In this month of St. Francis’ Feast, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity feature The Rose Ensemble’s Il Poverello Medieval Music for Saint Francis of Assisi.

During the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, the social, economic, and political climates of the North Italian city-states in Umbria and Tuscany were undergoing profound shifts. The explosion of trade in Florence and Assisi led to the growth of an entirely new social class and the emergence of a new set of social values. At this time, penitential religious fervor in Christian Italy was at an all-time high. Sacred poetry set to popular tunes became a perfect vehicle for an accessible and powerful religious message, and thus was born a genre of non-liturgical religious song called laude spirituali. Singing, the writing of religious lyric poetry, and the composition of new songs became significant as devotional vehicles and instrumental in the eventual dissemination of a multitude of songs known as laude.saint-francis-from-all-saints-parish-berlin-wi

A beautiful example of these monophonic laude is “Sia Laudato San Francesco,” which focuses on the Saint’s holiness and miracles. This anonymous work from the 13th-century features the women of The Rose Ensemble accompanied by Ginna Watson on vielle and Isacco Colombo on recorder.

This piece comes from The Rose Ensemble’s commercial recording Il Poverello: Medieval & Renaissance Music for Saint Francis of Assisi, which is available for purchase at, iTunes, and Amazon.


Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Jordan Sramek, The Rose Ensemble has achieved an international reputation as a premiere American early music ensemble. Each performance illuminates centuries of rarely heard repertoire, bringing to modern audiences research from the world’s manuscript libraries and fresh perspectives on history, culture, politics and spirituality from around the globe. With ten critically acclaimed recordings and a diverse selection of concert programs, the group has thrilled audiences across the United States and Europe with repertoire spanning 1,000 years and over 25 languages.franciscan-sisters-feature-rose-ensemble_full_20154830_duo-2

The Rose Ensemble is the recipient of the 2005 Chorus America Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, and first prize winner in both sacred and secular music categories at the 2012 Tolosa Choral Contest in Spain (part of the European Choral Grand Prix). The group’s concerts and recordings have been called “first class” (Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung), “impassioned and brightly alive” (Choral Journal) and “engaging … satisfying” (Gramophone). Founder Jordan Sramek received the 2010 Louis Botto Award from Chorus America “for entrepreneurial zeal.”franciscan-sisters-feature-rose-ensemble-director-jordan-sramek-2

The Rose Ensemble’s recent performance highlights include appearances at Early Music Now (Milwaukee, WI), the University of Vermont Lane Series (Burlington, VT), California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks, CA), Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), St. Quirinus Cathedral (Neuss, Germany), and the Misiones de Chiquitos Choral Festival (Bolivia). In 2014, The Rose Ensemble made their debut appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra in a special holiday program.

The Rose Ensemble can be heard regularly on American Public Media and the European Broadcasting Union (most notably with annual Christmas broadcasts) and has recently featured in special live broadcasts on Iowa Public and Vermont Public Radio.

Enjoy the additional music of these artists: Sancte Francisce Propera by Padre Constanzo Porta, OFM (1529?-1601) and Beatus Franciscus by Jeronimo de Alliseda (1548-1591)

For more program notes on the album, click here: poverellobooklet-final


The St. Francis window can be seen at All Saints Parish in Berlin, WI


Call to Be a Franciscan Sister and a Nurse

by Sister Julie Ann on September 29, 2016

Franciscan Sister Lois Ann Gosch shares her own call to religious life and in the health care ministry.

My journey was begun with the life shared by my parents, John and Bernice Gosch, at my birth on September 25, 1946 in Appleton, Wisconsin. How could I have been so blessed with being a part of a family with loving parents and two loving sisters, Barb and Pat. My life was touched early on by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity with my grade school education at St. Therese in Appleton. Yes, at that time there were 1,200 children in the school and 20-25 Sisters. The Sisters often invited us over to the convent to celebrate various occasions: how exciting it was to get in further than the front door. Learning to play the piano and organ were a part of my grade school and piano lessons were given right inside the front door of the Convent.

franciscan-sister-lois-ann-and-parentsMy First Communion was a drawing of my life to Jesus. Knowing that “I wanted to be a Sister,” I watched the prayerfulness, joy, and dedicated work of the Sisters. I was sure that I would go to the Convent after 8th grade and my work for Jesus would be as a homemaker. I watched Sister Mary Charles Hlinak serve her Sisters with cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc. and that was a lot of work with the large number of Sisters and the huge convent home. When we went over to the Convent to pick up something for one of the Sisters, Sister Mary Charles met us at the back door with the items to be delivered and a homemade cookie. With grade school completed, off to Holy Family Convent I went. Mom sewed the items I needed on the list of things to bring. Holy Family Academy was full of us young girls. I wonder how they ever were able to care for us.

More Steps in Following Call  

After high school, postulancy and novitiate, the Spirit led me into nursing―never had I thought of that calling but as the years moved on at Alverno College in Milwaukee and then missioned to our health care facilities, the call of the Lord’s mercy and compassion was, and still is, the center of my life with Him. When I think of celebrating a golden jubilee in this year declared as a Jubilee of Mercy by Pope Francis, it is a time of awe and wonder.franciscan-sister-lois-ann-becomes-a-nurse

Whether it was at Good Samaritan, Zanesville, Ohio; Holy Family Hospital, Manitowoc, Wisconsin; St. Paul’s Elder Services in Kaukauna, Wisconsin; or here at the Motherhouse in the Health Clinic and St. Rita’s Health Center; my heart has been full of joy to serve each with the challenge of healthy and balanced living, rehabilitation, aging , and dying.franciscan-sister-lois-ann-and-family

I thank my God, family, Community, and friends for the love and support I have experienced throughout my life. As my life moves on, I pray that I may continue to be a Franciscan servant of the servants to “act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with my Lord.” (Micah 6:8)

Is God calling you to be a Franciscan Sister and serving in healing ministry? We would be happy to meet you where you are or we invite you to our next Discernment of Spirits Retreat in MN or WI? Click here.

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Franciscan Sister Supports NaPro Surgical Fellows Graduates

by Sister Julie Ann on September 27, 2016

Franciscan Sister Renee Mirkes shares her pride in the recent John Paul II Surgical Fellowship graduates.

In the last months,  the ninth graduation ceremony for fellows who graduate from the John Paul II Surgical Fellowship was held at the Pope Paul VI Institute.

franciscan-sister-reneeThis year’s three wonderful OB/Gyn fellow-graduates are pictured here from left to right: Dr. Melissa Taavola who will be setting up a NaPro Surgical practice in Green Bay, Wisconsin; Dr. Alexis Simon who will be practicing NaPro surgery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Dr. Kathleen McGlynn who will be joining a former NaPro Surgeon graduate in Covington, Louisiana.

I usually tell every Fellows class that they are my favorite, but this year I really, really mean it. They are just top-drawer in every sense of that category and it’s been my privilege to conduct the ethics seminar portion of their Fellowship program.



Franciscan Sisters Invited to St. Michael Feast Day Celebration

by Sister Julie Ann on September 25, 2016

This year’s Feast of St. Michael the Archangel holds a special Franciscan Memory. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity received an invitation to a multi-cultural Liturgy at St. Michael Parish, Milwaukee, WI.franciscan-sisters-at-st-michael-feast-day-milwaukee-wi

A congregation that speaks in 6 languages, the Eucharistic celebration was open to the world. Angel banners, resembling a depiction of a St. Michael stain glass window near the main altar, were dressed with material to include the roots of all the families. There was also a  dramatic recounting of Revelation: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven” (Rev. 12:7). st-michael-parish-feast

A social including food, song and dance followed Mass.


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Franciscan Sisters Applaud Friar’s Psalm 51 Presentation

September 23, 2016

Recently, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity applauded Franciscan Friar of the Assumption Province Father Leslie Hoppe presention on Psalm 51 (The Miserere) at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, WI. It was part of a Scripture with the Scholars presentation sponsored by the Archdiocesan Evangelization Office and the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Psalm 51 […]

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Franciscan Reflection on Pope Francis’ September Intention

September 21, 2016

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy reflects on Pope Francis’ September intention: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…” (Eccl. 3) The rounds of […]

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