Curious about Franciscan Sisters’ Typical day e.g. Gila River Reservation

by Sister Julie Ann on November 8, 2009

Since conversations with young women often include curiousity about ‘what a typical day is like’, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity hope to answer that question with yet another posting on the life of their Sisters. The Franciscan Sisters serving at St. Peter’s Indian Mission, Bapchule, AZ, promise to share their lives on the Gila River Reservation and beyond.

Sister Martha Mary Carpenter, OSF (AKA Sister Martha), Sister Barbara Jean Butler, OSF, Sister Carol Mathe, OSF, Sister Elaine Turba, OSF, Sister Juana Lucero, OSF, Sister Linda Brandes, OSF, and Sister Thereselle Arruda, OSF will take turns commenting to ensure a multi-perspective approach. The Gila River Indian Community is located approximately 34 miles south of the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. All of the Sisters live in a convent near the school.

So Sisters, what do you do all day?

8 thoughts on “Curious about Franciscan Sisters’ Typical day e.g. Gila River Reservation”

  1. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    I am a Franciscan Sister working on the Gila River Reservation. Our typical day begins very early in the day, as I pray until 5:00 am when we go over to get the school in readiness for the day. At 6:30 am the seven Sisters here at St. Peter Indian Mission pray the Divine Office together. Then by 7:15 am we are all in school doing our specific jobs. For me that entails preparing my work to teach Science in the Junior High and Computer classes during the rest of the day. At 7:30 am the total school community gathers in Church for morning prayer followed by breakfast for the students. By 8:30 am all of us are in our respective classrooms.
    Our school day ends with going home prayer at 3:15 pm and then board the buses to go home for the students. One day a week each Sister is responsible for preparing the evening meal, otherwise we spend time in school getting ready for the next day. At 5:30 pm all of the Sisters again gather for community prayer to recite the Divine Office of Evening Praise. Supper follows where there is usually a hearing of our day and some unique experiences we may have that day. Our evening is spent correcting papers.
    The pictures that you see on the blog are of our students as they participated in a cultural sharing for a celebration on November 5th. The celebration began with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Olmsted with Fr. Ed Meulemans and Fr. Dale Jamieson concelebrating with him. Afterwards our students performed some of their cultural dances. Our younger students performed the “Kakai-Chu Dance” or Quail Dance. Our Junior High boys did the singing and gourd playing While the students dance. There is a coyote waiting for a catch for his meal and after a time he runs to “catch” his meal by capturing one of the dancers. Yuo will also see the older girls doing the “Basket Dance” while the boys are again singing and shaking the gourds. The dance tells the story of the girls showing off their baskets which they have weaved themselves to tell that they have come of age.

  2. Sister Marie Bernadette says:

    You Sisters and lay people do a marvelous job with education and spreading the good news. Congratulations to your leadership and all involved.

  3. I am glad to learn more about your “typical day” so different from my “typical day.” This sharing helps me feel connected to our sisters at St. Peter Indian Mission. I look forward to future postings.

  4. Sister Rosangela Weiland says:

    Thanks for sharing about your life on the Gila River Reservation. I am always happy to see that the Indian people have retained their heritage and are willing to share it with us. How wonderful you can be a part of it in living and teaching there. I’m sure you are learning from them as they are learning from you. God bless your days.
    Sister Rosangela

  5. Sister Elaine Turba says:

    It’s Friday evening after a full week of school. The days in school are good days, but we do look forward to the weekend also as time to get revitalized for the upcoming week. With Thanksgiving just around the corner there is excitement in the air. The days and weeks move all too quickly as it seems we are never able to do all we thought we could during the week.

    Even though the weekend is here, we are kept on our toes with various activities such as welcoming 45+ students at 6:00 a.m. as they prepare to head to Tempe for an early morning run sponsored by “Chances for Children.” This is followed by a 7:00 funeral liturgy for a tribal member. As the day goes on, several junior high students will be appearing at our classroom doors to get caught up on some late homework. In the evening some of the Sisters will attend a dinner sponsored by Seton Catholic High School where some of our students are in attendance. The invitation was extended to us by Governor Rhodes of the tribe. Sunday looks to be a little quieter – 8:00 a.m. Sunday Mass, followed by football and dinner. In the evening we will be attending the wake of one of our benefactors in Chandler. There is never a dull moment in the desert.

  6. Thanks, Sisters, for trying to share your lives with us. It is often what is read between the lines that is the most important. Peace and all good.

  7. I see in all your efforts, God at work. Though your days seem very full, they also seem full of God’s work and not your own “agenda”. Know of my prayerful support as you minster and as you witness “God among us.”

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