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!

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.