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!

Franciscan View of Saint Francis school Fall Festival

After months of planning and weeks of preparation the result of the St. Francis Fall Festival was a rewarding day for all of us here at St. Francis of Assisi School.

Sister Kathleen has an early morning check in with Mrs. Lewis our Principal. Are we ready for this day?

Sister Judy stops to see how Mrs. Scott and Br. Patrick are doing in the Silent Auction booth. All appears well!

This year a big tent was added on the Silent Auction space to provide shade and make it look amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two additional bicycles were donated this year for the Silent Auction, which added a lot of interest for the younger set.

A large screen TV had been a $10.00 raffle ticket item the weeks before the Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a $1.00 raffle ticket a lucky rider could have  this adult man’s bicycle.

Food was plentiful and delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many chose to eat in the cool cafeteria…

….others enjoyed the outdoor dining!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The horses attracted many of the children.

Even a few of the very young and brave!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new adventure this year was this round globe with room for only one occupant.

Eric was certainly having a ball!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tickets for all of the outdoor games and even food were sold just inside the cafeteria door. A wristband meant you could enjoy all of the games all day!

The ball did connect and the top three rows of the cans came tumbling down!  Prize time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwing Horse shoes is still a fun and competitive game enjoyed by many.

A variety of new children’s games were added this year like; “Spoon and Egg”,  still it seems running and chasing are always in order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Judy had a shady place to share the blankets, bibs and caps our own Sister Virgine worked so hard on this summer

Adults enjoyed the livley games of bingo under another big tent. With a temperature of 91 degrees we all appreciated a bit of shade along with the fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cousins taking a break in the shade!

So what is in your back pack?

Two of our upcoming Basketball stars were willing to pause from a serious basketball game to pose for a picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the activity and children’s energy faded, the adult helpers enjoyed a bit of the shade in their game space.

When it was all said and done one could only reflect back on the many smiling faces of the day, even on the faces of the firemen who joined us and lost the challenge of a tug-of-war with some of our St. Francis school parents. The team which lost was to dance in front of the stage to the music provided throughout the day by Mr. Randle, one of our school parents who sidelines as a DJ.  Some went home with extra cash from the Draw Down.  Some left with Bingo prizes, or stuffed animals in hand.  Others left with pockets full of candy or stomachs full of barbequed chicken or catfish or popcorn.  We came home filled with thankfulness for the many blessings of this eventful day.

Franciscan Sisters Pitching In For Fall Festival

The St. Francis of Assisi Parish and School marquee announces the Fall Festival and the events around the convent and school indicate its nearness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Scott annually attains art pieces for our Silent Auction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modern art

Brother Mark carrying a lamp base in for the auction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Principal asked the Faculty and Staff to help fold, roll and band, with size visible, endless numbers of T-Shirts which will be used as prizes during the festival. All are new shirts with a sports logo, donated by a benefactor from the Fox Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Principal checking for sizes before boxing the T-Shirts up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday found the four Sisters selling raffle tickets in front of Walmart and Market Place, our local grocery store.

Sister Judy and Sister Annette took the first shift with two enjoyable ladies from St. Francis School.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters Kathleen and Maria Goretti suppied us with extra tickets and then took our places under the tent.

Back home Sister Judy worked unpacking and preparing other prizes for the Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We pray for you as we celebrate this Feast of St. Francis and ask that the Lord bless and keep you.

Donuts with Dad and Muffins with Mom at St. Francis School

Family First is a non-profit group here in Greenwood which operates with the help of grants. They sponsored “Donuts with Dad in the school cafeteria on Friday.  Family First members and  St. Francis School Principal, Mrs. Lewis, served students and their dads. This was the first attempt at such an activity and we were all very pleased with the turn out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday morning was moms’ turn! Having run out of donuts on Friday, they provided sufficent muffins for the moms and their children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Principal Mrs. Lewis visted with families as they enjoyed their time together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr. Kim asked blessings on the parents, the children, and Family First in all the work they do. They provide help for most any need that comes to them, from anger management to supplying adequate clothing for a job interview, to assisting in obtaining a GED. They are here for the people and are a support to our school.

Franciscan Frenzy

Many might envision the life of a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity to be placid and prayerful at all times.  Here’s visual proof that this is not always so.  Though our activities are many, they give the opportunity for many joys.  This being Hispanic Heritage Month, our school is involved in many activities highlighting the culture of our Spanish-speaking people.  The local 4-H office volunteered to come and do a paper flower making project with our Pre-K through Grade 2 students.  The only thing brighter than the tissue paper layers were the smiling little faces.

Sister Kathleen surveying the situation.

A flurry of tissue paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does this go?

Look at what I made!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sense of taste was educated in the Hispanic flavors as our Pre-K and Kindergarten students experimented with the taste of tamales.  These were hand made by two of the

parents from the class.  After the children read Too Many Tamales they enjoyed tasting the real thing.  Classes also enjoyed tasting Mexican strawberry water, straberry pastries as well as tortilla chips and salsa from a local Mexican restaurant owned by parishoners.

Unwrapping the tamale.

Yes, Thumbs up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dismissal time at school involves much more than just walking out the door.  Sister Maria Goretti leads her first and second graders in praying the Act of Contrition.  They can’t possibly leave without singing in praise of the God who has been with them throughout the day.  They join in singing A Gift For You.

Oh my God, I am so sorry…

Gathering together to pray their Act of Contrition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ending the day in song and prayer.

“A Gift for You”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lining up with big smiles at the end of the day.

Days end, waiting in the shade of the Magnolia tree for their parents to arrrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the quiet of the Library Sister Judy is focused on the task at hand.

 

Thank you Lord, for the gift of the risen bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Judy honors St. Mattew, the tax collector on his feastday by doing some money counting of her own.  Though she doesn’t deal with taxes, she helps the cafeteria staff by counting snack money collected from student patrons.  Prinicpal, Mrs. Lewis and the cafeteria ladies are strong believers in the maxim that “many hands make light work”!

One does not live on bread alone, but it surely doesn’t hurt to have such delicious homemade delicacies as this bread.  Sister Annette left her hand and heart prints on these golden treasures fresh out of the oven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As any given day winds down to a close, we all gather in our convent chapel for prayer.  The lovely Franciscan art is complemented by the theme word for our year, blessed.  We hope to support one another in remembering how truly blessed we are in so many ways along our daily journeys.

So, as you can see, life at St. Francis in Greenwood is never dull and everyone lends a color to the rainbow of activity in God’s sight.

 

 

Franciscans Celebrate at a Kermes, a Mexican Festival

The Latino community of St. Francis Parish sponsored a “Kermes” this past Saturday as a fundraising event to benefit St. Francis Parish. A “Kermes” is a Mexican festival, this one being very family-oriented and placed right in front of the Sisters’ Convent!

The flag of Mexico

Father Kim our Pastor greeting some of the families.

 

This particular celebration coincided with Mexican Independence Day (September15-16). It was titled ” A Mexican Evening”. The evening featured delicious traditonal foods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ricos Elotes was made as we ordered. It is found at every corner food store in Mexico. The cooked corn has a stick  “handle” inserted and is then brushed with mayo and a sauce (spicy or not!) and sprinkled with Mexican cheese. We all attest it was delicious!

Some of the men are preparing meat and tortillas for a “Street Taco”. A street taco can be toped with any number of items of choice; onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and sauces of varying heat…!

An amazing plate!

It was a delight to see some of our former students who readily shared how their education was progressing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everywhere we looked there were smiling faces.

Cousins!

Sisters!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first “bouncer” experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too cute for words!

Anticipation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone enjoyed their time at the Kermes and went home having shared in the richness of the Hispanic culture.

The sisters had the shortest distance home that evening, front lawn to front door.