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.


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




Celebrating Franciscan Sisters’ Sesquincentennial in Greenwood MS

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Kathleen Murphy shares moments of celebration of our Community’s 150th Anniversary with Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province serving at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Greenwood, Mississippi .

The Sisters and Friars gather to celebrate Mass with a special commemorative liturgy.

The chapel arrangement featured bricks and a stone candle along with a framed collection of communal historical pieces.

Fr. Camillus Janus celebrates Mass. The hearts were the focus of his homily. The largest heart is the heart of God whose love encompasses all. The next heart represents the Church, a gift to us from this loving God. The third heart represents the Franciscan Family whose focus is rejoicing in God’s great love for us. The smallest heart represents the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. We dwell in the depth of and surrounded by God’s love with the mission of sharing and spreading this great gift of love.

The table is ready.

The friars dig into brunch delicacies.




Franciscans Celebrate Transitus of St. Francis

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Franciscan Friars of the Assumption Province and Secular Franciscans celebrated the Transitus of St. Francis Assisi on October 3rd. It is a vigil service remembering St. Francis’ death and resurrection, while focusing on what is ours to do for Christ today.

As part of the prayer all present lit candles and heard the Canticle of the Creatures, Psalm 142 and the Gospel of John starting with the passage that begins: Six days before the Passover, Jesus knowing that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father…

Significant to the Greenwood, Mississippi commemoration was the use of the relic of St. Francis. This precious sign of St. Francis was a reminder of our Holy Father Francis’ presence with us still.

Franciscan Sisters Witness the Loss of Two of our Trees

For those who are familiar with St. Francis Convent and school, you will remember the three tall pine trees which grow near the two buildings. The first of our three trees near the west door of the school had to come down as it was dying.

We watched each branch as it came down.

But then as the tree came down we were told the second tree was infested with an insect and could live another year, but then would need to come down also.

So the Friars made the decision to take it down now also.


We watched with heavy hearts as each limb came down


Then the final notch.


And now there is one pine tree left.

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.

St. Francis Kindergarteners Learn Respect for Life

As our country marks the anniversary of the passage of Roe vs. Wade, St. Francis School Kindergarteners began their week long set of lessons on respect for life.  The morning began with thinking about the Creation story and how God created people to be his friends.  The children reflected on the preciousness of a newly created person as they shared ways they would show respect for a little baby.  Expressions of love and care appeared in many gentle forms as the baby passed carefully from child to child.

Next, all began work in their special coloring books.  The first page helped them understand how very tiny we are when God first begins our life inside our mother’s womb.  Statements of amazement and quiet coloring prevailed.

The classroom bulletin board shows a child growing in the mother’s womb and reminds us all of the words of Scripture, “I am wonderfully made.  Truly these reverent moments and sincere faces are witness to the beauty of God’s presence in his little ones.

Franciscan Reflection on Families

On this feast of the Holy Family

it is a day to sit before these images in our convent chapel

and to:

give thanks for our own families.

pray for the families of our students and parishes.

ponder the humility of God as he comes to a simple family.

reflect on the hardships and fears as well as the graces and wonders that were part of these day for Mary and Joseph.

Happy Feastday to our Motherhouse community

and to all of us who belong to so many different families!

Merry Christmas!


Franciscan View of Poinsettias



And the Word became flesh…”

The beautiful poinsettia in our convent chapel reminds me that God created everything as a good and wonderful piece of the image of Himself.  Yet a certain gleam is added to the created beauty of that flower.  Just so, Divinity was added to the beauty of Human Nature in the Incarnation of Jesus.  What a gift to see our humanity become so privileged!

Merry Christmas!

Mercy in the Franciscan Classroom

…I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me to drink…

This Year of Mercy calls us all to be mindful of those in need, whatever form that need may take.  Sister Kathleen is aiming to bring about a mindfulness of those in need within her Kindergarteners.  St. Francis Parish takes part in the Lenten Rice Bowl project sponsored by Catholic Relief Services.  Sister has brought the program into her classroom as well.

rice bowl 001Kindergarten students have been contributing money to the Rice Bowl.  Now they ventured upon a lesson about what Catholic Relief Services does with their contributions.  They learned about Maria and her family, citizens of Colombia who have endured much violence and hardship.  A biography and video about Maria’s life and the influence of Catholic Relief Services really brought the message home to the students.

The lesson included making a paper prayer chain.  Students learned that part of being merciful is being united to those in need.  We learned that we are all one in God’s family and so we should help and pray for one another.  The class came up with simple prayers they would like to pray for Maria and her family.

stuff 029In a prayerful atmosphere they wrote their prayers on a chain link.  God can write straight (or forward) even with our wobbly (or backward) lines.

stuff 031The links were then made into a chain.  The students gathered around the chain and our map to recall that no matter how far away some of our brothers and sisters might live, we are still family.  They all prayed a prayer of blessing over the chain we had made.

Later in the day we prayed for Maria and her family again.  Next all helped in measuring and preparing empanadas from the Rice Bowl recipes for Lent.  What a great and holy snack to end our day of learning to be merciful!

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