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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lakota Friends

This past weekend my local community spent Saturday with Basil and Charlotte Brave Heart. Basil and Char are Lakota friends from the Pine Ridge reservation. They generously give of themselves to share healing ceremonies at the Lutheran Church of the Nativity in Golden Valley each spring and fall.

Lakota healing ceremonies pre date Western medicine and in many ways surpass it. The setting involves all of creation with expressed acknowledgement that we are all one with our Creator and everything/everyone. Many of our ills arise from a sense of isolation. Sitting all together in a circle, repeatedly experiencing circling rounds of blessings with sage, immersed in vibrations of the circle of drummers, voices of singers, and dancing feet, every fiber of my being felt connected.

We joined in prayer with a circle of men and one woman combat vets who came forward for cleansing of scars of war and PTSD in their lives. Minds, hearts and hands of the spiritually and physically wounded vets were touched with a sacred eagle feather as we all stood with them in song and drumming dance. In another moving ritual, anyone who mourned the loss of loved ones stepped into the center for Wiping of Tears. Each one, again with drumming, song and dance was wiped with the sacred eagle feather. Each also made an offering of blessed tobacco and drank from a bowl of sacred water. (What is 'sacred' water? All water is sacred because all water comes from a divine source.) Basil almost always retells us about his grandmother teaching him to step outside first thing each morning with an offering of water in thanksgiving to our sacred creator.

A friend of ours e-mailed the next day: "Thanks for friends to share a wonderful day. I woke up early and was sitting on the deck with a cup of coffee, the first light is coming and the birds are singing. I thought of Basil's message, just listen to the birds, see the light, feel the wind, and let that be your prayer to the Creator -- when we start saying words, our ego gets in the way." I so agree. No wonder my favorite prayer is to simply center myself in God's presence and "just be."

I sometimes think St. Francis was Lakota - Basil is so like him. We are all one. Healing comes through acknowledgement of who we really are.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Jesus has checked out of his tomb. So, why am I still in mine?

I’ve been reading post-Easter accounts of women and men who were around to experience Jesus’ death and his new life first hand. Just thinking about their experience shakes me out of my deadening familiarity with those accounts. I have to give credit to the Collegeville publication Give Us This Day and James Martin, S.J. for reminding me of Father Daniel Harrington’s 4 steps to sacred reading, Lexio Divina. Answering Harrington's four questions while meditating with recent scriptures, I see how I have held back from writing this blog for our community. How many times I've been asked to write again and refused! Too much work . . . etc.

Harrington reads and reflects on a sacred passage taking time with it in these steps:

·  What does this text say? (What’s going on here?)

·  What does that say to me? (What relevance does this text have for my daily life?)

·  What is it I want to say to God about this text? (Begin honest conversation with God.)

·  What difference will this text make in my life? (Encountering the Spirit in scripture always means some conversion and transformation if we are open to it.)

My answers made me listen to hear God’s Word and open my heart in prayer. That is the reason I am coming out of hiding and picking up writing this blog again. I say "yes", I will give.

I'm open to doing something that takes effort and "my precious time." And you know what? The air outside of that tomb is pretty refreshing.

Sister Jan Kilian