Friday, December 24, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Advent calls me (you too?) to pay attention. God's work, like ours, is daily and never done. Advent (the Christian world's name for the weeks of preparation to celebrate the birth of Jesus) is a clarion call to us to give more of ourselves in response to God's consistent, "faithful as the dawn" presence. Hard as it can be, I must admit I need to be stripped of some damaged aspects of my life and redone in painstakingly small steps -- all this to be not simply restored but more so to be advanced in integrity to fully live the years to come.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friends from Camp Friendship were the first to alert us to the invasive plants, which by now are well established along the Sacred Path leading to Sabbath Pond at Clare's Well. We would like to pass this alert on to you. If you also have these plants around the edges of your property, you might want to contact your department of natural resources to learn what you can do about it.
The first thing Clare's Well staff did about the buckthorn was to accept the offer of a local youth hockey team to come on a Saturday morning and spend their October community service hours with us. With the help of borrowed brush wrenches, 15 young hockey players rooted out a good number of the problem plants. Several adults including Richard Wagner and his chain saw assisted the boys. This is a huge task! As Sister Carolyn Law says, "If you pull 100 a day, you might be rid of them in 5 years." We intend to keep at it for the sake of our precious forest.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Geri Dietz, Coordinator for the Office for Franciscan Associates and Connie Lacher, another Franciscan Associate, were two members of the Earth Healers group who presented the awards on behalf of the Franciscan Community. Others Earth Healer group members include Jeff Odendahl, and Sisters Carolita Mauer,Bernice Rieland, Janice Welle and Carol Schmit.
In the names of the 7 recipients of the Earth Citizen award, a donation was made to Give Us Wings. Give us Wings was chosen for the donation because of work they do in Kenya and Uganda to bring potable water to people who are burdened with illnesses and deaths caused by lack of clean water. See http://www.giveuswings.org/
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Stay tuned . . . .
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
In about 2004 the government of Spain moved to legalize immigrants who were in Spain illegally. Some reasons for legalization were economic. I read at the time, however, that a large concern was what happened to Spanish citizens when they were bent on ridding their country of "those people." They were truly bent humans, bent out of shape, distorting God-made wholeness and dignity. I want to work with Jeff, who is putting his shoulder to the wheel to lead U. S. citizens to stand tall in the fullness of wisdom, faith and humility in regard to our place in sharing the God-given gift of Earth.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I think of this when I consider families who move, not just from place to place in the same country, but here from a foreign country. How much more difficult their experience than mine when the language, customs, and color of skin are different. New immigrants have become the subject of my prayers and study over the years. We are approaching May 1, a day to pray for all workers, including the many we sometimes reject. I'd like to share this prayer I have adapted from a website for the Interfaith Immigration Coalition:
I will light a light in the name of the Son, the refugee, migrant, undocumented Christ, who stretched out his hand to all people of the world.
I will light a light in the name of God who lit the world and breathed the breath of life into all people.
I will light a light in the name of the Spirit who embraces the world and migrates with each and every one of us.
I will light a light in the name of every undocumented person living in the shadow praying for life and a way to sustain life.
I will light a light of hope that will shine in the darkness and illuminate the day when no one in this country will have to live in the shadows, when we will find the way to welcome strangers.
God, you have made yourself known in Jesus Christ, born as a migrant, exiled as a refugee, murdered by the rightous. Teach us to love the strangers in our land as we build communities rooted in your hospitality and justice. Teach us to love as we would have you love us. Give us the courage to befriend one another. Teach us the words we need to speak as we call for humane immigration legislation in our country. Amen.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
One power image of Jesus for me is my classmate, our Sister Deborah, who is dying with cancer and who awhile ago shared that her dying is truly an agonizing process. Her statement of pain was accompanied by another statement of her desire to go through this process with as much grace and peace as humanly possible. This is my first experience of hearing a dying person speak so articulately about what is going on for her. Deb and I have previously spoken of our impatience with process. We'd rather have projects of whatever stripe designed and expedited quickly and efficiently. "Process" takes time we could use for getting something "done." So it is with some humor that she tells me dying is a process.
Who of us doesn't want to be in control and to be able to make her or his own choices? Deb says when one has always been able to make sure her own soup was served hot, it is a stretch to have to eat lukewarm soup. In the simplest things, there is little that is more difficult than to trust one's physical care to others. Nobody can ever plump my pillow just right either. How will it be when I can't do it for myself? When one's hearing is so sharp she "can hear grass grow," how is it to be stuck in a room with noisy people-traffic just outside your door? What do you do while you are waiting in pain for the next dose of relief? What is the inner fruit when you patience grows with practice week after week, week after week? Mother/Father God, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Sister Mary Ellen was 13 years my senior. I suppose that was more significant for me in our early days together; in more recent years, we were the same age. We had walked together through deaths of each others parents and siblings and through multiple changes in our Franciscan community as well as in the world at large. When I consider the very large hole her absence leaves in my life, I am also aware of what she bequeathed to all of us:
- a model of humble service - she accepted any task she was assigned, be it bookkeeping, administration, finance, or prayer from her room in hospice.
- a model of fidelity to prayer, to community, to family and friends. She could be counted on to "be there."
- a model of integrity, a woman of her word.
- a model of balanced living, enjoying music, games, and visiting as well as work and prayer.
- a model of a vowed religious. She clung to no material possession. She gave her all for our health care facilities when we had them and led us in letting go of them when the time was ripe to turn them over to others.
- a model of foresight in developing the talents of lay co-workers. She was the first of our Sister hospital administrators to give that position over to a lay man.
We are honored to count her as one of our Sisters.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
This recipe makes nearly two ice cream pails of crackers. They keep very well for a long time. In February, we are still enjoying some from Christmas.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Two weeks have passed since the heart wrenching earthquake which devastated much of Haiti. The news is beginning to fade yet efforts to attend the wounded, the homeless, the grieving continue. Emergency aid continues to be needed for the near future. Then the important long term work of rebuilding will need to be sustained.
Bill Moyers essay on Haiti aired January 22, 2010 on his PBS program is worth watching and can be accessed at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01222010/profile3.html. In his essay, he points out the callous idiocy of TV evangelist Pat Roberson assessment that this earthquake happened because Haiti had supposedly sold its soul to the devil in order to overthrow the French colonizers. The French had run Haiti as a slave colony to produce coffee, sugar and tobacco for Europeans. When the slaves revolted and drove out the French, Thomas Jefferson, U.S. president and author of the declaration of independence, refused to recognize the government of Haiti.
Moyers also criticizes the honorable David Brooks, political pundit of the New York Times, for assessing the Haitian nation as “progress resistant” among other disparaging remarks. Moyers then goes on to more accurately relate the history of exploitation and oppression by outside and inside forces in this small nation, the poorest in the hemisphere.
The theology that poverty, sickness, or misfortune is a punishment for one’s sin is a mistaken one. In contrast, the theology of liberation which sprung from reading the Gospel through the eyes of the poor preaches a theology of compassion on the part of God. God is the one who hears the cry of the poor and acts to right injustices, inequality and suffering.
In the daily prayer of the Church, we pray the hymn of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, because it is an accurate and poetic summary of the message and mission of Jesus, the Christ. This hymn of praise is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1. It seems right to pray it now in the midst of the many crises in our country—the disorder in our banks and economy, the fight over healthcare, the vitriolic hyperbole of an election year. Place yourself in the shoes of someone who is poor or beaten down as you savor the message of Mary’s prayer.
CANTICLE OF MARY
My being proclaims your greatness,
And my spirit finds joy in you, God my Savior.
For you have looked upon me, your servant, in my lowliness;
All ages to come shall call me blessed.
God, you who are mighty, have done great things for me.
Holy is your name.
Your mercy is from age to age toward those who fear you.
You have shown might with your arm
And confused the proud in their inmost thoughts.
You have deposed the mighty from their thrones
And raised the lowly to high places.
The hungry you have given every good thing
While the rich you have sent away empty.
You have upheld Israel your servant, ever mindful of your mercy
Even as you promised our ancestors;
Promised Abraham, Sarah, and their descendents forever.
(Translation Psalms Anew)
MAY IT BE SO!
Friday, January 15, 2010
My heart and prayer are with friends in Apawas, Nicaragua these days. Sisters Carol Schmit and Grace Skwira are working in this makeshift medical clinic with Dr. Ron and Kay Brown, dispensing love and support along with medicines. They and 18 other Minnesotans are led to this area each January by our Franciscan missionary friend, Father Ted Niehaus, who works with 75-plus scattered villages in remote areas of Nicaragua. Volunteers of all ages endure the rugged travel and meager living conditions to work with him and to build relationships with these Nicaraguan brothers and sisters. This year only 5 of the group of 20 are first-timers. (Photo: L-R Sister Carol Schmidt, Fr. Ted Niehaus, Sister Grace Skwira)
Monday, January 11, 2010
I wish each of you blessings as we begin a new year. And may we know the blessings which we have already.
Last month I was able to travel to Arizona to visit Sr. Ange Mayers. I had visited her there some years ago and always wanted to return for another immersion into the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in the heart of the Sonoran desert of Southwest USA. Sr. Ange will be leaving her ministry there soon and so I needed to go or forego the experience. Fortunately I had some frequent flyer miles to use up and so I made the time for this trip.
Sr. Ange has lived and ministered among the Tohono O’odham people for over 15 years. This is in addition to her previous ministry of ten years in Tucson with the Yaqui and Tohono O’odham. I have known Ange since we served together in Venezuela back in the late 1980’s. Still I was very impressed with her poise, presence and persistence in living with deep faith, love and patience amidst challenging circumstances.
Ange’s place of ministry lies 120 miles west of Tucson. So while there is much beauty in the desert and in the people, there is also harshness, solitude, and suffering. There is the beauty of the large saguaro cacti, the sunrise and sunsets, the quiet of the starlit nights, and the surprise of many birds in the arid landscape. There is the beauty of the native people who live close to the earth, with authenticity and simplicity. There is the harshness of poverty, the too often suicides or early deaths, and the scarcity of resources for jobs and education. She has walked with the people there ministering a religious promoter, facilitating leadership training for parish members, teaching faith formation for families, adapting sacramental preparation to the needs of the people, and promoting growth in mental health. Most of all she has been a Franciscan presence, being first of all a sister to her brothers and sisters living in this part of the earth. To read a more see Ange’s brief autobiography our web site under “Meet the Sisters” at www.fslf.org.
Visiting Ange was a blessing that I continue to treasure. There are many things and people for which to be grateful as well. I am grateful for family, friends, my Sisters in community. I am grateful my work in the healing ministry and for all of the gifted healers that work to heal the wounds of the earth and her people. I am grateful the sun, and the moon, the air, the earth and for fire. The following prayer is a little long for a blog but seems so appropriate to share at this moment. It is a prayer written by St. Francis toward the end of his life and demonstrates Francis’ mystical union with God and all God’s creation.
The Canticle of the Creatures
Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong, and no human is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures, especially Sir Brother Son, who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor; and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind, and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather, through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom You light the night, and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love, and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will, for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.