Franciscan community members, Associates and vowed members of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN are rekindling fires of enthusiasm to bring about what it is God wants of us in the future. Fifty-some men and women Associates and Sisters from the St. Cloud, MN region met recently for this purpose. We were successful in firing up enthusiasm. Sometimes it was hard to get a word in edgewise. That's a beginning step for a long road ahead.
Many religious communities find themselves in circumstances such as we find ourselves: we are no longer grounded in the familiar works of institutional health care and education for which the world needed us in times gone by. We are fewer members with more diverse ministries facing an unknown future. I am aware that I am not afraid for us, but I am challenged by the need to focus the multitude of ideas being expressed in our regional gatherings. When will our next steps be clear? I pray for wisdom and patience as we sort out all the many factors needing to be considered.
Should we divest ourselves of unused space sooner rather than later? Should we find new ways to maintain and use our currently unused space? Should we collaborate with others (and if so, with whom?) to expand some of our more unique services? What/who is it God is inviting us to be and do in today's world which is so different from the one we have known?
Sisters Bea Eichten, Rose Margaret Schneider, and Mary Hrosickoski served as facilitators to help our St. Cloud regional members articulate our hopes and dreams as we walk from yeasterday to tomorrow together.