Franciscan Sisters in Greenwood, MS share a “linked” idea.

This summer at  the Motherhouse we had a total Community gathering. All of the Sisters enjoyed the times of sharing, renewing friendships and praying together. As a ritual during Morning and Evening Praise we each received a link.

Franciscan Sisters link

We are all linked to each other as Community Members.

These links remind us of how connected we are to each other and how God has  joined us together.

Now that we are all back on our respective missions we have tried to carry the meaning and creativity along with us from the Motherhouse. As the 4 of us come together and as life would have it there was a “missing link” Alas, the Hardware store could save the day! And so we came together.

Borrowing an idea seen at the Motherhouse a paper chain was constructed for our table holding our names and qualities which we strive to  live together. As our days together began to unfold the mailman delivered the “missing link”. So now we have 5 links. That was easy….Jesus in our midst!

Now how to use the metal chain links in a meaningful way? Sister Kathleen came up with an idea based on the Jewish tradition of the Mezuzah which hung by the doorway. The Mezuzah held a prayer, “Shema Yisrael“, beginning with the words;  “Hear, O Israel, the LORD (is) our God, the LORD is One”.

Our Community has a goal each year and this year it is “To Bear Witness to God’s Merciful Love – Living in Hope”

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The chain of our links  and the link of Jesus is hung by the door we most often use to enter and leave. The sign or prayer next to it reads; “Help us to walk together in Hope, as we go to share the Mercy we have come to know.” So as we leave to do the Lord’s will and work we are reminded of our goal and the power of the Lord at work among us and the manner in which we should live.

Franciscan Sisters in Greenwood Prepare for New School Year

The days of summer break have passed quickly with renewing time spent at the Motherhouse, attending educational classes, workshops, visiting family and helping out with Motherhouse activities. Now the Sisters again find themselves preparing their classrooms for the opening day of school. This always involves bulletin boards!

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As the days near for school to start our new Principal was busy at work too. Signs in front of school greet the teachers as they arrive.

Teachers and staff attended a well planned in-service day. We were all greeted with; “Welcome Back! It’s Going to Be a Great Year”.  After an opening Ice Breaker where we each got to chose 3 candy bars, we were sure it was going to be great! But then came the activity. If you chose a Snicker Bar you were asked to tell the group the number of years you had been teaching. A Butterfinger called for your funniest experience while teaching, a $100 Grand  required you to share your most rewarding teaching experience,  a Milky Way Bar gave its owner a chance to tell about family, and finally, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup meant you were to share one attainable goal that you have set for this school year. Needless to say we had a lot of laughs and learned a little more about each other. Then it was down to business.

Our school cooks had been working hard too. They prepared a beautiful lunch for us to enjoy.

Franciscan Sisters Sharing The Beauty around them.

St. Francis of Assisi School can boasts of some beautiful daylilies growing in front of the building. What is unique about these flowers besides their attractiveness is that they all came from Sister Caritas’ garden at the Motherhouse. They traveled by train with the Sisters back to St. Francis and others came by car when 2 of our Sisters journeyed down here one hot August weekend to bring school supplies.  Amazing generosity in the Franciscan way!

Roses are plentiful at St. Francis. Some of these date back to when Sister Carol was here. Those who know her, know she has a heart for roses.

Amaryllis do well in Mississippi. My first fall here I recognized the amaryllis bulbs in the flower bed. Having raised them in WI and in Nebraska I knew that I had to dig them up, let them dry out and store them for the winter. So I proceeded, but wondered to myself if the climate here would affect these bulbs differently in the winter. What to do? I decided to dig some of the bulbs up as I was accustom to and leave some in the ground….just in case! After the winter’s cold was past I planted the bulbs I had dug up and soon learned a Mississippi gardening tip! Amaryllis bulbs do not need to be dug up. Since then I save some work and just enjoy their amazing beauty.

Hydrangea is a plant that grows easily around St. Francis Convent. I would wager that these hydrangea have been here for years! We have added last years Easter hydrangea from church, which came back hearty and full of color this year.

 Because Mississippi is milder in the winter than up north we are able to plant flowers in the winter. Pansies, Viola, Petunia and Snapdragons do well here over the colder months, but die out as the summer warms up.

There are many other flowers that brighten the St. Francis convent and school beds.

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We are blessed to be able to enjoy so many colors and various types of flowers. Who but God could have created flowers?  “And God saw that it was good” Genesis 1

Franciscan Sister Experiences Southern Warmth and Appreciation

Sister Mary Ann Tupy is completing her years of ministry as Principal at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, MS. It is with sadness and deep appreciation that so many attempt to thank her and wish her God’s blessings.

Open House was sponsored by the combined Advisory Council and Home School Board.

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The school children had their opportunity to express gratitude to Sister Mary Ann also. May Day began typically with the student body gathered in church for a prayer service. Following the service Sister Elena presented a video montage of many St. Francis students finishing the sentence, “If I were Sister Mary Ann, the first thing I would do when I got to Hawaii would be…” This brought many laughs and led us into the next event.

Then all left church to go to the playground where they gathered around the May Pole. The May Pole wrapping was   dedicated to Sister Mary Ann. Here a chair, covered in an authentic silk screened purple cloth (purple being the color of the Island of Kauai), was provided for her. Let the fun begin!

Following the May Pole dance, each class presented a lei which they had made for Sister.  Each class crafted a unique type of lei, so Sister Mary Ann was bedecked with a variety of creations using money, candy, beads, and flowers of silk, foam and paper.

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The Sisters had some plans of their own…in a Hawaiian theme of course!

One of Sister Mary Ann’s favorite places in Mississippi is Lake Grenada so it only seemed right that we would include this in our plans.

Sunday Mass offered an opportunity for the parish to celebrate Sister Mary Ann and wish blessings upon her.

A picnic/tamale dinner was held after mass.

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The final day of the school year came to a close and as is typical, the faculty and staff shared a relaxing meal together before the work of finishing up the classrooms began. They took this opportunity to say thank you to Sister Mary Ann.

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True Southern warmth has blessed Sister Mary Ann and will remain in her heart as she goes forth to minister to the children at St. Theresa’s in Kekaha, HI.

Southeastern University of LA Students Celebrate May Day at St. Francis of Assisi School

As the final days of school approach a group of Students from Southeastern Louisiana University spent time at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood. They did a variety of services as well and enjoyed working with our students. May Day was a big event in the midst of their visit.

These are some of the big cracks in our basketball court caused by the flooding of the playground. When the lake and creek overflow the water shifts the ground which causes the  cement to resettle and crack. It is one of those situations we cannot permanently fix, but this surely is a wonderful, if temporary fix for a popular play area for our students.

While fixing the cement our visitors did some painting on the court. They added the St. Francis School logo…

…and they left us an inspirational message.

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This is a motto for life. Whenever things get hard don’t give up. “Go the extra degree” Water doesn’t boil at 211 degrees, but one degree more and it does. 212! We don’t know what we can do unless we give it that extra effort.

There was Painting in the Friary, helping in the classrooms, holding music sessions and daily fun time with the students. And then came May Day!

As the day drew to a close the many smiles and faces of enjoyment were visible everywhere you looked. We give thanks to God for the good weather and for the ready helping hands of our visitors from Southeastern LA university.

Franciscan Sisters join St. Francis Parish in May Crowning Celebration

The Franciscan Sister joined the parishianers of St. Francis Parish in a procession to the grotto of our Lady next to our convent. It was there that one of this year’s First Communicants had the honor of crowning Mary.

The Statue is a little high so Sister Kathleen artfully covered the ladder with a sheet.

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May our Lady intercede on behalf of all mothers; living, deceased, spiritual and all those who have been mothers to us in any way.

May our Lady intercede on behalf of all mothers; living, deceased, spiritual and all those who have been mothers to us in any way.

Secular Franciscan Profession Renews St. Francis Parish, Greenwood

The final days before Profession for nine of our Candidates were filled with prayer, sharing and laughter. On Friday evening Sister Annette gave a reflection on their Profession in the Secular Franciscan Order.

 

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On Saturday all moved to the school cafeteria where Sister Kathleen had attractively displayed pictures of St. Francis’ Canticle done by Sister Mariella Erdmann, a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity.

It was here that Fr. Jerome OFM, the Provincial Spiritual Assistant for the St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity, shared many excellent truths on the Admonitions of St. Francis.

 

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Come Sunday morning, all was in readiness for the Candidates and their family and friends who were coming to witness and celebrate this Profession. The last time a Secular Profession had taken place at St. Francis of Assisi Parish had been in the early 1970’s. Few present remembered the occasion.

The flowers–nine white and three red, represent the nine members to be Professed and the three members who have died as the journey unfolded.

This “Newly Forming Group” has been discerning for months and years through prayer, study, reading, sharing, and questioning. They  were ready for Profession!

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The giving of the Bible, San Damiano Cross and the Profession candle followed.

The newly Professed filed out after Mass singing and clapping to the song, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”.

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Smiles and radiant faces were seen all around.

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The graces of this day were plentiful for the Newly Professed and their families as well as for the parish of St. Francis of Assisi. May the lives of these individuals flourish in holiness and spill over into their families and the parish members who witnessed this wonderful Profession of faith and commitment.

Franciscan Sisters Prepare 18 Students for First Communion

In an area where the Catholic population is only 2%, it is a joyous day to have 18 young boys and girls making their First Holy Communion. It was a full Sunday with First Communions at two parishes and three different masses. First it was 9:00am Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Four students with beaming faces from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish pose with Sister Elena. This could be the first First Communion picture for this parish of mixed cultures.

Four students with beaming faces from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish pose with Sister Elena. This was a joyous occasion on which to introduce bits of the Hispanic culture to the parish.

Then St. Francis of Assisi had the 11:00am Mass.

Sister Kathleen who is the Coordinator of the two Parishes Faith Formation Program had an attractive and symbolic arrangement in the back of church.

Sister Kathleen who is the Coordinator of the combined Faith Formation Program for St. Francis and Immaculate Heart parishes, created an attractive and symbolic arrangement in the back of church.

 

Sister Elena poses with two of the students she taught. One in her second grade class at St. Francis and the second in her Faith Formation class.

Sister Elena poses with two of her students; one in her second grade class at St. Francis and the other in her Faith Formation class.

All is in readiness and Mass begins.

And finally the 1:30pm Spanish Mass at St. Francis of Assisi.

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What is such a day without celebrating with food?

After each Mass at each parish there was a nice social for families and friends to share together. Here is a sample following the Spanish Mass. The cake contained the names of each of the children. It looks like Sisters Mary Ann and Kathleen got in on the action!

 

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There is actually one more Hispanic First Communion to come. The family is waiting for relatives to arrive for the special day. It was a full, but blessed day for all involved.

Franciscan Sisters Welcome Young Catholic Women to Spring “Meet the Sisters”

The young Catholic women of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Greenwood, MS have grown to enjoy and request “Meet the Sisters” gatherings. Since our area has such a small Catholic population, it is good for our young women to have opportunities to enjoy sharing time and activities with each other while they get to know the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

The first order of business is always a snack. Food seems to gather people of any age together. What could be more Franciscan that popcorn?

The Sisters learned of the latest trend in young ladies shoes! Two laces and a velcro strap with lots of bling!

The Sisters learned of the latest trend in young ladies shoes! Two laces; black and pink  plus a velcro strap with lots of bling!

As the snack disappeared we all got into a game called “Heads UP”. Each in their turn held the tablet and had to guess the displayed word from the clues everyone else gave. It turned out to be winning activity marked by high energy and high volume too!

Okay, it was time for a craft. Off to the school cafeteria we all went. Sister Kathleen was in charge of this activity. She had a paper folding project lined up. She had taught the Sisters the evening before so we would have a head start on the task. This turned out to be a good idea!

The finished product!

Wow! Everyone had worked hard to create their lotus flower and now were ready for some hot dogs and s’mores. So back to the convent.

No gathering would be complete without some time spent with the Lord in our chapel. Sister Elena was in charge of the prayer service.

Before we knew it the parents were arriving for their daughters. Goodbyes and hugs were shared. The few remaining young ladies had a few quick rounds of tag while waiting for the last cars to arrive. Because it is so much appreciated and enjoyed, “Meet the Sisters” is an event which will come again to St. Francis Convent in the Fall of the next school year. Until then may all be blessed.

Greenwood, MS Secular Franciscans practice for Profession

Years of praying and formation are paying off as the St. Francis of Assisi “Newly Forming” Secular Franciscans approach the day of Profession.

…all go into final preparation for the Profession Retreat days and the Profession ceremony and celebration after.

And let's not forget practice for the big day!

And let’s not forget practice in church for the big day!

Pray with us as we prepare. Retreat days are Friday April 29 and Saturday April 30. Profession will be May 1, 2016 for 9 members of this “Newly Forming” Secular group.