Drive-Thru Farewell for the Sisters in Greenwood

St. Francis Parish and School held a Drive-Thru Farewell for the Sisters.  It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine and welcome shade in the Sisters’ front yard.  The scent of magnolias rode on the playful breeze.

2 small tents contained tables filled with “happys” for all who would attend.  The planning committee had filled white lunch bags with a bag holding two remarkably delicious chocolate chip cookies, a bookmark from our own Vocation Department and a photo souvenir of the occasion.  The cover of the souvenir was filled with verbs describing all the ways our sisters had formed the faith of those they worked with and met.  Inside were the photos and names of all who had served here at St. Francis over the years.  It was all beautifully done.

Brother Patrick had prepared simple signs saying “Vaya con Dios” and “God Go with You”. There were balloons and decorated baskets for cards.

The event began with a small gathering of all the Friars, several of the parish women who would help greet guests, and the Sisters.  Father Cam began by reading a Proclamation from the Leflore County Board of Supervisors.  This was then presented to Sister Janet.

Next, Father Kim read a Proclamation from Mayor Carolyn McAdams which was then presented to Sister Janet.  This was followed by a key to the city being bestowed on each of us by Fr. Kim in the name of the Mayor.  Both proclamations communicated gratitude for all the many listed ministries done by our Sisters here over the years.  Sister Kathleen also received a special plaque from the school listing all the staff members she had worked with over the years.

Following the presentations, the Sisters were seated near the driveway in front of the convent.  Over the next 2 hours about 50 cars pulled up, placed cards and remembrances in the baskets and called out wishes and thankful thoughts from their cars and then drove on.  About midway through the event, a “parade” of about 12 vehicles gathered to drive through.  They were led by Andrew McQueen, Leflore County Constable.  He used his squad car with lights flashing and siren blaring.  As he drove the full length of the property driveway at about 1 mph, the other cars followed honking and waving.  Soraya Ratliff, granddaughter of Preston and Jackie Ratliff, stood and waved from the sunroof of their car.  It was quite a sight.  The above photo includes 2 former students of St. Francis School, Soraya and Preston Ratliff III.  In the background Mrs. Edith Spells and Ms. Maxine Ford enjoy some shade.

After many greetings and as many photo-ops, the Sisters retired to the Convent, the helpers headed home and the Friars removed the tables, tents, etc.  It was a memorable afternoon which was followed by a 4:00 p.m. Pentecost Mass.  This was the first public liturgy since mid-March.  Members of the liturgy committee came at various times to contribute to various parts of the Pentecost environment.  All was aflame with the color red and with candles.  15 parish members took part in the 4 p.m. Mass.  Sunday was highlighted by the 11:00 Mass which brought together 18 parish members while others participated via Facebook.  It was a source of joy to see and pray with the good people of St. Francis.

In the afternoon the Sisters sat down to open cards and gifts.  It had been announced that contributions be made to a scholarship fund for the school in lieu of gifts.  So after sharing cards, messages and gifts, the Sisters wrote thank you cards and prepared the $300 received for presentation to Jackie Lewis, principal.  Others have communicated the fact that they will be contributing to the scholarship by mail.  We have much to be thankful for!