Franciscans of the Delta Gather over Labor Day

Sunday of Labor Day weekend was a  wonderful occasion of sharing, laughter, food and Franciscan joy for the Sisters of Mound Bayou and Greenwood along with the Franciscan Friars of Greenwood. Following the Sunday Liturgy at St. Francis all came together at the Convent for an afternoon together.

 

Shared stories of labors in the Lord’s vineyard, memories of growth in the Franciscan life and joy in the delicious food shared were all voiced in the simple spirit of St. Francis. Pax et bonum!

 

Franciscan Sisters Pause to Go Beyond the Tech Web

“Come let us worship the Lord, all things live for Him” Ps. 95:6

“How many, O Lord, are the wonders and designs, You have made for us.”   Ps. 40:5

“Let everything  that lives and breathes give praise to the Lord.” Ps 150:6

Let us ask Him to help us see more than webs and obstacles to trip us up.  Let us seek to view all the events of our day with the eyes of a child who knows the Father’s love.

Mississippi Sisters Begin a New Year Together

We Sisters at St. Francis have been busy with many things as this new school year begins. The Friars community had determined this summer was the time to address a ceiling “face lift” in a major area of our home for which we are very grateful. So first on our list was some major removal of dust after this summer ceiling replacement project. Then it was time for getting things ready in school and the classrooms. The meeting of faculty and staff; new and old, meeting parents and students and readying the classrooms to begin the new school year. Once that was in place we were able to come together and share thoughts and plans for our year together in community.

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Our lanterns then became the centerpiece for a special meal we prepared for the Friars on their Provincial Feast of the Assumption Of the Blessed Virgin Mary and as a farewell for our pastor Fr. Greg who has been reassigned.

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The evening ended as we all gathered in our chapel with a special Night Prayer of Thanksgiving. The prayer was based on the writings of Bonaventure where he tells us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, to St. Francis, was Mother, Advocate, and Queen. Peace and God’s blessings to all.

Franciscans Remember 20 year Anniversary in Greenwood MS.

Twenty years ago the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity answered the request of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province to join them in ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Greenwood, MS. On July 28, 1997 four sisters; Sister Natalie Binversie, Sister Rochelle Kerkhof, Sister Delores Vogt and Sister James Ellen Woolsey left the Motherhouse as the Community blessed them singing, “The Blessing of St. Francis”.

Many of our Sisters have served here since that day and have found the blessings of life and ministry at St. Francis to be as real for them as it was for those pioneer Sisters. In remembrance of these 20 years of presence and all the Sisters who have served here over the years, Fr. Jim Gannon, Provincial, and the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province gifted us with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  We are enjoying them with deep gratitude.

Franciscan Sisters of Greenwood Enjoy the Calm and Beauty of Sky Lake

It is often said that we can miss the beauty in our own backyard. This was true of the Sisters at St. Francis of Assisi until this past weekend. Just 35 minutes from our home we discovered “Sky Lake” An article published in our local paper, The Commonwealth describes it as; “a hidden gem tucked away in the remote reaches of southern Leflore County and northern Humphreys County.”  Near the town of Belzoni,                                                                MS,  Sky Lake is an old abandoned channel of the Mississippi River.                                                                        Native Americans are thought to have occupied it thousands of years ago.

The 1,735 ft. boardwalk, which is 12 feet above the forest floor, was completed in 2010. The shallow swamp is home to some of the largest and oldest bald cypress trees on earth. Some are thought to be more than 1,000 years old and are in the same family as the Sequoia and Redwood trees.

Along  the boardwalk we learned many interesting facts about the cypress and the area.

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The day was overcast and the temperature of about 70, so combined with the humidity we had an ideal day to slowly enjoy God’s nature from the boardwalk.

Surrounded by all of these reflections of God’s beauty  in nature we also reflected and pondered the wonder of God’s immensity.

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We noticed many things small and large as we walked along the walkway.

We saw the most brilliant warbler flying about the area, but never spotted the alligators or bear!

It didn’t take us long to understand why it is called “Sky Lake”! The reflections were beautiful. It was hard sometimes to see where the tree ended and the water began.

We are sure we will re-visit “Sky Lake” in other seasons of the year to see the changes and to show visitors who travel to our home.

 

Picture This! St. Francis Mission Triduum

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words! Reflecting back on the holy days of this season we will share some of the meaningful sights from St. Francis of Assisi Mission.

Holy Thursday evening services were preceded by a dinner hosted at the Friary for for the Sisters and 6 young men who had traveled here from different areas of the USA as they discern their vocation.

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Good Friday morning found the Sisters being creative in the kitchen and enjoying dying some Easter eggs.

The afternoon services gathered us together in church.

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Holy Saturday brought with it a variety of activities.

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The Easter services held so many beautiful realities, sights and sounds.

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The Sisters entered into their own fun after the masses had been celebrated.

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So, Happy Easter and thank you for joining us in our celebrations of the season!

Franciscan Sisters and Hispanic Community Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe

Balloons, streamers, costumes and flowers surely signal a celebration!  All these elements lent themselves to the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe here at St. Francis Parish in Greenwood.  Families bedecked a trailer with balloons, drapery and ribbon in the colors of Mexico where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego.

Those gathered in the street soon moved inside a parishioner’s home to bring out the image of the Virgin.

After the blessing of the image, it was time for the last minute preparations of the float!

Clouds filled the December sky and a brisk wind pushed us along the route of the procession.  Participants joined in praying the rosary and singing Spanish songs honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The procession ended in front of St. Francis Church where many more members of the Hispanic Community waited.

St. Francis church held a joyful congregation of the faithful.  Some of the families spent most of Saturday preparing the church for the liturgy.  The beautiful statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe was banked in roses of every hue.  Those coming to celebrate brought countless more bouquets and plants so that Mary was surrounded with the beauties of God’s creation. So, beauty abounded in so many forms–the beat of feet following the image in procession, the lilt of voices raised in praise, the rhythms of the rosary prayed in faith, the reverent faces of children honoring their heavenly Mother, and the vibrant colors of blooms opening at the feet of the Virgin.  Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Franciscan Sisters Share Signs of Advent

As the first Sunday of Advent dawns, so do the sights and signs of this special time in the Church year.

Our convent home from table to chapel offers beautiful reminders of the season of preparation and anticipation of the coming of Jesus into our hearts.

St. Francis Church was also trimmed and ready. The Church reminds us to use this time to prepare for Christmas and to let it  “renew our ardent desire for Jesus’ second coming.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 524).

Advent brings with it a special Evening Prayer. The Friars, Sisters and Parishioners join together each Sunday evening to share this prayer.

As we walk home after Evening Prayer the sky radiates the light of the Lord Who is to come.

Come Lord Jesus!

Franciscan Sisters and Brothers Celebrate the feast of St. Francis

“O God, you gave your servant, Francis, a heart full of praise. Fill our hearts with praise as we celebrate this feast of St. Francis.”

 

A hymn from an old Slovak Hymnal states; “Blessed Francis Holy Father now our hearts to thee we raise, as we gather ’round thine altar, pouring forth our hymns of praise.”

So, the Franciscan Sisters and Friars of St. Francis Mission, Greenwood, gathered along with 2 visiting benefactors who are aspiring Secular Franciscans, to sing praises to God. The hymn chosen for this evening, was the “Canticle of the Sun” by Marty Haugen, giving praise for all of God’s creation as seen in the eyes of St. Francis.

A group picture to commemorate the gathering.

Francis loved to celebrate life and all God’s gifts so a gathering of Franciscans seems to imply food!

“Bless thy children holy Francis, with those wounded hands of thine, from thy glorious throne in heaven where resplendently they shine.” 

“We praise God with the entire Church and all our Franciscan brother and sisters.”

Franciscan Sisters Invite Young Catholic women

Picture a fine Fall Friday afternoon.   After a busy day of school, 15 vivacious young Catholic girls, plus one aspiring to become Catholic,  arrived at the Franciscan Sisters convent door full of smiles, excitement and anticipation.

First things first, and in this case that would be an after school snack. The smell of fresh popped corn always tickles the olfactory nerves and a cold drink to wash it down hits the spot.

The snack was soon devoured and the group was ready for some fun.

The “Heads Up” game, sponsored and tailor made by Sister Elena included words unique to our group and our Faith.  The game surely got the young ladies off their chairs and at times jumping to give a clue to their team mates.

Soon it was time for Sister Kathleen to tell a story, and if you haven’t heard her tell a story, well she is a great story teller. Since we are so close to the feast of St. Francis we had decided to focus our activities on our patron. Sister Kathleen shared the story of Francis and the wolf of Gubbio. She had everyone spellbound and even made a few jump when she startled them.

After the story there was an outside game of tag to go with the story. Sister Elena got for volunteers to be the wolf and  St. Francis.  The rest of the girls became the villagers. Of course it was St. Francis after the wolf and the wolf after the villagers and the rest was all fun!

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The group ran for their lives! And before long the next activity was ready to go in Sister Kathleen’s classroom.

Using coffee filters, tempera paints, paper plates, and ribbons to hang them on, the young ladies made Canticle of the Creatures wall hangings. They were so engaged and happy with their creations which they each proudly took home.

It was time for our group picture before we went in for something to eat.

It was group picture time before we went in to see what was cooking.

Whiffs of a proven favorite menu item were soon filling the air.  Sister Annette always hears the young ladies exclaim, “You are such a good cook!” And I just smile at them.

Then the best part came!

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Our time together was fast coming to an end. It was time to thank the good Lord for a great afternoon.

One of the young ladies was wearing a t-shirt which added a perfect finish to our evening together.

Words of St. Francis of Assisi

These words of St. Francis of Assisi, were proven true in the way he lived his life and in the way all Franciscans are called to live.