Franciscan Sisters Welcome First Communion Candidates

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are blessed to assist in the instruction of the First Communion children at St. Francis of Assisi School, Greenwood, Mississippi.

Like St. Francis, we feel blessed to walk with the young people who receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In St. Francis’ own words: “O how happy and blessed are those men and women while they do these things and persevere in doing them, because the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon them, and they are children of the heavenly Father.

Whose works they do, and they are spouses, brothers, and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

May the Lord bless these young witnesses and their families! May their faith grow and inspire many others to walk in the light of Christ.

 

St. Francis School Children Crown Mary Statue

It is the month for Mary. St. Francis of Assisi School children crowned a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at a recent Mass. These words from The Versified Life of Saint Francis by Henri d’Avranches seem appropriate for this devotion.


O loving Mother, hail Mary, filled with the Spirit’s gift,
The Lord be with you, you are blessed among women,
And blessed the fruit of your womb,’ And say those words
For as long and as often as your devotion lasts.
For through you ponder the first joys of Christ’s mother.

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy also prepared her PreK and Kindergarten students for the Sunday readings. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Can you find the sheep among the students?


Find next Sister Kathleen and her class making a symbol of their hearts giving to Jesus as they learn how much Jesus loves them. “Sing Alleluia, Sing”!

St. Francis’ Rule Tells Story of Parish Triduum

Each year St. Francis of Assisi School and Parish Community celebrate the Triduum with great devotion and loving participation. As Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, we feel called to highlight moments of the last days with the words found in St. Francis’ Earlier Rule. Francis prayed for unity -reflected best in the Trinity -among his followers and all people. We pray for this grace among us and the whole world.


Therefore, let nothing hinder us, nothing separate us, nothing come between us.

Wherever we are, in every place, at every hour, at every time of the day, every day and continually,
let all of us truly and humbly believe, hold in our heart and love,

honor, adore, serve, praise and bless, glorify and exult, magnify and give thanks to the Most High and Supreme Eternal God Trinity and Unity Father, Son and Spirit….

Special Easter greetings to all from all of us in the heart of the Mississippi Delta! The Lord bless you!

Saint Francis of Assisi Hosts Annual Mardi Gras

The Franciscan Sisters assisted with the decorations at the Civic Center for the annual Saint Francis of Assisi Mardi Gras Dinner and Ball. The Mardi Gras event is a fundraiser for St. Francis of Assisi School. Sister Myra Jean, who was visiting us, joined in the true spirit of the season Friday evening, by lending a hand with putting up the stage skirting, arranging table center pieces and whatever else needed doing.

Final touches before the guests arrive. The centerpiece just wasn’t straight, but Sister Myra Jean was up for the task!

 

An overview of part the dining room.

 

Sister Kathleen ponders the evening ahead with the welcoming arc in the background through which the guests enter.

 

Three of the Friars eagerly anticipate the music and the meal.

 

As the guests begin to gather it seems like a good time for a group picture!

 

The meal was courtesy of Brown’s Catering and the music was provided by DJ TRAXX CRE8TOR 

After a delicious Southern meal of gumbo, red beans and rice, BBQ meatballs, various chicken drummies, crackers and cheeses, fresh fruit and toasted sandwiches. Dessert was yet to follow.

 

Bread Pudding with vanilla sauce and King Cake to top it off!                                                                                                      

The meal was delicious and the dance floor was often filled with people enjoying the rhythm of familiar songs.  It truly was an evening of “Festival” for all who attended!  Now masks and banners and balloons are tidily stored away for another year!

 

St. Francis of Assisi School Marks Black History Month

Our Black History Program began with Principal, Mrs. Lewis, welcoming the families and friends of our students who had come to enjoy the production of “We are the Dream: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Kathryn Schultz Miller. According to tradition, the performance was preceded by the audience, faculty, staff and student body joining together in the singing of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson.

A prelude was offered by Sr. Kathleen’s Pre K and Kindergarten. They performed “Siyahamba”, singing the lyrics in Swahili and accompanying themselves with rhythm sticks. This was followed by the dramatic presentation of the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Students of Pre-K through Grade 6 made up the choir and the cast of characters.

The program opens with a teacher explaining to her class the dream of Martin Luther KIng and announcing that he would be coming to visit their school.  The play unfolds by offering vignettes of various events in the life and growth of Dr. King.  He is first portrayed as a young boy and the script offers insight into some of the early experiences of Martin as he learns the effects of segregation.

Young Martin with his parents considering the purchase of new shoes.

The plot moves on to Martin’s proposal to Coretta Scott.

Coretta is unsure of her desire to leave her cultured life to share in the dream of Martin.

Dr. King really began his public pursuit of racial equality in the wake of Rosa Parks’ courageous stand on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama.  Thus her story became part of the performance.

Rosa Parks was tired of being discriminated against.

Woven throughout the story of Dr. King’s life, were renditions of spirituals and Civil Rights era songs by the student choir.  Selections in included “My Lord, What a Morning”, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”, Oh Happy Day”,  “We Shall Overcome” and “Free At Last”.

Sister Kathleen Directed and guided the students throughout the program. After many hours of practice and concern the students of St. Francis “did her proud”!

The cruelty dealt to the youth who participated in the Birmingham Children’s March was portrayed powerfully by the students as a sound track from the actual event played in the background.  The audience was solemnly silent as this moment was replayed before them.

The students fell to the floor as the scene in Alabama of the fire hoses and dogs attacking the children was enacted.

The scenes of the drama continued with the latter part of Dr. King’s life and the apprehension he and his family endured due to his activism.  A recording of Dr. King’s voice boomed out over the audience in the well known words of his “I Have A Dream” speech.  Our student actor froze in witness form as this speech played.

Martin Luther Kings speech “I Have A Dream” was was the crowning point of the program.

The members of the choir, as well as the rest of the student body, sang the spirituals from their hearts and in full voice.

The choir sang Spirituals and Civil Rights era songs.

 

The little ones sang their hearts out!

 

All the members of the cast joined together in the closing song; “We Shall Overcome”.

As the last notes of the closing song rang out through the church, all breathed the joyful words, “Free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last!”  There was much to be proud and happy about in the St. Francis School community.

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Celebrate 150 years of Founding at St. Francis of Assisi Greenwood, MS

This year of 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.  Our Community began on November 9, 1869, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In order to share this historic moment with our St. Francis Parish Family, we decided to host an open house. Wanting to include our school families as well,  the opening of Catholic Schools Week made a perfect time for our event.

 

Sister Judy welcomed each of our guests as they walked to our house after mass.

Once in our house, our guests were invited into the chapel where Sister Kathleen greeted them and offered a prayer of blessing upon our home and theirs. Our book of prayers was in chapel so all could add their own petitions.  They were promised that we would bring their needs before the Lord daily.

The Principal, Mrs. Lewis, helped Sister Annette serve the refreshments.

Everyone was eager to relax and enjoy a piece of cake and other nibbles along with some sweet tea.

We each had time to visit with our guests and exchange memories and delightful stories.

Note the archival pages displayed behind Sister Maria Goretti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had printed off many of the archival pages which Sister Caritas has been posting on our Community Facebook page. These we displayed on the cupboard doors for our guests to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         Day is done and smiles are still shining!

We have also been sharing the blessings of our founding through weekly articles printed in our parish bulletin. The first in the series offered a brief history of our community and its roots; ” Our Sisters have built our lives on faith in a loving God. We are deeply rooted in Franciscan tradition, in love for the Church, and mindful of our title, in selfless dedication to the service of others.” (Taken from a community history shared by Sister Caritas.) The articles sharing the beginnings of our community are being followed by a brief history of St. Francis School, leading up to the  coming of our Sisters  21 years ago. This will be followed by pictures and recollections of and about all the Sisters who have ministered here over the years.

We are so blessed and have so much to be grateful for as Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

We “join those who have gone before us in echoing the words of St. Francis as he said, ‘I have done what is mine (to do); may Christ teach you what is yours (to do)! ‘We continue to trust in God’s hand guiding us into the future. God calls you. We invite you.”  (Taken from our Community history.)

 

Franciscans Join in 35th Annual Greenwood Martin Luther King March

The 35th annual march honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held Sunday in Greenwood, MS. The march began at the St. Francis Center, then headed to the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church where Dr. Leroy Williams was the keynote speaker. Dr. King was in Greenwood on March 16, 1968, three weeks before he was assassinated in Memphis. Dr. King marched and spoke many times in Greenwood in the years he was the leader of the Civil rights movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was  known for the sweeping marches and nonviolent protests he led to protest systemic racism and poverty. Greenwood’s annual march is designed to unite races, religions and cultures across the community in honor of Dr. King.

Sister Maria Goretti and Sister Kathleen waiting for the crowd to gather.

 

A former St. Francis students came to have a photo taken with the Sisters

 

 

Sisters standing with one of our Secular Franciscans and Brother Mark OFM.

 

Fr. Kim, looking into the sun, proudly holds one of the many signs Sister Kathleen has made.

 

There is so much to pray about, work for, and guard against.

 

Many marchers carried signs bearing Dr. King’s phrases and hopes on signs as we walked the streets singing songs and witnessing.

 

Prayers were said outside of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church before entering for the service, prayers and music.

Despite the low 30 degree temperatures we held strong. The wind put a chilly bite in the air for us thin-blooded Southerners, but the spirit of all in the march was joyful and united as we prayed and sang; “We shall overcome someday…”

 

St. Francis of Assisi school presents; “Star Search”, a Christmas Program

Our students at St. Francis of Assisi did a fantastic job of performing “Star Search”, a Christmas musical  for kids by Gina Boe and Barb Dorn.  They took the stage under the guidance of Mrs. Lewis, our Principal and Sister Kathleen,  Program Director. The Pre-K and Kindergarten students reenacted the Nativity Story. The 5th and 6th grade girls did a praise dance to “Now Behold the Lamb” by Kirk Franklin and the entire student body sang a variety of songs backing up “the stars in the sky”, who narrated the story.

 

Sister Kathleen giving final encouragement to the little ones before the program began

The stars learned that the Christ Child was to be born on earth and that just one star would be chosen to shine brightly directly over Bethlehem. They all wanted to be the chosen one and each tried to build up strength and increase their shine ability and bling. Who wouldn’t want to shine for the King of Kings, Wonder Counselor, Prince of Peace? “But there are so many stars. How will He decide”?

The stars looking down from heaven observe earth below as they consider the coming event.

It so happens that the smallest star, Bob, who was always kind and doing nice little things for others was a silent part of the group. He would certainly not be picked!

A stir began among the stars as they looked down to earth, realizing that the Savior, the King of Kings, Emmanuel was born. Bob, is that BOB? Bob is shining down on the tiny baby Savior. It can’t be! Can it? Out of all the stars in the universe…BOB is the chosen one? Now they follow Bob’s light and see the Kings.

The students join together singing, “Away in a  Manger” and “Star of Wonder”.

It is then that the Stars see the qualifications for the “Star of Bethlehem”; “Don’t be selfish, don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than ourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. He is God yet he gave up His place in heaven for a bit. He took the lowly place of a slave and was born as a human being. He shows us that being little is what truly makes you great…do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become true, children of God who are good even though all those around you act in ways that God did not intend. Then you will shine out above all the rest, like a star in the sky”.

As Bob rejoined the stars in heaven, they all greeted him with wonder and praise. and Bob replied, “Thank you, guys. But I am just a little star. that God used to help fulfill His plan. All the glory and praise go to Him.” All gathered around and joined the angels in saying, ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to all”.

Merry Christmas to all from St. Francis of Assisi parish and school!

 

 

Transportation Fair for Sister Kathleen’s Pre-K and Kindergarteners

Each year Sister Kathleen teaches a unit on transportation. As a culmination she invites parents and community businesses to bring their vehicles out to St. Francis for her students to see close up. Yesterday we had rain and a chilly breeze. So Sister Kathleen rescheduled the Fair for today. But today was a blustery 35degrees that felt like a temperature of 31.  This makes for a very wintery day for those of us with thinning Southern blood. All we missed was a few snow flakes. The elements did not dampen the children’s spirits or excitement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students hit the parking lot armed with their clipboards, pencils and  a worksheet to fill out on each vehicle. Their assignment was to draw the vehicle, count the number of wheels, tell the colors and size of the vehicle.  Finally, they had to determine whether vehicle used for work or fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cold crisp air was filled with the sounds of children calling “Sister, Sister”, along with sirens of the fire truck, the police car and horns being blown. The officials readily entered into the fun and excitement. Because of the cold the outdoor  activity was expedited a bit and adjouned to the classroom for bowls of warm applesauce that the class had helped prepare in the morning.  All in all, it was hard to decide whether it was the children or the adults who had the most fun!

 

 

 

 

 

Greenwood Franciscans Host “Meet The Sisters”

Saturday found the Sisters enjoying the company of 12 of our Catholic young women from St,. Francis of Assisi Parish. The time together began with a snack and sharing.

Once the popcorn and beverage where fully enjoyed, Sister Maria Goretti began a game of “Saints Bingo”. It was a great way to remember All Saints Day which we had just celebrated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having reviewed the lives and sacrifices of some of the Saints, it was time to recall our departed loved ones in remembrance of All Souls Day. For this activity, Sister Kathleen took the group over to her classroom where all reflected on the often told sentiment that the death of a loved one leaves an emptiness, a hole in one’s heart.  This is an emptiness that only God can fill.  The group listened to a song about the God-shaped hole in each of our hearts–a hole that only He can fill.  Just so, only he can heal and fill that emptiness from the loss of a loved one.  Our prayer not only helps our relatives and friends on their journey back to the Lord, but it helps to heal that hole in our hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back at the convent Sisters Annette and Judy were setting up a lunch sure to please these young ladies. But before we ate our group was eager to display their finshed craft. Those hearts are waiting to be filled with prayer and healing.

Lunch followed with fun and sharing and finally, s’mores. This has become a traditional ending for our meal for “Meet the Sisters”.

 

 

 

 

Before our closing prayer we all gathered for one more group picture.

Next,  Sister Judy was ready to lead us in a closing prayer in our chapel. We remembered all those who had gone before us and all those we wanted to recommend to our gracious and loving Lord. Our response was; “Lord Pray for Us”.  Then it was nearly time for the parents to pick up the young ladies.  Shouted out words of thanks and questions about when the next Meet the Sisters would be, echoed across the convent yard as all jumped into their cars.  God is good!  All the time!