Social Distancing Among God’s Creatures and Creations

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy shares on life and social distancing in Greenwood, Mississippi.

One mockingbird and one turtle are out on this beautiful Spring Palm Sunday and they are practicing their social distancing techniques.

These may look like gnomes, or carvings, but they are actually “knees” of the Cyprus tree that you see to the right. They, too, have gotten the message about social distancing!

Another beautiful moment on this holy day was provided by our eldest parish family member, Papa Sam Leach, 89. Though the church is locked by diocesan decree and there are no services, Papa Sam drove up at the normal Mass time of 11:00, parked and swung his crippled legs out of the car. There he sat in prayer before his beloved church until Mass would have been over around 12:00 and he drove home. What an example of faith!



Franciscan Sister’s Correspondence During Covid-19 Crisis

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy shares on the current situation at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Greenwood, Mississippi.

This morning’s news reported that Greenwood will be the first host of a drive-thru testing station in the state. This seems to be due to the fact that our Leflore County has 18 confirmed cases and now 2 deaths in the county. Our hospital has set up a Covid-19 unit separate from the normal ICU. They have 4 patients there, 3 of which are on ventilators presently.

For us, Sisters, life continues with our new normal. We are generally the only ones in the school building. Mrs. Lewis comes and goes and it seems that maybe our cafeteria manager and assistant may be coming in to cook food from the freezer for the general community.
Days now begin with a live streamed Mass celebrated in the friary, followed by reception of Holy Communion. We are then off to school where we are planning and gathering materials for our daily Zoom meeting class sessions. Each of us is doing 2 sessions per day.

We received return work from our students on Friday and unpacked them yesterday, having given them time to sit in a confined tub so as to let germs die. Now we have LOTS of work to correct and grade.

Unfortunately we have not noticed any slowing of traffic passing on the highway right outside of our house. We also have a grocery store right across that highway and customer traffic seems to be about the same as ever.

To our knowledge, only one church continued with services. We pray that they will be safe!

Our friars are live streaming daily and Sunday Masses, Stations of the Cross, Bible class and weekly reflections. Most of these are done in both English and Spanish.

As the class bells echo down our empty halls and the grass grows higher on our playground, as the church bells continue to ring over empty pews, we feel the absence of our school and parish communities.

We keep you all in our prayers that God’s protective hand will shelter us according to His will!

Franciscan Sisters Focus on Deep Cleaning

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity serving schools throughout the United States are into deep cleaning. Sister Kathleen Murphy sends a St. Patrick’s day message from St. Francis of Assisi School, Greenwood, Mississippi.

Sanitizing in the absence of our little ones. Bleach solution and shop towels and gloves…oh my!

On this St. Patrick’s Day, praying for the blessing of good health and success of bleach cleaning EVERYTHING! Even glue bottles could attract germs. Sticky business!

The Autobiography of a Misplaced Hawk by Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy OSF

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy shares on a recent winged creature in her kindergarten classroom at St. Francis of Assisi School, Greenwood, Mississippi.

The Autobiography of a Misplaced Hawk

You may surmise that my misadventures began here in this hole bearing a resemblance to a batman entrance. I was on the hunt for a blackbird snack. Having set my sights on a bird I throttled up and sped after it. When it took a sudden left tack I tried to apply my brakes to no avail. I found myself crashing into another world from which I could find no escape.

Vainly I searched for a tree or bush in which to hide. I decided these boxes were the highest perch I could find. While I pondered my plight, several humans became involved. First, several teachers, who had heard my crashing entrance searched in vain for the source of the noise. I was hiding out of sight. I learned that the first graders who inhabit this space had just stepped out for a bathroom break. I was glad for they would have been very scary to me. As I heard Sister Kathleen approaching with the class, I panicked and tried to get through that hole in the window and caused more glass to crash.


This brought Sister Kathleen to the door where she readily spied me. I was so shocked by my failure to escape that I needed to land and regroup. A computer monitor seemed like a good perch and that’s where she saw me. Sister immediately closed the door and got on her phone to Brother Mark. Then after just a few seconds I heard all those little feet retreating and I breathed a relieved sigh!

That sense of relief didn’t last long! Having realized that some panes of the transom windows of each room had been removed to allow heat and cooling circulation in the hall, Sister Kathleen began to visualize me cruising the halls into other rooms. She alerted Mrs. Lewis, the principal who was involved with classroom supervision with the Assistant Superintendent. Now I heard the feet of all the students being ushered to the cafeteria where there were no points of entry for me.
As I was adjusting to that noise, here came several men. There were Brother Mark and Mr. Lara, (the school maintenance team) Mr. Randle, (school parent and county Emergency Management Chief) and a police officer. This called for action, so I began cruising the room. My best choice seemed to be hiding behind the massive TV cabinet. As I quietly huddled in this small space I heard the police officer try his best to convince the other men that I had flown back out the window. The others, remaining unconvinced, watched as Mr. Randle began to pound on the cabinet.

Clearly this was no longer a safe haven, so I was up and out, doing laps of the room. I decided to try intimidation and did a bit of a dive bomb on the police officer. No one ran out, so I toured the room again and spotted the hole in the window. Out I flew to freedom!

Once Brother Hawk had made his exit, the students still could not return to the room due to the broken window which would allow other creatures in as well as the broken glass littering one side of the room.
Upon closer inspection, Sister Kathleen found a bloody talon print from the hawk which had tried to capture a smaller bird, but apparently lost its grip. The print was on the top of the computer monitor where the hawk had perched.

The First Grade settled into the cafeteria for the rest of the day to work there in safety.

Brother Mark and Mr. Lara began work on the window after school and soon had the new glass set in place. All was returned to normal and we pray that all God’s creatures stay where they belong.


St. Francis of Assisi Mardi Gras Party

Some time during the month of February, Greenwood, Mississippi’s St. Francis of Assisi Mardi Gras Party is a real fun time event. It is also an extreme blessing to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.  A significant fund raiser, it provides for the many big and small needs of a parish school.

Sister Janet, Sister Maria Goretti and Sister Kathleen were among the volunteers who created the atmosphere at Leflore County Civic Center. The group knew what they were doing and the proper supplies were on hand to finish in time for the arrival of guests.

The February 11, 2020 event was held from 7 p.m. to midnight and included music, food, much conversation and many hues of Mardi Gras colors. May the Lord watch over us all during the coming days of Lent.

Catholic School Week Liturgy and Convent Open House

St. Francis of Assisi School, Greenwood, Mississippi celebrated Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, January 26 at the parish Mass. The national theme was Catholic Schools Week: Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed.

Students served in various roles throughout the liturgy from the entrance procession to reading the Word of God to singing their hearts out in the choir.

Franciscan Friar of the Assumption BVM Province, Fr. Camillus Janus presided at the inspiring Eucharist with family members also present.

Sister Kathleen Murphy was organist and directed the children’s choir. Sister Janet Rose and Sister Maria Goretti Scandaliato assisted wherever there was a need for extra hands.

After Mass, everyone was invited for an open house at the convent.

Included in the tour was the convent chapel. All were able to add their prayer intentions to a book for the Sisters to remember during their Community prayer times.

Refreshments provided time for warm-hearted conversation.

Guests took the opportunity to enjoy pictures collected in albums over the years.



Franciscan Sisters Remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy highlights the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March in Greenwood, Mississippi. We pray for peace and justice for all people.

Sister Janet Rose, Sister Kathleen and Sister Maria Goretti joined parish members from St. Francis, Greenwood at the March in honor of Dr. Mar-tin Luther King Jr. The march is held annually on the weekend during which his birthday is celebrated.

Brother Mark Gehret, OFM, also took part in the march.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Women played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, and so it all begins – as does life – begins in a woman’s womb.” – Bernice King




St. Francis of Assisi Parish Decorated for Christmas

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy has her eye on the beauty and uniqueness of Christmas celebrations around her at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Greenwood, Mississippi. Find here convent chapel scenes that also inspire focused contemplation.

The glorious tree in St. Francis Church creates a beautiful backdrop for baby Jesus. Reminiscent of the story of Christmas in Greccio, St. Francis Church always features the image of Francis with the Baby Jesus near the tree.

St. Francis Church in its Christmas splendor includes the Eucharistic Presence adorned with magnolia leaves and poinsettias.

St. Francis saw the great love of God for us as exhibited in Jesus in the crib, Jesus on the Cross and Jesus in the ciborium. Christmas at St. Francis Church recalls all of these wondrous manifestations of God’s love.

At the convent the three-fold  theme of St. Francis and his great love for Jesus is also displayed.

“Blessed Francis, however, was standing before the manger fully of sighs of joy and suffused by an indescribable sweetness…truly he was so overcomeby sweet devotion toward the infancy of that King, that whenever he had to speak the name of Jesus Christ, he would, as if stuttering, call him “the babe of Bethlehem,: out of excess of loving tenderness…” -The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer, Chapter 10, 54

Advent Season Celebrated at St. Francis of Assisi School

The Advent Season is filled with our Blessed Mother’s feasts: Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy planned a lesson that helps the students to be aware of Mary every day of Advent.

St. Francis School First Graders were very proud of their Advent projects honoring Mary, the mother who waits.

Watercolor skills teamed up with cutting and gluing expertise in yielding the final effect of this inspiring artwork.

St. Francis of Assisi School Entry in Greenwood Christmas Parade

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy shares Christmas parade moments for St. Francis School, Greenwood, Mississippi.

Students of St. Francis School are ready and waiting for the Christmas Parade to begin. The theme for the float was Ornaments of Hope.

Sister Janet enjoys the children’s enthusiasm for the joys of the holiday!

Aladin’s lamp and his genie are inflated and ready. The genie seems to be enjoying the band’s performance.

The mighty young men of St. Francis School are in readiness as the parade begins to roll forward.