April 18, 2019

Sacramental Season

shared by: Sr. M. Clementia, FSGM
Currently missioned to St. Anselm Convent in Rock Island, IL

As the Director of Religious Education for a large parish and school, the many small details of “Sacramental Season” can become quite hectic. Despite the busy-ness of this period, I was moved to try something extraordinary for the 56 Confirmation candidates in my charge. Knowing the culture and society these students are coming from, I felt that they especially needed to know that they are loved and worthy of sacrifice. 

Beginning February 27, I started making cord rosaries for each Confirmandee. During this Holy Week, I finished this monumental task through the intercession and help of Our Blessed Mother. I pray that each candidate will experience God’s everlasting love through this long-lasting sacramental. I am looking forward to handing each candidate a rosary on April 27- when these beloved children of God will be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Please pray for them! 

April 16, 2019

Veni Si Amas to the max!

Over the weekend of April 5-7, a record 32 women descended upon St. Francis Convent for our biannual Veni Si Amas retreat.  From a junior in high school to a PhD candidate, they varied in age and life experience but were one in prayer and community during the days of retreat.  The women lived our order of the day and heard talks on the theological virtue of Hope as it relates to the eternal desires of our hearts and God's desire for us to share communion with him.  This was especially poignant as the women joined us in praying for and celebrating the life of Sr. M. Carista who passed away a few days before the retreat.  For many of them, it was a moving experience to participate in the beauty of the Church's funeral rites and to recognize the culmination of a life lived completely for Jesus in consecrated religious life.  No doubt seeds were planted and watered and in time, they will bear great fruit.

April 9, 2019

A Mission of Merciful Love

Our Novices go on Mission at the beginning of their second year before returning home to prepare to make their First Profession. Here is Sister M. Clare's mission experience.

by: Sister M. Clare, FSGM
God’s plan for our lives is so much greater than we can ever imagine; I experienced this in a deep way during my six months as a second- year novice on mission from August 2018 to February 2019. I was sent to our St. Francis Day Care Center in Alton, Illinois, for five months, living with our Professed Sisters at our Provincial House, St. Francis Convent. Then I worked as a house keeper in our convent for about a month afterwards. This time on mission was very trans- formative. One of the many lessons I learned is: Merciful love is powerful. I desire Jesus’ love at every moment of my day, and now, even more so, as I prepare to ma e my First Profession of Vows.

At our Day Care Center, there is a thirst for His love as well. Our Sisters serve there to bring Christ to each person who walks, crawls, or is carried through the front door. I was assigned mainly as an assistant teacher in “Room 4,” also known as the “St. Clare Room” (very providential!). I worked with children between the ages of one and two. It was quite an adjustment from living in our convent to working all day with excited toddlers! I learned to appreciate the tangible beauty of motherhood as well as the vocation of marriage and family life. It was such a gift to be able to mother these children on a daily basis.

I never thought as a religious Sister that I would get to read a story to a child at nap time; play with toys and use my imagination again; go on a wall , pushing a four- person stroller; or give a bottle to a tiny baby falling asleep in my arms. These are such small moments, yet they mean so much. This is Christ’s merciful love made visible. It is a personal, loving encounter by simply “being” with another. God showed me the beauty of my own vocation as a daughter, bride, and mother through this mission. Getting to now our staff at the Day Care Center was another gift God gave to me. The members of our staff are thirsting for Christ’s love, too. I was overjoyed to be able to listen to their stories, to pray with them, and to accompany them on their individual journeys with the Lord. Christ’s merciful love will open a heart that is closed. It will remind people of their true beauty and dignity.

I had the joy to live and work with our Professed Sisters at St. Francis Convent. I observed their love, concretely lived out each day in their various apostolates. They inspire me and give me so much hope for the future beauty of my own life, given completely to Jesus through the vows. Overall, my mission experience was a true immersion into the transforming power of the consecrated life. Mission has made me even more grateful for the Community to which God has called me.

April 5, 2019

Perfect Timing: Part 3

Hello! My name is Becky Panuska, and I am the newest postulants in our Community.  I am 23 years old, and I am from Saint Michael, Minnesota.

Before coming to the convent, I finished college at Winona State University, graduating this past December 2018 with degrees in physical and health education.

I first learned about our Community when I was in elementary school.  My aunt, Sister M. Catherine, entered the Community in 2004.  However, it was not until much later that I realized the desire and draw of my heart to "look at Him Whom they have pierced" and to "make the merciful love of Christ visible" to the world.  I entered our Community on January 5, 2019.

I love to do anything active, especially if it is outside like hiking, swimming, and playing all kinds of sports.  I also enjoy reading, board games, and card games.

I am beyond ecstatic to be here and to experience the exciting adventure the Lord has in store for me!

April 4, 2019

Perfect Timing: Part 2

Hi! My name is Kara Esker.  I am 26 years old and from the small town of Teutopolis, Illinois.  I enjoy being outside, especially swimming, riding ATV's, hiking, and rock climbing.  I also love to sing and listen to music.  My favorite pastime, however, is simply being with family or close friends.  We love to play games together!

Before entering the convent on November 1, 2018, I worked as a Spanish teacher.  I taught for two years at Corpus Christi School in Bloomington, Illinois and then for one year at St. Matthew Catholic School in Champaign, Illinois.  It was there that I met the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.

When I moved to Champaign, I was not actively discerning religious life, but God placed the thought very persistently into my head and heart after meeting the Sisters.  As I visited and grew to know the Community more, I found that so much inside of me resonated with our Franciscan spirituality.  I was also deeply struck by the charism of "seeking to make the merciful love of Christ visible."

The Lord has greatly blessed me throughout my life, and I trust that He will continue to lead and guide me in this new adventure!

April 3, 2019

We Were Visited

Today we said goodbye to Reverend Mother Maria Cordis who has been on canonical visitation in our American Province since February 2019.

Let us pray that Rev. Mother has a safe and blessed flight to Atlanta and then to Dusseldorf. 
(On her way here, she "missed" the scheduled flight.  Turns out that the plane she was supposed to be on was hit by lightening and many got ill.)

Okay, let me try to explain this.
We are a worldwide congregation, currently in 9 countries:

  • Thuine (pronounced Tuna), Germany 1869
  • The Netherlands, 1875
  • USA, 1923
  • Indonesia 1932
  • Brazil 1972
  • Albania 2001
  • Assisi, Italy, 2005 and
  • Cuba, 2011.

Our Mother house is in Germany and we call our main house in the USA our Provincial house.   Every six years, Reverend Mother visits each Province.  It's a special time of unity and love.  

April 2, 2019

Perfect Timing: Part 1 of 3

Usually, our entrance day is September 8th - Our Blessed Mother's birthday.   This year, our postulants entered on three different days.   It's good to be reminded that God's ways are not our ways and His timing is always perfect.

So, let's meet our postulants!

Peace and blessings! My name is Brianna Donahue and I am 22 years old.  I was born and raised on Long Island, New York, until 2005 when my family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee.

Ever since I was little, I felt drawn to the religious life and, more specifically, the Franciscan spirituality.  I entered a Poor Clare Community after my first semester of college.  Later I discerned that the Lord was leading me elsewhere, and returned to Tennessee.  After hearing about our Veni Si Amas Vocation Retreat from one of our Sisters in Knoxville, Sister M. Clara, I came on the Fall retreat in 2017, and learned about our Community for the first time!

My heart was drawn to our Community's twofold charism immediately: "They shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced" and "Seeking to make the merciful love of Christ visible."  Over the next few visits, my encounters with our Lord and our Sisters here at the convent really spoke to my heart.  I finally surrendered to His invitation to follow Him and give Him my "yes!" I entered our Community on September 8, 2018.

I enjoy many activities, including camping, hiking backpacking, soccer, singing, arts and crafts, reading, and teaching!  Before entering, I enjoyed participating in our annual parish Passion Play, volunteering at a local equestrian therapy facility for handicapped individuals, joining and being a junior leader in American Heritage Girls (AHG), and teaching badges for elementary through high school girls at AHG summer camps.

I praise God for His faithfulness towards me.  I ask for your prayers that I may live each day, loving Jesus Christ and making His merciful love visible.