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.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Home Alone?

This weekend my companions, Sisters Carol Schmit and Paula Pohlmann, are in Milwaukee attending the Franciscan Federation annual conference with other Franciscans from across the U.S.  It is a special event this year as we honor past presidents of this organization.  These past presidents include Sister Paula and Sister Rose Mae Rausch of our Little Falls community.  They will be honored for encouragement, leadership and guidance provided by them personally over the years.

Many Little Falls, Minnesota sisters have made wonderful contributions to this Federation -- in addition to Sisters Paula and Rose Mae, I think of Sister Maristell Schannan who helped author the document, Go To My Brethren, a transitional guide for Franciscans around the changes called for by  theVatican II Council. Sister Elise Saggau authored a history of the Federation, taught Franciscan theology at St. Bonaventure's University and edited numerous publications to uncover more early Franciscan writings.  We have always had active representation, such as Sister Joanne Klinnert, in planning and guiding Federation activities for the past number of  years.

I would have enjoyed attending, especially to celebrate Sisters Paula and Rose Mae.  I am home for two reasons:  #1.  I already spent two weeks of travel and spiritual nourishment this year when I attended the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction in Tucson this spring. We need to share our resources for these kinds of experiences.   #2.  One of us should be here with you know who pictured below.
Being home with Roxy is a blessing for me, especially during this time of the summer when everything is beautiful and green around our house.  Caring for a dog encourages a caregiver to get outdoors and receive lessons on enjoying all there is out there.  Roxy doesn't miss a thing and you can see how beautiful she is.  What a gift.

Being home alone is much like being on retreat.  The quiet and unstructured days offer time and quiet for prayer and reading.  I just finished David Brooks, The Road to Character.  Brook's examination of the lives of 8 men and women uncovers qualities and moral values shaped through years to provide lives with finished products of "character" suitable for handing over to God in their final days.

I am particularly nourished by Brook's final comments on vocation.  He says, "No good life is possible unless it is organized around a vocation. . . . A vocation is found by looking within and finding your passion.  It is found by looking without and asking what life is asking of us.  What problem is addressed by an activity you intrinsically enjoy?"  This is food for thought while home alone with God and a dog.                              

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sisters Vow for Life

"Llamo a los que El quiso, yellos vinieron a El" - "Jesus called those He wanted and they came to Him."  So stated the theme of Profession for our newest Sisters:  Aurora Tovar Rodriguez and Maria Isabel (Isa)  Berrones Morales. Aurora and Isa heard the voice of Jesus while living with our U.S. members in San Raphael Galeana Nuevo Leon Mexico a number of years ago.  On Friday, May 27, 2016 the rafters of our Sacred Heart Chapel in Little Falls, Minnesota U.S.A. rattled with joy and gratitude in celebration as these two women vowed to live as Franciscan Sisters all the days of their lives.

As is customary, our Community Minister receives the vows of Sisters.  Here Sister Bea Eichten stands with her commitment of support after the Mass and vow ceremony with Sisters Aurora and Isa.

Behind them is the portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of Mexico.  Indeed the chapel was filled with images familiar to Sisters Isa and Aurora:

These dancers are just some of the many friends who now live in central Minnesota.  Before returning to live and minister in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, our newest members lived a year or more with our Minnesota Sisters and served as teachers and social workers among the immigrants living in communities around Little Falls.  These families grew to love the Sisters and turned out in large numbers for their celebration of vows at the Convent.  You can't imagine the joy filling all of our hearts!  We are One Body.  We are One Spirit.