Tudo Bem [All Good]

Please enjoy a little article all the way from Brazil!  Our Sisters serve in two provinces there.

Duque de Caxias, March 21st, 2017

I am Sr.  Sueli from Caxias Province.  I was with the Sisters of St Anne’s Convent for some months in 2003.  It was a marvelous experience! I am so grateful!

Nowadays, I am responsible for our Sisters in our Province.  I have to encourage the sisters, take care of their health and visit them every year, specially the Sisters who live far away from here, in Caxias/Rio de Janero.  We have ten communities, dispersed in five States in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Mato Grosso do Sul, Espírito Santo and Santa Catarina.  Some of our Sisters work in schools, home for the elderly and pastoral work.

I have to travel long distances to see and be with the Sisters.

We have three schools where students pay tuition, two of them in Rio de Janeiro.  These schools in Rio de Janeiro support five free schools in very poor and dangerous areas.  These students receive everything from us: food, uniforms, school supplies and our care.  Maybe, one of them, “Creche Menino Jesus”, will be turned over to the Mayor of the city because we don’t have enough Sisters to take care of the school.  It is a shame because we have kids there from four months to five years old.  It is getting too heavy for us.

Yesterday, I came from a community in Ecoporanga/Espírito Santo.  There are three Sisters there and three Franciscan Brothers.  In addition to the parish church they attend to fifty-four communities in rural areas.  It is wonderful to be with those people! They have a deep faith and are very generous! They come to the church by bicycles, by cars, by horses and motos.  The small churches are always full of people.  The Franciscan priests have two or three Masses almost every day to attend all of those communities.

If you want to visit us, it will be a pleasure!

Pray for us and for our people! We do the same for you!

Sr.  Sueli Sendra


Can’t Pinch Me!

PA050022.JPGI just got my nails painted green by our kind activity assistant.  I already had a string of green beads on.

I remember, as a kid, being told that, on St. Patrick’s Day, you were liable to be pinched if you didn’t wear green.  To this day, I enjoy teasing about this and enjoying some St. Patrick’s Day humor.  I even have several St. Patrick’s Day jokes that I use for “joke of the day,” announcing them over our paging system.

This afternoon, our residents will enjoy some folk music from visiting entertainers.  It’s neat to have an occasion to celebrate as we’re getting very weary of winter and are itching for spring.  Although my family doesn’t have one drop of Irish blood, I can remember setting a special table and even enjoying green food on this mid-March festivity.

I write this as I wait for my nails to dry.  I’ve been warned to wait a while before embroidering so I don’t stain the towel I’m working on.

With my beads and nails, no one’d better pinch me…I’m Irish for the day!

“You Know When I Sit and When I Stand”

Thanksgiving service2Psalm 139 says it well!

I was preparing to give a little presentation to the group of Secular Franciscans with whom I serve.

The topic was the Liturgy of the Hours.  I wanted to go into the meaning and history of this Prayer of the Church, as well as help remind people of some of the practical principles involved.

One detail we discussed was posture and gestures.  Rather than just saying: “This is what we do.  THE END.”  I wanted to explain the meaning for these physical aspects of our liturgical prayer.

Not being an expert myself, I did a little research.  Although my sources were geared toward the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the meaning, history and symbolism would be applicable to the Liturgy of the Hours as well.

They listed other postures/gestures used at Mass (such as kneeling, processing, etc.), but I just picked out those pertinent to our topic of the Office.  You may find the explanations interesting.

STANDING  In standing, we show respect and honor.  We especially stand during the Gospels in reverence; they contain the words of Jesus. This has been a common prayer custom since the early church.  It is the stance of those who have risen with Christ and seek the things that are above.  In standing we acknowledge our full stature given by God.   During the common recitation of the office, we stand for the introductory prayers and hymn and then for the Gospel canticle and what follows.

SITTING: Sitting is the posture of listening and meditation.  We sit for the psalms, reading, and responsorial.

BOWING is a sign of profound reverence.  You might notice people bowing during the “Glory to the Father” and at the name of Jesus, etc.

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS “is a simple ritual which expresses our prayer that the Trinity–God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit–will be with us.”  (Schiffer)

“Because it was by his death on the Cross that Christ redeemed humankind, we trace the Sign of the Cross on our foreheads.” (USCCB)  We make the sign of the Cross at the beginning of the Gospel Canticle (While saying: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel” / “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”  We also make it at the beginning and the end of the Office.

Excerpts and information from:




Draw Near, O Lord, Our God

We sang this beautiful hymn again this morning at Lauds!

It is one of those hymns that strikes a chord in the depths of my soul.  It was translated translated over 50 years ago from the Latin hymn Attende Domine.

The above-mentioned hymn Christians is traced back to Christians in Spain in the 900s (a Mozarabic litany).

This chant is used during the Lenten season, confessing our sinfulness and pleading for mercy.

There are multiple translations into English, but I do like the one used in our breviary: “Draw near O Lord, our God; graciously hear us…”

How appropriate that prayer is!  How well it articulates the pleadings of the heart!

Mark Your Calendars…Mother Daughter Days

franciscan associate 009.JPGThe date is set!  Our annual Mother Daughter Days will be held August 17-19 at St. Francis Convent in Hankinson, North Dakota.

Sr. Jean Louise has been leading this lovely event for over ten years, now.

It’s an opportunity for mothers and their daughters to get away, spend some special time together growing in their faith, and even have a little fun.

They join the Sisters for prayer, Mass, meals, and story sharing.

If you’re interested in joining us, please call Sr. Jean Louise at: 701.208.1245 or email: ndfranciscan@yahoo.com.

To download the flyer, click here.

Life’s Simple Pleasures

img_0553I was ecstatic!  I had to share the news!

After finishing my receptionist duties, I had been heading toward our dining room.  It was just about supper time.  One of our residents stopped me with the inquiry: “Sister, can you drain me?”  (The individual has a catheter which needs to be emptied periodically.)

I was not serving as personal care aide this evening, but it seemed that staff on duty were otherwise occupied.  Therefore, I preceded to the nurse’s office for gloves and the triangular graduated container we use for urine drainage.  On my way, I instructed him to meet me in the bathroom.

When I finally got to the bathroom, having been detained by an inquiring visitor, I had him roll back his pant leg, as is customary, in order to access and drain the bag. When this was done, I made a euphoria-inducing observation: a different style bag was in place!  It was complete with a tab and a cap, two things which safeguard against leeks and facilitate the drainage process.

I was so happy!  Wow!  Wonders never cease!  (I had been wishing we had a better style bag in place and had expressed my concerns to the nurse a week or two ago.  Nothing had happened at the time, but now…dreams do come true!)

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.  It’s good to be grateful for the little things.  After all, one little tab and cap can prevent a BIG mess!