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Thoughts from a Franciscan Sister


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“Drag Your Fingers.”


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.


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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Two Simple Words

by Our Franciscan Fiat


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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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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  • 2 weeks later...

 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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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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"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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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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“Coffee-Time Apostolate”


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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“It’s Already Tomorrow in Australia”


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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