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sr.christinaosf

Thoughts from a Franciscan Sister

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

An Easter Rosary?

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So, during Lent we focus on the Sorrowful Mysteries when praying the rosary, but what about during the Easter season?

While the traditional answer would probably be: “the Glorious, of course,” I take a different route.

Although it’s unconventional, I often use different “mysteries” altogether.

Rather than jumping right into the Ascension, Pentecost, and Our Lady’s Assumption and Coronation, I like to linger a bit on the resurrection during these forty days.

What I like to do is take a different resurrection appearance of Our Lord for each of the five decades of the Rosary.

These Easter gospels are so beautiful and fruitful for meditation.  I’ll list them here in case you’d like to use them for your prayer as well.

Here is a list of resurrection appearance scriptures which you may find helpful.

I find this is a beautiful way of meeting our Risen Lord with Mary.

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

Skeleton Man or “Faithful” Servant

If you’ve ever traveled in Europe, you may have noticed, as I did, the visibility and plenitude of bodies and crypts in the churches there.

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Actually, last spring when we were visiting Germany for our Congregation’s anniversary celebration, a Church we frequented had a skeleton preserved up front.  It was on the left-hand side as we faced the altar.  This “Studientkirche” was actually the site of the special anniversary Mass.

To specify where, within the church, we were to be seated for the special day, we teasingly said “toward the front, by ‘Skeleton Man.”  This nickname we had given to the remains held there for veneration.  Little did I know that this was actually the Franciscan, Saint Fidelis!

Once I realized this, I dropped the nickname from my speech – it did not seem appropriate to refer to a canonized saint in such terms.

Now, as we mark his feast day (April 24), I am reminded of this, and think, too, of our Sr. Fidelis who would be celebrating her name day were she still living.  The name they share fittingly means “faithful.”

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This dear Sister of ours, who lived to be well over a hundred, actually immigrated from Germany herself, answering the call to serve in America.

She had to study the English language and then spent decades teaching young people in Minnesota and North Dakota.  She actually went back to school in her eighties to receive computer training so she could teach this specialty as well.

Like her namesake, who was himself a German native, Sr. Fidelis strove to love God throughout her life and to spread His love to the young people in her care.

Toward the end of her life, she is actually quoted as questioning herself: “Have I loved God enough?”  I take this as a real challenge.  As I live my daily life, am I doing my utmost to love God and serve Him faithfully?

 

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

From Our Franciscan Fiat

This morning’s Communion antiphon contained a message which, to me, is crucial.  Taken from Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:20, it reminds us of His promise to be “with [us] always, even to the end of the age.”

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In the characteristic Easter fashion, it closes with an “alleluia.”

When Easter comes, we tend to be a bit out of practice regarding the “A-word,” having abstained from it for 40 days.  When we pray the introductory part of our evening office, which contains an Alleluia, there is occasionally a bit of a pause before we remember that we are not in Lent anymore; we should be saying “alleluia” again!

As a follow up on today’s consoling communion verse, the “alleluia” is very appropriate. It is fitting that Jesus’ promise to be with us be followed by this ancient ejaculation which means “God be praised.”   His presence, indeed, is a great gift which merits our praise.

I might take Christ’s words of promised presence as an answer to prayer.  To me, it is so important that Christ be with me each day.  As I face challenging situations of varying types, I turn to Him, seeking His presence, guidance, and support.

Recently, in fact, I’ve found myself praying for His presence, feeling that this is really all I need.  As I do so, however, I realize that He is already with me.

Alleluia!

Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

 

Manna for the Wilderness Journey

Exodus 16 tells the story of the people of Israel being fed in the wilderness.  This event is alluded to in John’s gospel and serves as the backdrop for the Bread of Life discourse which we hear read during this third week of Easter.

This story of Manna, and Jesus’ subsequent teaching is truly fitting for us every day.

Although we don’t live in a middle eastern wilderness, our life can seem like a wandering some time.

As we face struggles, uncertainties, and whatever else may come, we are provided for.  We have our Manna, our daily bread, in the Eucharist.

In writing this post, the hymn, “Shepherd of Souls, Refresh and Bless” comes to mind, in which we are reminded that Christ is our provident shepherd and we are a pilgrim flock in the wilderness of life.

Please join me in giving thanks for the wonderful gift of the Eucharist, in which our Lord provides for our needs with His very self!

 

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

“Drag Your Fingers.”

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I still remember my first and only organ lesson.  It was given by Sister Dianna, who herself had been playing organ since her early childhood.

Several years back, I had asked her to give me a little instruction so as to transfer what I knew on the piano and use the organ as well.

We went up to the large, beautiful sounding organ in our chapel and she instructed me on organ technique, telling me to drag my fingers.  With her helpful instruction, I envisioned having weights attached to each of these small extremities.

I also learned a little about the manuals on the decks there.

I am still certainly not an expert on the use of this beautiful instrument, but her instructions were very helpful.

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Sister Dianna certainly helped countless others during her many years of service.  Until the last couple of years, she was still serving at the Community Hospital in Oakes, ND.

Another special connection I have with Sister Dianna, of whose death I just learned, is that her name day is celebrated the day before my birthday.

May she now “make music to your Name, most high” in the courts of heaven.

As we mark the Day of Prayer for Vocations this Good Shepherd Sunday, may she also join us in interceding for more vocations to our Community.

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

Two Simple Words

by Our Franciscan Fiat

thankyou

Last evening, I worked our reception desk at St. Anne's until ten.  About a quarter-to, one of the night aides came in, fifteen minutes early for his shift.

I hadn't had much (if any) interaction with him since this past weekend.  He had been sick and unable to come to work.  No one else was available so I had worked for him Saturday night.

As is customary, I gave a little report of pertinent information for the next shift.  In the course of our little conversation, he said "Thank you for working for me the other night."

Simple as it may be, this really meant a lot to me.  It was nice to have this acknowledgement.

I am happy to fill in where needed, but I appreciated his kind expression of gratitude.

I reflected a bit upon this; how important gratitude is, how much these two simple words, thank you, can mean.  They are so important.

I think about the preface dialog before the Eucharistic prayer at Mass: "Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God...It is right and just"

How much God has done for us; (Immeasurably more than me working one trivial little night shift)!  It is only right, and just, that we should say our thank you to Him.

I think of all the people (including myself) who neglect to say thank you to God, to express our gratitude for all His wonderful gifts.

The way my co-worker's words so touched my heart last night served as a reminder to me of how I should express my gratitude to God each day.

It is wonderful that we have the opportunity for daily Mass, the Eucharist, which is the great "thanksgiving."

Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

Blossoms, and Breezes, and Lilacs, Oh My!

I love this time of year!!!

The trees with their white or pink blossoms, the gentle breezes that tease at one's hair and skin, and - my favorite - the lilacs!  

Yesterday afternoon, I biked over to the grocery store to pick up stamps for Sr. Rebecca, potatoes for our main kitchen, and bananas for Sr. Elaine.  I don't think much more would have safely fit in my bike basket.  As it was, my steering was affected by the weight of the purchases.

I was more than happy for the outing, however.  Along with the good of being able to help others, I appreciated the pleasures of the outdoors on a gorgeous May afternoon.  There were so many natural beauties which I passed as I rode along.

It surely is great to be alive on such a day!  Few other things in life direct my heart upward in gratitude as effectively as the gift of a beautiful spring day!  

To top it all off, when I walked home after a tiring day, my nose was greeted with another gift.  The scent of lilacs (my favorite flowers with sentimental memory value) greeted my nostrils.  It was too dark to see the source of the smell, but it was unmistakably lilacs, a sweet little gift to me as I hastened toward the convent for a much-anticipated appointment with my pillow.

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

 just got back early this morning from a week's home visit. It was a very nice time with my parents during which I also got to visit with some other family and friends. The trip wouldn't be complete without some Scrabble-playing with my dad, who has the tendency of beating me (about 68% of the time)...

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

I find myself returning again to the promise of Jesus at the end of Matthew's gospel: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We heard these touching words again...read more

 

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

"I am with you always, even to the end of time" :like2: Always a consolation of mine too.

  Thanks, Sister.:like2:

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

Retreating for Retreat

I am getting ready to leave town (yes, again) for our annual retreat.

It is a six day silent retreat.

Consequently, I do not know when I will be posting here again

I would appreciate your prayers as I get ready to go and also during the time of the retreat itself (June 11-17).

Thank you and God bless you :) !

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

“Coffee-Time Apostolate”

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This photo is from the inside of the cupboard door in our kitchenette, near where the coffee cups are kept.

It is a little “cheat sheet” for Sr. Elaine who daily hosts “coffee-time” after Mass.

This little note is there to remind her of all the different beverage preferences of those who regularly attend this morning session.

Some like decaffeinated, some like “the real thing,” (Sr. Elaine refers to this difference as “leaded or unleaded.”   Some prefer cappuccino, and others like “half & half” (half water/half coffee).

She truly exercises a spirit of hospitality, taking time from her heavy workload to facilitate fellowship and provide beverages and treats to those who wish to gather and visit here after Mass.

Today, some of the fresh rhubarb we’ve received will go toward this cause in the form of sour cream rhubarb bars made by our baking team (Sr. Christina and resident).

Edited by sr.christinaosf

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sr.christinaosf    510
sr.christinaosf

“It’s Already Tomorrow in Australia”

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I’m about to close off the night here at the front desk, and what an evening it’s been!!!

It started with a hospital visit, from which we arrived home late.  Then, when we were just finishing supper, I was paged and asked to help our aide upstairs.

Without violating HIPAA regulations, let’s just say there was a mess to clean up.  Sr. Elaine said she’d start evening Office, which we pray together regularly after supper.  As I hurried away, I said “Maybe, you’d better finish it, too.”  I was right; I had to pray privately this evening once I got to the front desk for my shift, a couple of minutes late.

It was good to be able to sit down and have that chaos behind me; but more awaited.  I was working on a project the computer, but had also been noticing that it was somewhat slow.  Also, the browser window was not displaying properly.

I tried various things, including restarted the computer, and ended up trying to “de-clutter.”  I thought I’d uninstall some unneeded software that may have been accidentally downloaded over the years.  Well, in my tired haste, I had accidentally started to uninstall our MS Office software – not good!

I ended up having to force the computer off to terminate the de-installation process!

I hoped no permanent damage was done and finally got back to my project.

I am very grateful for the Holy Spirit’s guidance lately.

It seems that I start out on these projects, overwhelmed and lacking clarity.  I pray for guidance and things seem to come around.  (Yes, I did remember to say “thank you.”)

The above-mentioned project involves some email correspondence on occasion, so I checked gmail again.  However, the “new message” was not the one I was waiting for.  Instead, it came all the way from Australia!

We get pre-written petitions for the “Universal Prayer” at Mass from a priest “down under” who writes and sends them out to various parishes.  This email was the coming week’s Mass petitions.

(I have to “doctor them up” a bit and modify them for our audience.  We don’t typically pray for “those in leadership among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.”

Anyway, this email from the other side of the world reminded me of a little quote Sr.  Elaine has used jokingly on occasion: “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.”

* * *

Even when things go topsy-turvy for me, and I’m afraid I’m going to crash the computer or get sick from cleaning an unsavory mess, I don’t need to worry.  The same One who made all seven continents (including Australia) has a handle on the craziness in my life as well.  :)

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