Franciscan Sisters’ Road Trip to Houghton MI

by Sister Julie Ann on March 23, 2017

After a journey of beautiful, snowy landscapes, Franciscan Sisters celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at St. Albert the Great Newman Center, Houghton, MI. The evening began first with invoking the Trinity at Eucharist. Pastor Father Ben Hasse’s homily offered an Office of Readings text from the Confession of St. Patrick:

“If I am worthy, I am ready also to give up my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for his name. I want to spend myself in that country, even in death, if the Lord should grant me that favor.”  FranciscanSisters at St. Albert the Great Houghton MI 3

Students next served a festive meal. Father Ben helped bake the traditional Irish soda bread.Franciscan Sisters St. Patrick Day Houghton 3Food was followed by a fireside chat panel including Sister Caritas Strodthoff, Sister Anne Turba, Judy Roemer (blood sister of Sister Anne) and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan. We addressed the topic of chastity. Wisdom was also sincerely shared from students and others gathered around the circle.  Franciscan Sisters St. Patrick Day Houghton, MIYoung women who share the Catholic faith and living accommodations invited us to a post-tea party. Conversation flowed freely. St. Francis and St. Clare would love their dining room furniture: a picnic table! Along with hearing about everyone’s course of study and family background, we also enjoyed sharing the convent concept of ‘house meetings’.

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Just Gospel: Pope Francis’ March Intention

by Sister Julie Ann on March 21, 2017

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy reflects on Pope Francis’ March intention on praying that persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.

Lent calls us to reflect on the sufferings of the persecuted Christ. It is a perfect time to join the Church in praying that persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.

We may think that persecution of Christians was only a reality centuries ago. We may know that there are persecutions going on right now in our day, but we may be convinced that they take place in far off lands.

Pope Francis does away with the possibility of distancing ourselves from the concept of persecution. He tells us, “there are bloody persecutions, like being torn to pieces by wild beasts, or being blown up by a bomb at the end of Mass and there are velvet-gloved persecutions that are cloaked in politeness: the ones that marginalize you, take your job away if you fail to adapt to laws that go against God the Creator.”Persecuted Christians

“Persecution, I would say, is the daily bread of the Church. Jesus said so himself,” Francis proclaimed.

He explained that there are Christians today who suffer physically and even give their lives because they refuse to give up the practice of their faith. But—he noted—there is another persecution which is not much spoken about, a persecution camouflaged by culture, by modernity, by progress in disguise. It’s when someone is persecuted for wanting to manifest the values of the Gospel. It’s the kind of the persecution that deprives one of freedom, and of the possibility of conscientious objection.St.-Thomas-the-Apostle-Catholic-Community-Stations-of-the-Cross

None of these forms of persecution is beyond the reach of our prayers. Christians, particularly those in mid-eastern countries, need our prayers that they might endure with courage the attacks on their faith and on their lives. However, our youth, our young families, our senior citizens, our healthcare personnel, our politicians all need our immediate prayers for they too are being persecuted here in our midst. 

St. Francis was even persecuted by his own brothers who did not want to give him the freedom to live the religious life he felt called to live. This month, let us try to open our eyes and hearts to those both near and far who suffer persecution. Can we offer support and empathy?

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Franciscan Sister Speaks at UWO Class

by Sister Julie Ann on March 19, 2017

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Louise Hembrecht was invited to a recent class at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Sage Hall. Professor Kathleen Corley is the teacher of Women and Religion. She shared in an email invitation that “the students actually requested that she find a woman religious to come to speak to the class.” Sister Louise, having done something similar to this experience at another place of higher learning at the request of her own niece, was very willing to accept the offer.

 

Franciscan Sister Louise and UWO Professor Sister Louise shared personally on a variety of topics.  She also seized the moment to better articulate the definition of women religious in the Catholic Church. The various families of men and women who serve the people of God, including Franciscans, was highlighted. Essential elements of religious life e.g. the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience were explained in the context of daily living and what a typical day was like.

Students were free to interject a question during any moment of the class period or send an emailed question later on while working on a class project.

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An Inspiring Vocation Poem by a Franciscan Sister’s Mother

by Sister Julie Ann on March 17, 2017

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie recently shared a reflection on Sister Virginia Neja. Within the presentation, Sister Natalie read a letter and poem written by Sister Virginia’s mother. Find here her mother’s words. To read Sister Natalie’s entire reflection, click on this link: Reflection for Franciscan Sister VirginiaFranciscan Sister Virginia brothers and sisters2

Virginia’s mother wrote the following letter to Mother Perpetua dated January 31, 1944:
I am deeply appreciative of your promptness in answering Virginia’s letter. I am a nurse and she has always wanted to be one and still does in conjunction with becoming a nun. She is praying so earnestly and so many others are praying for her. Both her father and I wonder why we should be so blessed as to have a daughter in God’s service. Although I am her mother, I can truthfully tell you that she is a very courteous and obedient girl. I have seven children and one of my son’s is planning to become a priest.
… Thank you for everything, Mother Perpetua. I would like to say that we are able and happy to pay the $100.00 required.
Very Sincerely,
Margaret G. NejaFranciscan Sister Virginia as a child
P.S. I am having all parts of the application filled today and will send them tomorrow. I know this may be unusual but I am enclosing a picture and believe me to be sincere when I say she is a very sweet and religious child. True, that sounds like a doting Mother, but I know it to be true!Franciscan Sister Virginia Neja

My Gift to God

I’m gladly giving her to God
This daughter that I love,
She’s had her call, she’s had her sign
From Blessed God above.
With all my heart I give her
To One so Sweet, Divine,
I’m humbly proud He’s deigned to send
A call to one of mine.
I give her hands to help His cause,
Her feet to tread His Way,
I give her pure and clean sweet lips
To say His Name, to pray.
I give her eyes, to raise them up
In adoration true,
I give her ears to hear His words
So that His will she’ll do.
Most of all else I give her heart
That once lay ‘neath my own,
Outside of love for home and God
None other has she known.
Her baby feet, her baby hands
Were someday meant to be,
A tribute to her loving God
A blessed balm to me.
So, take her, God, with all my love,
To you good deeds she’ll carry
My greatest gift I give to You.

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Franciscan Sisters Visit St. Francis Abbey Monastery Adoration Chapel

March 15, 2017

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Laura Wolf shares on a recent pilgrimage that she and Sisters serving at Genesis Health Care System, Zanesville , OH  took to Mattingly Settlement, OH. Sister Maureen Anne Shepard, Sister Bernadette Selinsky and I were invited by Father Donald Franks and his parishioners to visit the new St. Francis Abbey Monastery […]

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Franciscan Sister Presents to Florida Catholic Medical Association

March 13, 2017

Franciscan Sister Renee Mirkes shares on her recent work with the Florida Catholic Medical Association. Over the past five months, I’ve had the privilege of working with the planning committee of the Florida Catholic Medical Association (see picture). We developed a theme (virtuous medicine) and specific topics, including beginning-of-life, end-of-life, and conscience issues, for their annual […]

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