”
*I know at least one person, named Mike, is reading it- thank you for your comment, Mike.
Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.