Just Gospel: Pope Francis’ February Prayer Intention

by Sister Julie Ann on February 24, 2017

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy reflects on Pope Francis’ February Prayer Intention.

Often this month during which we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day becomes a time for roses, lacy valentine hearts and candy. Forgotten are the messages of Christian love that began this feast. In the original spirit of Valentine’s Day, we join Pope Francis in praying that all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.

Immigration-Pilgrimage-Green-Bay-photo-Fred-GraberHow do we define “the afflicted”? Certainly Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia gave us one interpretation. He spoke to the voices of power about those afflicted by war, injustice and the exploitation of the environment. He was heart-broken with the victims of the clerical sexual abuse crimes. He embraced prisoners and hugged the little daughter of immigrants who could be deported. He left his car to greet a victim of cerebral palsy. These were some of the afflicted that Francis ministered to.

The pope is often televised not at an altar, or a pulpit, or seated magisterially in a chair reading a speech. Rather, we often see images of him as he embraces and caresses the afflicted, and blesses them one by one.

Almost every day, each of us has the opportunity to say a word of support, offer a helping hand, or give a nod of understanding to lighten the burdens of another. Yet, so many afflictions are not temporary; so many are not even visible. We marvel at those who bear them with grace and dignity. They are not looking for anyone’s admiration. It’s just what they do and how they do it.Immigration Pilgrimage photo by Fred Gaber Madison, WI

To comfort, though, means to strengthen and to encourage. The Lord directs all of us to serve one another, as he serves us. One of the old titles of the pope’s was servus servorum dei, the servant of the servants of God. Maybe the images of Pope Francis on our own shores, serving the high and the low among us, will reinvigorate us to offer simple and straightforward comfort to the afflicted. Consider the Pope’s namesake, St. Francis. Did he not serve the leper and the Sultan? Did he not find the most afflicted in body and soul and offer them solace? We seek to tend to the afflicted among us in the manner of our Christ, in the manner of St. Francis, in the manner of Pope Francis.U.S. Catholic Bishops Give Recommendations re: Immigration Procedures


How One Franciscan Sister Celebrates 80th Birthday

by Sister Julie Ann on February 22, 2017

Here’s a memorable birthday idea! Franciscan Sister Karen Krahenbuhl’s 4 nieces wanted to create an 80th birthday memory that their aunt would not forget! They celebrated with her from afar by sending a prepared party box with all the ingredients needed to throw a fun celebration for @25 Sisters.Franciscan Sister Karen and Sister Greta

The party box included party hats, noise makers and Oreo cookies with birthday cake filling. A large gift with many layers of paper was the most intriguing. When unwrapped it revealed various layers of surprises. Music accompaniment added a festive spirit. Candy treats and other hygiene products were found. Franciscan Sister Karen and birthday gift

Her relatives wanted to do this because they had been the recipients of birthday parties from their aunt.  Sister Karen used this opportunity to share some poignant memories of her childhood.

Franciscan Sister Karen and birthday gifts2

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Franciscan Use of Technology and Communication Skills

by Sister Julie Ann on February 20, 2017

Franciscan Sister Mariella Erdmann reports on an Initial Formation weekend gathering anyone who is a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Temporary Professed, Novice and Postulant on the topic of use of technology and communication skills.

It was good to see all in formation along with the directresses praying, learning, recreating and just laughing together.  The cafeteria rang with laughter and good discussions as well as in St. Al’s and the gym.

Kristin BirdThe weekend began at 4:00 pm. on Friday, Feb. 10 with an overview and ended after dinner on Sunday, Feb. 12.  Saturday morning there were two presentations by Kristin Bird.  Kristin’s first presentation was “Responsible Use of Technology”.  She sees the potential of social media for good but she, also, cautioned on its bad effects and addictions.  She stressed the need to build healthy relationships.  This can only be accomplished with time limits on the use of social media. Some of the drawbacks on social media were short attention span, low view of authority, over emphasis on equality of comments, artificial relationships, low commitment and low accountability.

Kristin’s second presentation was “Technology and Its Effects on Spirituality and Community”. She talked about “Adult Post-Modern Discipleship”.   Technology can be a great tool to help people through stages of Initial Trust, Spiritual Curiosity, Spiritual Openness, and Spiritual Seeking.

Sister Anne Marie Lom presented a Communication Workshop in the afternoon.  We learned about communication blockers in the first session.  Since it was a workshop there was a lot of interaction which was most helpful.  Some of the “Communication Blockers” were: all or nothing thinking, overgeneralization, mental filter, discounting the positive, jumping to conclusions, emotional reasoning, and should statements.

Sister took the second half of the workshop to practice basic communication skills such as: eye contact, eye level, body language, paraphrasing to show active listening, questioning for further understanding, and faith sharing.  Franciscan Sisters Initial Formation Weekend

Days also included meaningful prayer times and of course, recreation. Cranium Turbo, stretching one’s potential intellectually, visually, and artistically as well as hockey in the gym, using tennis balls to show physical stamina, added to a well-balanced enjoyable weekend.


Franciscan Sister Assists with Point Catholic BSR

by Sister Julie Ann on February 18, 2017

Following a tradition begun by Franciscan Sister Mary Ann Spanjers, Sister Julie Ann Sheahan was present as a spiritual companion to University of Wisconsin Stevens Point students for the annual Point Catholic Busy Student Retreat.  The near Valentine’s Day event’s theme was: I will make room in my heart for you, O God.Franciscan Sister Julie Ann at Point Catholic BSRThis is quite the New Evangelization moment! Campus Minister Wendy Mitch facilitates the extensive planning. 62 students were paired with 8 spiritual directors for daily one on one Scripture sharing from Monday through Thursday. Franciscan Sister Julie Ann meets with student at BSRAn Evening Meal, Evening Prayer and Preaching helped deepen the experience allowing for integration in a community.  Indeed, Holy Spirit Parish members generously gave of themselves whether preparing and serving the different day’s menus or dropping off needed ingredients. This support was a tremendous witness of how our Church serves each other.Franciscan Sister Julie Ann at Point Catholic BSR opening meal

A helpful retreat guide was distributed with schedule, prayer helps, Gospel for the day with accompanying reflection questions and a liturgy aid for Evening Prayer. Father Dennis Lynch and Father Frank Corradi assisted with the daily liturgies and Evening Preaching and Night Prayer. Their inspiration helped direct healthy, heart reflection. As always, the students’ singing in the Newman Center chapel was truly awesome!Franciscan Sister Julie Ann at Point Catholic BSR4

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Postulant Mission Experience: St. Paul Convent, Kaukauna WI

February 16, 2017

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Postulant Colleen reflects on her experience at St. Paul Convent, Kaukauna, WI. As you may know, my mission trip was to St. Paul’s Convent in Kaukauna. St. Paul Elder Services has a beautiful facility and I was asked to be a part of two departure ceremonies and an anointing. I was […]

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Franciscan Sisters Spotlight ‘Rehabilitating St. Valentine’s Day’ Post

February 15, 2017

On this day after Valentine’s Day, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity spotlight University of Wisconsin Richland Center’s Professor Aharon Zorea’s lastest post Rehabilitating St. Valentine’s Day on his ZoreaNotes — Thoughts & Ideas, Stories & Essays.     My first memories of St. Valentine’s Day were from my kindergarten and first grade classrooms.  We cut giant […]

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