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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Just To Be A Friend

When your friend is hurting and there isn't anything you can do to take away the hurt, what can you do?
I remember times when I wasn't feeling well and our dog, Lacy, would come over and sit close to me. A child will do that sometimes, too. They seem to know enough not to try to "fix it" when such an effort on their part would only add to my discomfort. There are times when we need someone to simply be with us as a caring being whether or not they can do anything to make us feel better.
This week we have discovered that Lacy's vision is severely impaired. She walks into doorframes and furniture, appears confused and tentative in her movements, and there isn't anything our veterinarian knows of that can be done to change her condition. He recommends that we have Lacy examined by a canine eye specialist whom he knows. For now, I am thinking about what it means to befriend a possibly blind dog. If you know me, you know I want to protect her and keep her safe in ways that might only limit her more and not be helpful at all.

I have heard of several blind dogs this weekend, all of whom are healthy and adjusted to their limited eyesight. It seems that the weeks ahead will be a time of learning not only for Lacy, but for all of us. May St. Francis, dear friend of all of God's creatures, be with our sister Lacy and all of us who want to do what is best for her.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

When Sisters Die

I've had several occasions lately to consider the necessity of grieving. I do not do it well, sometimes not at all. When things are painful, I shift into low gear and keep going. Then, one fine morning I wake up feeling very tired and I wonder why.

We had a guest at Clare's Well recently who came for "time out." He shared that his wife is in the end stages of breast cancer. His grief was deep, buried in his effort to "be there for her."
It was the day after he left that I sat with myself and realized I felt very sad for him. The deluge of my tears, however, was out of proportion to my concern for him and his wife. I was startled as I journaled to see I hadn't connected with the fact that a few days earlir I'd visited two Sister friends in Little Falls who are dying. Sister Deb is my classmate and oftimes vacation companion. Sister Mary Ellen has been my mentor and friend from my first days in community over 50 years ago. Two who have been so significant in my own life's journey are about to die. How am I responding to this impending loss? I visited them and more or less "left them in Little Falls."

As Sister Sharon chided during a recent discussion on how we handle the deaths of so many of our Sisters (about ten a year), "We bury them and go back to work!" We are faced death and grief all around. I am as guilty as anyone of swallowing hard and "getting on with life." Once I realized that was exactly what I was doing now, I shared with Sisters Carol and Paula about how sad I feel for the inevitable deaths of Deb and Mary Ellen. I do better not trying to grieve alone. I see how debilitating it is to "stuff' sadness. Thanks to our guest who shared his grief with us and helped me get in touch with my own. I am still very sad, but I know I am and I have a little more bounce in my step, too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homemade Crackers

We Sisters enjoy making foods from scratch. However, making homemade crackers is a bit new for me. Here I am, making something called Flatbread which turns out to be delicious crackers. I serve them just for a snack or with a dip. (You can see by the picture, that I use quite a bit of flour (on my apron and on the counter) for rolling out this rather sticky dough.) Here is the recipe I got when I took a Community Ed class:
2 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Mix the dry ingredients with the butter as for piecrust. Add the buttermilk. Mix. Roll into a log, wrap in wax paper, and chill for a couple of hours.
Cut the log into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin round --about as thin as wax paper. (I find it works best to keep most of the pieces of the log in the refrigerator while rolling and baking one at a time so the dough doesn't get too sticky.)
Place rolled out piece on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Score (cut) with a pizza cutter so results will be small crackers. Bake in 350 degree oven until lightly browned (about 10 - 12 minutes.) Cool on cooling rack. Enjoy.

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.