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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

SAVE DATE: June 9, 2013

Life moves in moments that somehow turn into years, and somehow turn into whole lives.  None of this happens without the "moments," which we so take for granted and unfortunately can't begin to pay due attention.  In the moment captured above, Clare's Well staff, (Sister Paula, Carol, and I with Roxanne Wagner (taking the photo) met with Joan Pauly-Schneider (center) and Ginny Belden-Charles (far right) to consider how we might pause, pay attention to and celebrate 25 years of quite amazing moments at Clare's Well. 

June 9, 2013 marks the actual anniversary of Sisters Carol Schmit and Aggie Soenneker moving into the farmhouse on this land, June 9, 1988.  How can we best gather the energy of guests who will come to an open house June 9th?  It is one thing to review the past; it is something else to open the present moment as a door to the future.  This is the threshold of the coming quarter century.  We call the celebration an "open house."  So . . . .? ? ?  Come cross the threshold with us.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Free At Last

Free at Last was an eye-opening half day on Human Trafficking in Minnesota.  Most startling was the FBI statistic ranking Minnesota as 13th in trafficking of children.  Children from all social classes are at risk.  Rich children have as much access to internet as anyone, though families in poverty are at higher risk with parents sometimes selling daughters -- the average age of entry into trafficking for sex is 8 to 11 years old. 

A large problem is the stigma of being a victim, a "prostitute."  With our values and priorities selling and purchasing sex carries less shame than being sold for sex.  Young girls are damaged for life and fear speaking up because of shame.  Parents need to learn the signs of abuse and realize "it can happen in our family."  Religious families are not exempt:  one 10 year old was invited by a 14 year old to a "prayer group" where she was gang raped a block and a half from home.  Shame and fear kept the secret.  One therapist told me that 80% of her drug addicted clients were sexually abused as children.

Interim St. Cloud Chief of Police, Richard Wilson, discussed the difficulty of prosecuting crimes of trafficking either for sex or labor because of the many agencies involved.  Usually perpetrators are working in multiple states and sometimes across national borders.  Homeland Security, Drug and Alcohol agencies may also be involved and the investigations are long.  It is important for law enforcement personnel to develop trusting relationships with communities and for friends and family members to report any suspicious activitity to intervene on behalf of victims.

Human trafficking is based on economics.  A pimp with 5 girls doing 15 $100.00  'tricks' a day can make $7,500.00 a day.  They have ways of keeping their girls loyal to them.  Minnesota has a higher than average level of income and there are more buyers available here.  Our port city of Duluth serves users on incoming ships.  There is no stigma on the users.  "Boys will be boys!" 

How much longer will we take it???   Free At Last was a program sponsored by Hands Across the World in St. Cloud, MN to begin the dialog and to educate.    Multiple local organizations partnered to make this possible.  I pray it will make a large difference.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Is New Life

Everyone is talking about the resurrection taking place outdoors now with green grass in March and even the lilacs budding! Sister Carol brought some apple tree branches into our meditation chapel and we are enjoying blossoms. The willow tree looks so green and the tulips are 6 inches high. I love the predictability of the seasons -- they do make their statements faithfully every year -- even though they don't necessarily follow any of our calendars.
We talk about the "new life" all around us and within us. I even cleaned my room today! (That's something to mark on the calendar.) What is this burst of new life? Whatever it is, I'm grateful. I hope you are enjoying it too. Happy preparation for Easter.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Joy in Pain?

This week Bill Moyers interviewed poet, Christian Wiman, who held us spell-bound as he shared his experience of deepening faith since receiving a fatal diagnosis. ". . . faith is folded into change, is the mutable and messy process of our lives rather than any fixed, mental product," he said. My current experience of being with family as my niece lives into her third week on a ventilator, opened me to hear Christian's description of how God's Incarnate life with us is terrible in pain as well as in exquisite joy. "We grieve the reality of our loss, not the loss of our reality." "This is why," Christian continues, "even in moments of joy, part of that joy is the seams of ore that are our sorrow." "For many people God is simply a gauze applied to the wound of not knowing, when in fact that wound has bled into every part of the world, is bleeding now in a way that is life if we acknowledge it, death if we don't." "Christ is contingency." (Those are challenging words.) "Christ's life is right now," not by any necessity other than who he is and who we are.

Friday, February 17, 2012

More on Gratitude

Here is the poem I had sent to June.
It doesn't fit into what she was looking for.
So, I can share it with you:
Thank you God,
for the seed of gratitude which
an innocuously tiny act of kindness
planted in my heart.
Sown so secretly, by surprise
it rooted beneath my awareness.
Now, a tree of thanks spreads
limbs of potential
for a harvest of friendship.

Gratitude is, indeed, a very powerful gift with infinite potential.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Week of Gratitude Thoughts

Or, a week of thoughts about gratitude. This week I received an invitation to write a prayer of gratitude.

This prayer would be for possible inclusion in a book author, June Cotner, is preparing. June previously published a book of "Graces." We sometimes page through that book before a meal to find a grace prayer that might open new doors of awareness of the gifts which surround us.

As I am thinking about gratitude, I am more aware than ever of interactions that arouse grateful feelings in my heart. I notice that when I'm busy doing whatever I think is so important, I let kind words pass right by! Today, for example, another guest said some very lovely words about her stay at Clare's Well. Instead of, "Yes, I know what you mean," I made myself really listen to her. This might not sound like much, but it was quite profound for me. I saw her and heard her on a level that I usually let pass under my conscious radar. I noticed not only her gratitude, but also mine. What a lovely, lovely shared moment I almost missed.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bonding Through Retreat

Here are women who would lay down

their lives for each other, and

for you, too.

Want to nuture such relationships?

Spend a retreat together.

These five Sisters - Ruth Lentner, Carolyn Law, Michelle L'Allier, Ange Mayers, and Isabel Berrones Morales began 2012 with Paula, Carol and Jan at Clare's Well for a week of prayer and sharing materials on Franciscan Discernment: how do we hear the will of God in our lives? The three of us 'elders' couldn't have appreciated this experience more.

I look at this photo of five of our younger members seeking the voice of God in their Franciscan lives, and I see God's face and heart. The evident love and commitment, joy in each other, hope and faith in an unknown future can only come from the impossible, non-practical Spirit we all share. None of us has clarity about what and where our community will be twenty years from now; we don't need to know the details. We know the heart and spirit.