Taking a Franciscan Grand Tour of Grand Rapids

by Sister Julie Ann on March 1, 2010

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img_7398.jpgUnlike the classic definition of Grand Tour (essentially an academic’s pilgrimage to Rome by upper-class young Europeans searching for art, culture, fashion and increased language skills), a  present day Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Grand Tour is all about respecting and building relationships.

Franciscan Postulants, Kara Martin and Marie Wilhelm along with Vocation Directors, Sister Mary Ann Spanjers, OSF and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan, OSF, embarked on a road trip February 26-March 1, 2010 to Grand Rapids, MI. They responded to an invitation from Kara’s Alma Mater, Aquinas College, desiring to build a personal bridge across Lake Michigan between the Franciscan Sisters and the college. The  itinerary included time spent at this hospitable Dominican place of higher learning and so much more.

img_7415.jpgHere’s a brief accounting of the experience:

  • Eucharistic Liturgies at Kara’s home parish of St. Thomas the Apostle with the added delight of a community-building Asian cuisine dinner in the parish hall on Saturday evening
  • Treasured time with Kara’s family
  • Sunday morning Eucharistic liturgy with the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Chief Shepherd, Bishop Walter Hurley
  • Formal and informal Aquinas College Campus Ministry activities on Sunday night and Monday morning
  • Praise and Worship music, candlelight Eucharistic Procession and Adoration with Arise Young Adults
  • Presentations in some religion classes at Catholic Central High School

Spiritually-uplifted after the time spent with the wonderful people of Grand Rapids, the Franciscan pilgrims  traveled home confident that the personal bridge between Manitowoc and this awesome Michigan city is well under construction.

Any thoughts?

9 thoughts on “Taking a Franciscan Grand Tour of Grand Rapids”

  1. Experiencing the welcoming spirit of so many faithfilled people in Grand Rapids, was the highlight of the many encounters during this weekend!

    It was such a blessing to get to know the people in Kara’s life who have been such an influence and support for her! Of course the beautiful, delicious brunch, prepared by Kara’s Mom, kept us fortified all day on Sunday!

    The students, faculty, and staff of Aquinas College have so many good things going to help bring about God’s kingdom, it was an exciting place to be and share!

  2. Susan says:

    This was one of the most enriching and joyous weekends of my life. It was filled with rich interactions with people I love. I was most blessed to have the opportunity to serve Sunday breakfast in my home to Sister Mary Ann, Sister Julie Ann, Marie Wilhelm (postulant), and my daughter, Kara (postulant). I’m looking forward to my visit with you in Wisconsin in a couple of weeks!

  3. Susan, we did have a ‘grand’ weekend didn’t we? How wonderful to see Grand Rapids through your eyes and Kara’s driving skills. Thanks for the memories! Peace and all good.

  4. Kara Martin says:

    Well Mom did teach me how to drive, too, so she gets all the credit! It was a wonderful and joyous weekend. I am so blessed to have many awesome people in my life. I enjoyed the weekend, and I know we planted lots of seeds in Grand Rapids. The Holy Spirit will know how to make them grow.

  5. Marie Wilhelm says:

    This was a fantastic weekend! It was great meeting all the new people and getting to see Kara’s hometown and all the people that she knows! I learned many things about my fellow postulant and and also about myself and how we can plant seeds in the life of others by letting them know that the religious life is a choice. It was fun traveling with Sr. Mary Ann and Sr. Julie Ann. They are wonderful people to travel with and I gained much insight on what vocation work is all about. I’m very grateful for this experience and for getting to see a new city and meet new poeple.

  6. Sister Sharon Paul says:

    Kara, Marie, Srs. Julie Ann & Mary Ann,What a wonderful trip you had in Michigan, visiting with those who have given you life, and you giving life to others and ones you don’t even know. What a privilege to expand your horizons and to give and exchange ideas, memories and friendships that may last a lifetime and beyond.Keep up your dedicated labors of “sowing seeds” with the hand of the Lord.

  7. Sister Jan Villemure says:

    Glad to see you spent some time in my home state. I saw Drew Anderson in one of your pictures. His Dad teaches at our Catholic High School and he was a student here at Yuma Catholic. What a small world. May God’s work continue through your effrots and our young people today who are the future of our Church.
    God bless.
    Sister Jan

  8. Thanks for all four of you for making the trip and bringing the message of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity to so many young people. I can imagine it was a blessing for Kara to have you in her home town and to reinforce her choice to “come and see” our life.

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