Sister Kathleen Shares Franciscan Joy in God’s Creative Love With Her Kindergarten Class

Kindergarteners seems to be the perfect age to teach and to enjoy, all at the same time. Here we see Sister Kathleen taking her class out on this  beautiful sunny afternoon to water the tomato plants they have put in and even named. The seedlings are now addressed by alphabetical names:  Adam, Barbie, Connor, DeeDee, Edgar and Francine.  The box garden had been an upper grade project last year, but this year the Kindergarten will enjoy the adventure of nurturing plants.

The watering is a big adventure today. Making sure each plant gets a drink and continues to grow is filled with wonder. A warning to the wise though! There are fire ants living in the far corner of the box bed. We need to stay away from them as they can be nasty.

 

What is this growing in our next box bed? A squirrel has been here doing his own planting!

 

A pecan nut! And it is growing into a potential tree. Our squirrels plant or hide these nuts every where, but not always in the right places.

These two boxes are a little different from the first. They are supposed to be self watering. Here we see Ashley adding water to the bottom of the box to provide continual moisture for these two tomato plants.  The rest of the classs looks on in wonderment.

 

Allison is giving the second box a good supply of water for these plants. What a fun time it is being in Kindergarten! Being outside and watering, learning about more of God’s creatures and watching things grow!

Franciscan Sisters Come To The Table With First Communicants

The Third Sunday of Easter held much happiness for the 22 First Communicants in Greenwood Mississippi. The first mass was at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish  with 6 happy First Communicants.

 

A beautiful class picture at the close of Mass.

 

The second mass of the day was the 11:00 at St. Francis. The two Communicants here attend St. Francis School and as the day of their First Communion came closer, the two children counted down the moments until they could recieve Jesus with the rest of us.  It only seemed right to sing with them, “This is the day!”

 

 

At the close of Mass they were all smiles.

 

 

 

Brylon’s family is unique in that his Great Grandmother was an early convert at St. Francis Parish and when she arranged for her own baptism, she included all her children in the recption of the Sacrament of Baptism on the same day. This picture shows four generations of Catholics who have belonged to the St. Francis Church community. Brylon couldn’t be happier! Monday morning, with a gleam in his eye, he asked if he could receive again on Wedensday at the school mass. The innocence and joy in his heart was a gift to behold!

 

 

At 1:30 we had the celebration of First Communion at the Spanish mass. This community celebrated with 14 children, thus bringing the total number of First Communicants for the weekend to 22. The church and the city of Greenwood is blessed to have so many of its children happy and excited about their reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood. May this joy carry them through the ups and downs life will bring them as the Lords love grows and deepens in their hearts.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                          God calls you…We invite you.

 

 

Franciscan Sisters Honored for Their Presence and Ministry at Mound Bayou, MS.

As the St. Gabriel Mercy Center in Mound Bayou, MS enters a new phase of leadership, the friends of the Center gathered for “A Night to Remember”.  Dr. Eulah L Peterson, Mayor of the City of Mound Bayou, MS. was the Mistress of Ceremonies and opened the annual awards dinner and fundraiser at the Fred B. Clark Family Life Center.  The event provided an occasion for  some of the Franciscan Sisters to gather together again in Mound Bayou. Sisters Monica Mary and Emy Beth were two of the four honorees feted during this special evening. Their presence and service were remembered and celebrated.

 

Sister Monica Mary DeQuardo OFS had been the Excecutive Director of the St. Gabriel Mercy Center during the past 4 years and was instrumental in the Center’s placement in the granting   of the Lumen Christi Award.

 

She arrived at St. Gabriel Mercy Center along with Sister Mary Beth Kornely and Sister Judanne Stratman in 2014.

 

 

Sister Emy Beth Furrer joined them the following year as an Administrative Assistant to Ms. Trena  Robinson.

 

 

Sister Monica Mary is seated with a number of the Mercy Sisters who remain on the St. Gabriel Mercy Center Board.

The Franciscan Sisters from St. Francis, Greenwood join their Sisters for the special evening of “Remembering”.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish Celebrates Palm Sunday Liturgy

“Hosanna! Blest is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

St. Francis of Assisi Parish members gather outside for the blessing of the palms and procession to church for Palm Sunday mass.  All joined the choir in singing, Ride On, Jesus, Ride, a Negro Spiritual.  The singing set the tone for the jubilant portion of the celebration.  Later, the choir helped all to enter into considering the Passion of Jesus with their prayerful renditions of Calvary  and Were You There.  Many parish members joined the universal Church in its use of the color red for the Passion.  They chose beautiful red clothing to lend to the spirit of the day.

 

“It is truly a day to praise Jesus for overcoming sin and death through his act of pure, sacrificial love…Jesus’ death on the cross proves that the way to heaven is one of receiving graciuosly instead of possessing selfishly.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                excerpt from Word Among Us

Let us, on this Palm Sunday, fix our eyes on Jesus, and let his self-giving love move us to be more like him.

Franciscan Sisters Serving in the Delta

My life as a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity has offered many opportunities to serve the Lord and His people.”

Sister Judy recalls; “after teaching for many years; I began parish ministry, where among other things, I taught Faith Formation and RCIA. Here in the Delta, I tutor some of our school students, visit with our parishioners who are in Nursing homes and those who are home bound, bringing them the Eucharist and news from our parish in an effort to keep them connected to our parish family.

 

When I, Sister Annette, was a young Sister I determined early on that I was not called to be a teacher. I wanted to be a homemaker, but the kitchen did not contain all of my interests. Though I love cooking and baking for the Sisters I also wanted to be involved with the Sisters in their work, or work in the local community. I have gotten into some teacher aid work and even filling in for some teachers in times of need. I have volunteered in a hospital and a nursing home, done village ministry in AZ. and began a Youth Group.

 

Currently, besides my cooking, I am journeying with a Secular Franciscan Fraternity and am a Support Staff person here at St. Francis School. When I answered the call God placed in my heart, I had no idea what was in store for me. I could never have imagined where His love would take me, but here I am at St. Francis of Assisi, Greenwood, MS. I couldn’t have planned my life as well as God did! I am so blessed and happy as a FSCC.

 

If God may be calling you to begin a journey of discernment to be a Religious woman and are in our area feel free to contact us at 662-453-1221 or email sannettek@fscc-calledtobe.org .

Peace and all Good!

 

Franciscan Sisters Meet With Young Catholic Women “At The Foot of The Cross”

 The Franciscan Sisters at St. Francis of Assisi Convent invited young Catholic women to join them for a  time of reflecting during this Lenten season with the theme; “At the Foot of the Cross”.

 

Sister Kathleen with the help of Sister Judy gave a visual image of God’s wiping away our sins. The young women were guided in making red water symbolizing anger, green for envy, yellow for moral cowardice, and blue for self-centeredness and negativity.  Then, combining all the colors, they created a black liquid. This led the group to reflect on the darkness that we experience in our own sinfulness.   But as God forgives us our sins our hearts are again made pure. Voila!  This was accomplishd today with the help of a bleach solution!

Next, each young women chose a paper cross and a copy of St. Francis’ Prayer before the Crucifix and a sheet of sample “doodles”. The cross and prayer were glued to a black sheet of paper. The cross was then to be decorated with the “doodles” of their choice. This activity continued later as each person waited their turn to recieve the sacrament of Reconciliation.

“Most High glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, sure hope and perfect charity. Fill me with understanding and knowledge, Lord, that I may know your holy and true command.”  St. Francis’ Prayer before the Crusifix

 

With God’s cleansing love in mind all gathered at the foot of the cross in the sanctuary of our church for a reconciliation service with an examination of conscience based on the Stations of the Cross.

 

In the meantime the grill had been lit and the coals were ready for some favorite foods. A picnic lunch in the backyard of the convent featuring s’mores was in order.

 

 

Soon it was time for a group picture with everyone’s cross included to add to our photo album.

One last group gathering at the foot of the cross in our convent chapel.

Notice what happened with the craft project each young women had earlier recieved.

 

 

A closing prayer of petition and gratiude concluded our day.

 

 

 

“God calls you. We invite you.

Franciscan Sister Reflects on God’s Unfolding Plan

As Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity we place our lives in God’s hand as we live out our vows. Our Community responds to the needs of the Church as they are expressed to our Community leaders.  We, as individuals,  respond in turn by going in obedience to serve where the needs await us.

 

Sister Kathleen Murphy and her Kindergarteners enjoying an ice cream treat!

 

Listen as Sister Kathleen reflects; “Life with the Lord is full of surprises!  I never dreamed of being a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, and yet here I am, happily loving and serving the Lord in a Community that just fits me!  I never dreamed of living in Mississippi which is a good bit different from the Wisconsin farm where I grew up.  Yet, here I am in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.  Here I see Jesus’ face in the expectant faces of my Kindergarten students.  I feel the joy of Jesus in the Gospel music celebrated by the parish choir I get to work with.  I sense some of the burden of Jesus among the Hispanic families, whose lives hang in a balance as they work, pray and raise their children among us.  God’s plan unfolds anew day by day, and though it is so different from the path I might have plotted for myself, it is surely the right path, the blessed way for me to find the Lord and the happiness only He can bring.”

 

 “God Calls You. We Invite You.”

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s Presence in Greenwood, MS

St. Francis of Assisi Mission is located on the Eastern edge of Greenwood, MS. and claims a rich history of service and promotion of justice for the dispossessed.   Our parish began in 1948 and the school opened its doors in 1951. Today, St. Francis School educates children from Pre-K through Grade 6. The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (FSCC) have been serving this community since the fall of 1997, when a request for Sisters reached our Motherhouse in Manitowoc, WI. Though our Community had been serving in various schools and health care facilities across the country, Mississippi offered a new setting for evangelization.

 

 

Many of us met the FSCC as teachers during our grade school education. We were often attracted by the spirit and joy those Sisters radiated in, and out of school. This is not how most young women meet a Community today. The internet has now become the source of searching and finding Religious Orders. Over time, several young women from the South have shared their discernment journey with us here at St. Francis. How does that happen? Initially we meet at a McDonald’s or similar location between their home and ours. Or we may invite the young woman to spend a weekend with us in our convent home. A lot depends on what the young woman is comfortable with. Through visits, questions; texting, and phone calls she picks up our spirit and determines prayerfully how God is working in her life. Does our spirit match her spirit and the longing in her heart or not?

 

“The Lord Bless and Keep you.”

 

 

St.Francis of Assisi’s Annual Mardi Gras Celebration

The 15th Annual St. Francis of Assisi Mardi Gras event was held Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the Leflore County Civic Center. The entertainment was provided by DJ TRAXX CRE8TOR. There was a New Orleans-style buffet with party setups and favors. The event draws a crowd of varied nationalities numbering around 300 to 400 each year . Their ages range from 25 to 80 years of age. This is the largest parish fund raiser of the year with all the proceeds going to help St. Francis School. The greatest percentage of the money raised is used toward tuition assistance for our students.

Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday that dates back thousands of years. There are different traditions for preparing for Lent.  One of the most famous is Carnival, known as Carnaval in some parts of the world. The celebration involves finishing up all the meat before Ash Wednesday  Mardi Gras translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”.

 

The parish committee members along with the Friars and Sisters transformed the Civic Center into a festive space featuring traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.  The amazing arch of balloons marking the main entrance to the ballroom was fashioned by one of our school parents.

 

Sister Elena, Brother Patrick and Sister Kathleen relaxing and enjoying the festivities!

 

Fr. Kim took everything in as this was his first experience of our parish Mardi Gras. He was there for the setting up, decorating and actual celebrating. He fit right into the practice of Southern hospitality by meeting and greeting all of the guests.

 

Two of the St. Francis School cooks headed up the New Orleans style meal and enlisted the help of some of their friends in the preparations and service. Yes, this bevy of beauties made a brief appearance out on the dance floor after the meal!

 

The colors for Mardi Gras date back to 1872. Purple represents justice, green represents faith; and gold represents power.

 

Catholic Schools Week Ends With the Celebration of God’s Love

It has been a full, fun  and fruitful week for all at St. Francis of Assisi School. The planning and preparing proved to be worth the effort! The many activities will long be remembered by Mrs. Lewis, Faculty, Staff, Parents and Students. The last day of this busy week, coincided with the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple.  We also marked  commemoration of St. Blaise which fell on Saturday.  These wonderful events in the Church in themselves, would make for a full school mass. However, February 2 was also the 58th anniversary of ordination for our own Fr. Camillus. More to celebrate!

Each class presented a candle bearing the names of all the students in that grade.  The Faculty and Staff presented a candle as well.  Brother Patrick awaits the arrival of the Entrance Procession and receives the candles and displayed them before the altar.

 

 

Fr. Cam narrated the reenactment of his ordination during the homily of the Mass.  3 sixth grade young men took on the roles of Bishop, attending priest and ordination candidate.  They lent great joy and dignity to the dramatization.

 

Fr. Cam chanted the Litany of the Saints as Daniel lay prostrate in the middle aisle of the church representing the offering of self to God.  Fr. Cam is wearing the vestment his mother sewed for him to wear at his First Mass.

 

The “Bishop” then proceeded with the questioning, the anointing of the hands with oil and the vesting. Each part of the rite was enacted by our young men as Fr. Cam had done 58 years ago on February 2, 1960 in West Chicago, IL

 

Mrs. Lewis, our Principal, presented a card of congratulations made by Sister Kathleen.  All the students, faculty and staff signed this special greeting.

 

Following communion, the first graders sang a beautiful arrangement of Simeon’s Canticle with hand motions.  It was a holy moment of thanksgiving for all.

 

After the final blessings Brother Craig and Mrs. Lewis held the blessed candles as each one in church came up for the blessing of St. Blaise. “Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Throughout this time of blessing, the students sang many verses of “This Little Light of Mine” with much joy and praise in their voices and in their hearts.  We pray that they will continue to let their lights shine all their days!