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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

What Do You Know?

by Sister Jan Kilian

I had never heard of Chundra Lela until her story came up at one of our early morning prayers. Chundra lived a remarkable life searching for God in every holy shrine in India in the late 1800’s. After many years her hunger for God led her to the Christian Scriptures and she believed and was baptized. As much as possible she became what she now believed. She freely shared her faith with others and gave her material belongs to others who needed them.

Chundra’s life reminds me of another message which says, “What you know, you don’t know until you live it.” Isn’t that a powerful word to take to heart?

In his life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano has this to say about our patron: “He was no deaf hearer of the gospel; rather he committed everything he heard to his excellent memory and was careful to carry it out to the letter.”

I plan to keep this message before me in the weeks to come. I am involved in our Franciscan Sisterhood’s reflection on what it means to be a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls at this time in our history. I think I am learning all sorts of things from those Sisters who have gone before us. They were dependent on God in prayer, creative and committed to serving God and the poor, and lovingly faithful to one another. I think I “know” these things. I feel a big nudge to also live what I know. I think it is true, people can tell what we really hear and know by watching us live.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Spinach and such things.

by Sister Carolyn Law

Did you ever notice that even though cooked spinach is such a good food, it doesn't really taste so good until butter is added to it? Spinach with butter tastes very good. St. Bonaventure wrote in his work "The Journey oo the Human Person into God" that all of our senses are means to know God. We see God. We see God's beauty in nature. We hear God's beauty in the songs of birds and children. We feel God's love in the caress of a loved one. We taste God's loveliness in butter.

I am tempted to say that since butter tastes better than spinach, then butter must be more beautiful and closer to God. However, I know that the imperfection lies in my taste buds and not in the spinach. If my taste buds were more Godlike, the spinach would be equally tasty to me and equally reveal God's closeness.

Rocks are close to God too. Here is a way that not so ordinary rocks will help us out of a pickle, the global warming pickle. In the September/October issue of the Audubon magazine, the following notice is given:

Peridotite, a rock found at or just below the earth's surface, could fight global warming, according to scientists at Columbia University's Lamot-Doherty Earth Observatory. In Oman, they found that exposed peridotite reacts with carbon dioxide, absorbing up to 100,000 tons of greenhouse gas each year and transforming it into a solid mineral. By their estimates, simple, relatively inexpensive drilling and injections of pressurized CO2 could speed up the process; the exposed peridotite in Oman alone could sequester four billion tons of atmospheric carbon a year - one-seventh of the 30 billion tons the world emits annually. Every continent except perhaps Antarctica contains substantial amounts of the rock."

Rocks and hills and scientists bless our Godd!! Algae bless our God!!

Algae is being cultivated to produce biofuel. The potential is enormous. Recently there was an environmental event in Chicago and a car arrived from the Southwest, driven on the first produced biofuel gasoline from algae. There is enough potential that a small percentage of desert land could be used to produce all the gasoline that the USA needs. I am sure there are a few kinks to work out, but the knowledge base is there. Imagine our Sister Algae is helping to solve global warming and also bring an end to oil wars.

Speaking of oil wars, there is oil to the north of Afghanistan. You can view on-line a really good documentary called "Rethink Afghanistan". Its at www.rethinkafghanistan.com. Did you know that during the 1800's the Russians and the British were fighting eachother in Afghanistan? The two expanding empires bumped up against each other. Neither empire won. From 1979 to 1988, the Soviet Union tried to control Afghanistan. That is called the Soviet's Vietnam, only it was worse because they ended up bankrupt and that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Now, 20 years later, and who is fighting in Afghanistan? And are we heading toward bankruptcy?

Anyway, time to sign off. Peacemakers bless our God!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Franciscan Morning and Evening Praise

by Sister Jan Kilian

Franciscan Morning and Evening Praise is a new prayer book blessing our community.

I, personally, enjoy using the psalms, scriptural and Franciscan readings presented to us day by day. Our community here at Clare's Well uses it as we gather in our chapel either with just the three of us or with our guests, who sometimes join us.

Of particular delight to me are the weekly daily themes during what we call Ordinary Time. These are divided into the four primary values highlighted in our Franciscan Rule: Conversion of Heart, Poverty, Contemplation and Minority.

In the spirit of saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, Conversion of Heart means turning to God again and again, allowing ourselves to be drawn to our Loving Source in repentance, gratitude and worship.

Poverty calls us to remember we have nothing of our own. We live sine proprio, without property, in gratitude and trust we have all we need and can be generous in sharing.

Contemplation: that delightful uncomplicated prayer module by Francis and Clare. "My God and my all", says it all.

Minority means "to conform oneself, through a life of penance, to Christ who is the servant of God ..." Francis modeled the servant Christ in his life, recognizing all are equally mirrors of God, who is to be loved and served in all.

Our book is published by The Franciscan Federation of the Third Order Regular of the Brothers and Sisters of the U.S. That is a big long title which includes us. Our Franciscan Brothers and Sisters (including Sister Elise Saggau from Little Falls) worked together for years to bring it to birth. I can't do justice to a commentary on the prayer book in this short time. I am blessed with the daily reminders, not only of sacred scriptures which are in most prayer books, but also of reflections from Franciscan sources, including our Rule and Life, writings of Clare and Francis and others. Thank you to all who worked to bring us this nourishing collection of prayers and readings to support us as we live lives steeped in Conversion of Heart, Poverty, Contemplation and Minority.