My First Chapter!

2017-08-16-08-06-09-1000x662Although I’ve been around our community of Franciscan Sisters for quite a while now, today was my first ever “Chapter of Affairs.”  That is because we only have these pre-election meetings once every six years.

Sisters only begin attending these official meetings after professing their final vows.  At the time of the last such chapter, I was still in temporary vows.

Today, like days of other community meetings, was a beautiful opportunity to meet and mingle with our sisters, to be together ‘as a family.’  Serving about 140 miles north, we don’t get that chance every day.

I am always grateful for these opportunities.

Today, being at this meeting for the first time, I was finally ‘one of the group.’  I got to hear reports on the past six years and take part in other decision-making prior to our election in early April.

Please join me in continuing prayers to the Holy Spirit for guidance during this exciting time.


Doubling Up

Have you ever noticed that, at times, a certain scriptural passage or theme seems to keep coming back to you?

This happened to me today at vespers.

This morning, our Bible study was based off last Sunday’s readings  This included Psalm 137: “By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept…”  This evening, we prayed it again as one of the psalms.

Also, in discussing the reading from Ephesians, this morning we had gotten around to talking about “faith and works.”  This evening, the reading from St. James was on that very topic.

I find it so neat when that happens, and wonder if there’s a lesson I am supposed to be learning.

This whole day has been one of doubling up, I guess.  You might say I was making up for lost time; I missed out on over an hour of my day because my alarm clock was set on p.m. instead of a.m. 🙂

I ended up ‘doubling up’ in another way, too.  I set out to make brownies with one of our residents this afternoon and ended up making cookies as well, in order to use up the little bit of applesauce I had left in the fridge.

The cookies were not one of my most successful baking projects, unfortunately.  The result of a make-shift and hurried recipe, they will soon be making their way into a cookie salad.

“May Your Help Always Renew Us”

melting_snowLast evening, having completed the office work I had undertaken, I headed to chapel to catch up on my spiritual reading and pray Compline (Night Prayer).

As I finished the Liturgy of the Hours, the words of the concluding prayer struck me by their appropriateness:


Lord God,
send peaceful sleep
to refresh our tired bodies.
May your help always renew us
and keep us strong in your service.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

I needed God’s help to renew me…I was tired, not only toward the end of the day, but also toward the end (hopefully) of a long winter.

The extended periods of darkness and cold, along with the ‘routineness’ of life and other challenges can wear on a person.

This prayer reminds us that we all need God to renew our tired bodies and souls.

Whether it be in a good night sleep or the sight of melting snow washing down the street drains, we can be grateful for the strength and encouragement He sends us.

Spring will come; the sun will shine 🙂

Plus, I realized yesterday, that we’ve reached the half-way mark of Lent!  Yipee!


Miles to Go!

20171220_165454.jpgThis afternoon, I did not start my aide work around 4:30 as I usually do; I was detained by an important meeting until past our normal suppertime.

After a quick meal and KP duty, we hustled off to chapel to pray Evening prayer (minus the normal supplemental invocations we normally include).  We needed to make up lost time.

We got out of chapel a few minutes early, but none too soon – I had miles to go!

Since I had missed my first rounds, bathrooms needed checking, beds had yet to be opened, and a tea cup for one resident had not been prepared for the evening…

…And that was just to be caught up to where I should be by 6:30!

Thankfully, my co-worker at the front desk was gracious enough to take care of the tea as I headed to the kitchen to get snacks.

Needless to say, by the time I got upstairs with my snack tray, it was too late to open beds; the residents had doubtless ‘crawled in’ already.

As I type this at the front desk, I realize I neglected to take one ladies special new shoes off for her – Oops!

As I made my way around the floors, attending to the needs of our residents, the phrase ‘miles to go,’ which so amply described my situation, provoked the memory for me of a song we had sung in grade school music class: Road Less Traveled.

A few of the lyrics that I still remember are: “On that long and winding road…there are miles to go.”  This song had referred to the road of life.

As I worked, the prayer surfaced in my heart that I may travel life’s journey in a way pleasing to God and in accord with His desires for me.

An important scripture to me (a psalm verse printed on my name plaque back home) comes to mind as well: “Lead my, O Lord in your righteousness…make my way straight before me.”

Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF

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Praise to the Holiest

I just concluded my days of leading Office this evening with vespers.  You might call me lazy, avoiding having to re-mark the books for our visitors, but I used the same hymn for both morning and evening prayer today.

However, there were other motives at work here; I was not just looking for the easy way out.  Praise to the Holiest in the Heights is a beautiful hymn and, at least in our breviary, it has seven verses.  This is plenty to spread out over two liturgical prayer sessions!

There is something sweet, touching, and almost tender about this anthem, written by John Henry Newman around the time that our Civil War was ending.  The words are poignant and touching.

In my own personal history, there is something “sweet, touching, and almost tender” about this hymn, too.  The first time I ever remember hearing it was when I was exploring different religious communities before finding my way to North Dakota.  It was during Lent and the song was used liturgically by the Sisters I was visiting.

Thus, whenever I hear it, I am reminded of my own journey.  Hearing of Christ’s journey of love in this hymn touches me with an awareness of His presence in my own.  Reflecting upon it breathes a tender gratitude into my soul.

It calls me to praise.