#5 How to Meet Franciscan Sisters: MN, ND

by Sister Julie Ann on May 13, 2013

With 74, 500 on the odometer in the last 3 years, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Vocation Team completed another journey responding to young women desiring to meet Franciscan Sisters. Fittingly, the Easter Season’s daily readings of Paul’s own travel logs encourage a strong, ever-ready, apostolic spirit.

St. Michael-Church-Catholic-Grand-Forks-NDThis time we traveled to Crookston and Scarthcona, MN. Given the distance, we went as far as we could the first day of travel after leaving mid-day from Manitowoc, WI. Fargo, ND is well-named.

Next morning back in the car (on the Thursday some U.S. Catholic Dioceses celebrated the Ascension), we prayed from a liturgy of the hours app ‘God ascends to shouts of joy, alleluia, alleluia’. With that we saw a bald eagle start low and soar up to the skies. Although not a very dove-like symbol of the Holy Spirit, we did feel God’s strong, protective blessing on the road.

Traveling especially to Scarthcona, Sister Mary Ann Spanjers and I grew in appreciation for all who use their hands in the agriculture industry. Whether working the fields of grain, feeding beef cattle or milking dairy cows, this was rural America. It was evident Catholic women religious are not a common site here. We were noticed as we window-washed windshields and filled-up at the local gas pump. Here Eucharist is not a matter of convenience. We were edified meeting a family who daily feeds on the liturgical Scripture readings before breakfast and chores. It is miles to Sunday liturgy and farm responsibilities make it sometimes impossible to meet this obligation. Faith grows deep from strong roots of love for God alone.Cathedral-of-the-Immaculate-Conception-Crookston-MN

Next in a Crookston local hang out, we enjoyed a delightful visit with a young woman who sent us an inquiry, but also took the time for a Holy Year pilgrimage stop at St. Michael Church, Grand Forks, ND and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Crookston. Border towns are some of our favorites since they offer such great state diversity in a relatively small amount of time. Both holy places begged prayer for all the needs of God’s good people especially those who we promised to pray for and those who were in most need.

Poor-Clare-Mother-Mary-Matthew-Sauk-Rapids-MNBefore traveling back to Wisconsin,  we also planned to pray with our Poor Clare Sisters at Sauk Rapids, MN. Present for early morning Mass, they invited us to have breakfast with their chaplain and faithful altar server. Later, Mother Mary Matthew, friend and former Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, arranged to visit with us so we all took turns sharing Community news. For those that know her, notice her new ‘old’ look. The nuns decided to change their veil to a more classic, comfortable pattern. Her radiant smile is the same:)

Lastly, for the record, we had 4 eagle sitings.  One more was spotted in our path as we left Crookston, and two others before entering the state of Wisconsin! (or was it all the same one?!)



6 thoughts on “#5 How to Meet Franciscan Sisters: MN, ND”

  1. Sister Mary Ann says:

    The adventures of our Vocation Ministry are unique, unforgettable, filled with lots of graces and blessings! One of the greatest blessings has been the opportunity to have such a wonderful Sister co-vocation directress! The bonds Sister Julie Ann and I have experienced are those of true Sisters in every sense of the word! I am forever grateful for all of these years of “on the road” together with Jesus!

  2. Yes, if we ever write that book about our journeys, it will be a Franciscan best seller!

  3. You are not only great travelers… you are great story tellers. Know that you are appreciated by all of us who trust our community’s vocation efforts to your capable hands. We are not exempt from vocation efforts, but you are entrusted with the primary task. May God bless you both!

  4. Sister Rosangela says:

    Thank you for all the miles you have traveled
    and the work you have done. God has blessed us through you. I was happy to see
    you stopped at Sauk Rapids to visit with Sister Mary Mathew. Sister Barbara
    Meuleck formerly from our community is also there.
    Hopefully you visited her too.

  5. sisterjune says:

    Thank you for your many miles that you have traveled to
    promote vocations, your presentations & retreats. What a gift that you have
    been to our Franciscan Community!

  6. Jeanne Conant-Winter says:

    One can tell through your stories that you can sense and appreciate the giftedness of each of the individuals you meet – even if they are met in a group setting. Also, I am fortunate that M.M. Matt only lives about an hour north of me. I try to see her at least once a year. When my nephew, whom I was raising was at Catholic Charities Children’s Home in Saint Cloud, I got to visit with her a little more often. I believe it is up to all of us to promote all vocations, especially through joyful living. Today, June 7, 2013 is my husband Joe’s and my twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. So that means we’ve known each other thirty years! I’m nearing forty years since I met the first Manitowoc Franciscan I ever met – Marsaia Kaster at Sacred Heart, Oshkosh, followed by camp Vista, where I met a lot of FFCC’s including Elaine Turba. Each of these experiences becomes part of the person that I am, including my time at HFC. Thanks for the memories! And if you ever need a place to stay while traveling near the Twin Cities, you’re always welcome to stay with us in Hudson, WI. Jeanne Conant-Winter

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