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, March 14, 2010

The Gift of Years Together

When I was a Franciscan novice, 55 years ago, we were so many novices our director had to expand the usual realm of places for us to work. There weren't enough jobs within the walls of the convent for our large class. I was placed in the medical records department at nearby St. Gabriel's Hospital. It was there that I met Sister Mary Ellen Dinndorf, director of the Business Office, located next door to Medical Records. She, along with other hospital sisters, took me under her wing to teach this fledgling what it meant to be a Franciscan out "in the world." She continued to walk with me as Sister and Friend all these years until her death March 13, 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.

1 comment:

Sr. Ann Marie said...

My sympathy on the loss of your sister. What a blessing she was--and I'm sure will continue to be to your congregation and to all who knew her.