Stop in and Say ‘Thank you’

Crucifix from the St. Anne's Convent ChapelAfter our annual “Fire Safety In-Service” (not my favorite pastime), I stopped home for a couple of things.  While there, I received a phone call that was truly a blessing.  I have been facing a couple of challenging situations and this conversation was a cherished opportunity to share and discuss it with a caring confidant.

I was so grateful.

After hanging up the phone, I walked toward our little convent chapel, meaning to quickly genuflect (as I customarily do) before leaving to return to my workplace.

As I was about to hurriedly do this, it occurred to me to do otherwise.  I spontaneously told myself something to the effect of: “Don’t just hurry past; stop in and say ‘thank you.’ ”

~ ~ ~

Truly, I have so much for which to say “thank you.”  A beautiful fall day such as this makes me especially aware of this.

20170912_170538I had gone out with a couple of our residents for a walk earlier in the afternoon.  The beautiful temperatures and golden leaves around me helped put more of a spring in my step.  In fact, I gave into my childish whim and jumped in a pile of leaves.  (Some days, it seems I’ll never grow up.)

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Put in a Good Word for Me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI work a few evenings a week here at the front desk.  Sometimes, when I see someone heading toward our chapel (if I know them well enough to be comfortable), I’ll encourage them: “Put in a good word for me.”  (There is one individual who I am especially prone to exhort in this way.)

I figure that I need all the prayers I can get, and what better place to find them than with someone who is on the way to visit Christ, present in our chapel?

It is wonderful that we can all work together, spiritually as well as physically!

The Catechism speaks of a wonderful phenomenon known as “the communion of saints,” which not only relates to those individuals who have been officially canonized, but also to the other members of the mystical body of Christ.

Let’s not forget that we can all help each other on our way, even if it is in as simple a way as just “putting in a good word” for a friend in need.

As you read this, I’d appreciate if you’d put it to practice on my behalf; after all, I need all the help I can get!

Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF

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Attention Readers of Our Franciscan Fiat

No, I don’t think that I’m the greatest writer out there, but I do look for opportunities to get the word out about our blog as a means of possibly fostering awareness and vocations.  I received this email and thought I would forward it to you in case you might consider nominating Our Franciscan Fiat for one of their awards.  Nominations are open.

Besides nominating this blog, I would really appreciate it if you would help by sharing it with anyone who might be interested and/or on your social media outlets.
The link to our blog is: https://ourfranciscanfiat.wordpress.com .  Thank you and have a wonderful day!
Thanks!

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Hey Sr. Christina,

Just wanted to give you a quick heads up because the Fisher’s Net Awards is open again for nominees for the 2017 Fisher’s Net Awards. We’ve expanded the categories a lot this year, so there are way more opportunities to tell us about amazing examples of Catholics that are using new media in innovative ways. Let’s help them get the exposure they deserve by nominating them for an award.

Nominate Someone Now!

Thanks for your support and please pray for us as we try to organize this again for another year and for the nominees.

The Vineyard of the Lord

Image result for vineThis morning, as I sit at the reception desk embroidering, I have tomorrow’s responsorial psalm playing the background; this will help prepare me for leading the singing at Mass.

The words of this psalm are touching for me, especially after just having completed a study with our residents on the Exodus.

We’re been reviewing how God brought His people out of Egypt and gave them a land to inhabit.  The psalm so beautifully speaks of God “transplanting” a vine from Egypt.  The psalm continues, using natural imagery to speak of Israel’s history.  Sunday’s psalm further prays that God will “take care of this vine and protect what [His] right hand has planted.”  It asks that He let His face shine upon us.

We noticed in our study of the Exodus, and this psalm reminds me again, how Israel’s history can be seen as an allegory for our own lives.  Like the Israelite people, God has been so good to each of us, caring for us as, and even watering us as his “little vine.”

“…Save in the Cross”

P1010025.JPGThis evening, before praying “first vespers” for our solemnity of St. Francis (our patron and founder), we concluded our annual preparatory novena leading up to his feast.

This prayer, which honors our holy founder and asks his intercession, begins with the passage for Galatians (6:14): “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This verse, so true to St. Francis’ spirit, reminds me “not to glory” in anything except the Cross.  Francis’ example of humility and his love for Christ inspire my in my daily life.

He knew what a powerful thing the cross was!  He actually suffered vision loss from all his tears of sorrow for our suffering Lord.

If only I had more of this sentiment and greater love and thought for Our Lord and His sufferings.

Like St. Francis, I need to keep my eyes on our crucified Lord, not “glorying” in any of my own undertakings.

When things go well, I need to give Him due credit.  When I face difficulties, I can thank Him for the cross and ask Him to be with me in the struggle to bear it.

On the Winning Side

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St. Michael Statue at St. Anne’s

This morning, as I was going over the readings for Mass, it struck me that “We’re on the winning side.”

There are actually two options for the first reading on this feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.  The first option is from the book of Daniel and the second is from Revelation.

The first speaks of thrones being set up, the Ancient One taking His throne, and thousands ministering to Him.  It speaks of “one like a son of man” receiving dominion, glory, kingship, and the service of all nations.  It concludes with the reassuring words that his everlasting dominion shall not be taken away nor His kingship destroyed.

The second option is not “for general audiences.”  It speaks of Michael and his angels battling against the dragon, who fought back with his helpers.  They lost the battle, however, and lost their place in heaven.  Although the serpent deceived the whole world, we are encouraged to hear that “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed.”  We read further that “the accuser of our brothers is cast out.”

Victory has been won; we have conquered “by the Blood of the Lamb.”  Although we have plenty of struggles and enough to discourage us, I was reminded that “we’re on the winning side!”

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Gone Fishing

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The season of summer vacationing, during which many people “get away” and relax at lake resorts or property, is winding down.  The days of fun on the water, swimming, boating, and fishing have all but vanished for another year.

I, however, was privileged to have one more “fishing” experience last evening.  I had been asked to fill in as personal care aide here at St. Anne’s and was making my rounds to check the cleanliness of the bathrooms and empty trash.

With only my trash bag (no pole, bait, hook or bobber), I found that a disposable chuck (protective pad against incontinence) had somehow “gone swimming.”  To prevent a flood to disrupt the tranquility of this “get away spot,” I carefully removed the unwanted item, fishing it out of the toilet and carefully relocating it into my trash bag.  Yuck!

Although it’s “no vacation,” I do find doing this occasional aide work to be rewarding, even enjoyable at times.  It is fun to converse with our residents, joke with them, and make their evening a bit brighter.  I am privileged to be able to help those who are not able to care fully for themselves.

 

No Time for Baking?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt has been a busy week!  I am looking forward to a quiet evening and the chance to catch up on a bit of reading after all that’s been going on.

Having made many gallons of apple sauce yesterday afternoon and planning ahead for Sunday’s fall/harvest-themed “reminisce” program that we’ll be having with our residents, I had “oatmeal applesauce cookies” on my mind earlier.

I thought they would be the perfect treat to share on this occasion, and I knew that a few of our ladies here at St. Anne’s would love the nostalgic activity around our activity room kitchen.

I was scheduled to get off work at the front desk here by 1:30 p.m. so that I could help with a project we needed to finish for the health department.  I thought that it wouldn’t take too long, and we’d have plenty of time to get the two dozen cookies done well before supper.

The task I was helping ended up taking longer than I imagined it would.  I looked at the time on t he computer as we finished, seeing that it was close to 4 p.m.!

Did I still have time to get all the cookies done before I was due back at the front desk and our ladies went in for supper?  I wasn’t sure.

Realizing, however, that my recipe was a rather simple one, I thought we’d give it a try.  I gathered the ladies who were happy for the chance to help bake again.

Not long after, we had a good supply of aromatic harvest-time cookies cooling on wire racks.

Completing these harvest-time activities so often gives me a deep sense of gratitude, not only for the bounty that has been shared with us, but for the many helping hands that worked together, and for the graces given me to see the task to “a happy end.”

“My Little Sister’s Coming!”

IMG_20170916_110135383_HDR.jpgAbout a week ago, I got an email from my sister asking if I was up for company over the weekend.

After checking things out here, I informed her that I certainly was.

Soon after, I could be heard sharing the exciting news with a co-worker: “My little sister’s coming!”

Angie has come with my parents before when they’ve driven the 330 mile trek to visit me in Grand Forks.  However, it was particularly nice, touching, and special to have a visit from her by herself.

She arrived Friday evening, and Saturday morning we walked together to Town Square, where we visited the Farmers’ Market.

As you can see from the picture, she found some fresh beets to take home with her.

Some people wonder about how family ties are effected when a person enters religious life.  There certainly are variations from community to community.

While logistics of visits with family are certainly impacted, these relationships are not ended when one enters a religious community.  Although I don’t talk to my family members every day, I do include them in my daily prayers.  I am grateful for their prayer support for me as well.