On Monday evening, December 19th the Franciscan Sisters decorated Christmas cookies at St. Francis Hospital as a part of their community building activity. Following the cookie decorating the Sisters were invited to dress up for a funny photo.
Prior to Christmas the Franciscan Sisters were blessed with a gift of the Stations of the Cross for their chapel. Valeria Schlecht noticed that the Sisters didn’t have any Stations of the Cross in their chapel. She was the generous donor who made it possible for new Stations of the Cross to adorn the chapel of the Franciscan Sisters. The Franciscan Sisters are most grateful for this gift which will enhance their prayer.
The first snowfall of the winter fell on November 18. The cycle of falling snow continued throughout December 2016. It was extremely cold the week prior to Christmas with freezing rain and snow on December 16. The return of snow on December 23 made for a white Christmas.
The new year ushered in more single digit weather. The usual windy conditions caused the temperatures to drop further.
Freezing rain turned to ice creating hazardous conditions on Tuesday, January 10 then again on Monday, January 16. Schools and businesses were forced to close as a result of the very treacherous road conditions both days.
On Monday, January 16 none of the Franciscan Sisters ventured outdoors to their ministries due to the dangerous icy conditions. Sister Joy Rose prepared a delicious meatloaf dinner at noon that day. It was the first time they had a weekday meal together on an otherwise work day. It was certainly a change- of- pace kind of day for everyone.
The Franciscan Sisters were among the parishioners of St. Mary’s Church who assisted at this November 6th parish fundraiser. There was plenty of food, auction items and games for everyone.
The Franciscan Sisters auctioned off a dinner for six which they will prepare and serve on Sunday, January 22nd. Sister Barbara Mathe made a crocheted doily which was also auctioned off that afternoon. As a result of everyone’s teamwork this year’s Family Fun Day was a great success.
The Franciscan Sisters greeted numerous ghosts and goblins on Halloween. Those who came to trick-or-treat were all smiles as the Sisters welcomed them into their porch for treats. Most of them came with their family members and others with friends.
It was a most enjoyable evening for everyone. There were chuckles and grins as the little ones showed off their costumes and reached for the treats provided. Nearly 100 trick-or-treaters visited the Franciscan Sisters!
On October 8th, Sisters Joy Rose, Barbara Mathe, Elizabeth Ann Miller and Elizabeth Benvie visited the Omaha Zoo and Aquariam. It was a beautiful fall day to enjoy a community day together.
The uniqueness of each animal was well worth the time spent walking around the premises of the zoo. The fish and other aquatic animals were interesting to watch as they moved gracefully through the water. While walking around that day, the Sisters met the Wicker family from Wisconsin who were delighted to see them.
A silver backed gorilla put on a spectacular show for everyone as he moved quickly to the top of an old tree. His stance while on top of the tree seemed to say, “I’m King of the Jungle!” This gorilla mused at the children gathered to see him and at other times he turned as if to be pouting.
Let us praise God for the blessing of all animals of the land, sea and sky! Let us thank God for the wonder and awe of all of creation!
On October 8th, the Religious Sisters of the Diocese of Omaha gathered for a Mass at St. Robert Bellarmine followed by a festive luncheon provided by the Serrans of Omaha. Archbishop Emeritus Elden F. Curtiss welcomed the Sisters, thanked them for their service to the Diocese of Omaha and led the meal prayer.
The Sisters were treated to fresh fruit, sticky buns, coffee or tea. Later they were served a delicious Chicken a La King dinner. The final course of the meal was a chocolate pecan truffle dessert. Each Sister received a generous gift of a lovely long stem red rose and a $25.00 gift certificate to the Adoramus Religious Book store in Omaha.
Before the meal, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity mingled with the other Religious Sisters and members of the Serran club. Sister Elizabeth Benvie met Sister Angelo Loboto, a Mercy Sister from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sister Elizabeth Benvie is also a native of New Mexico. Following the meal, Sisters Joy Rose, Barbara Mathe, Elizabeth Ann Miller and Sister Elizabeth Benvie sang the Blessing of St. Francis on behalf of all of the Religious Sisters to thank the Serrans for providing the meal and their generous gifts.
The Franciscan Sisters celebrated St. Francis’ transition from death to life on October 3rd. This celebration is known as the Transitus. Sister Elizabeth Ann Miller and Sister Elizabeth Benvie had Parent/Teacher conferences on October 3rd. While they were having their conferences at Guardian Angels Central Catholic School, Sister Barbara Mathe and Sister Joy Rose surprised them with a basket of almond cookies to distribute to the parents. These homemade almond cookies were in remembrance of Lady Jacoba. Lady Jacoba was known to have been a friend of St. Francis and his brothers. She often provided gracious hospitality to the St. Francis and his brothers. While on his deathbed, St. Francis asked to taste Lady Jacoba’s almond cookies one last time. Serving almond cookies on St. Francis’ death anniversary has become a tradition.
Following the Parent/Teacher conferences, the Franciscan Sisters celebrated the Transitus to commemorate St. Francis’ death and new life in heaven.
On the Feast of St. Francis, the Sisters began their day with a festive Morning Praise together. The central celebration of their day was the Eucharist. Sister Elizabeth Ann and Sister Elizabeth attended the 7:15 a.m. Mass. Sister Barbara and Sister Joy attended an 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Francis hospital. The Sisters gathered to celebrate a special Evening Praise at 5:oo p.m. Sister Joy prepared a delicious steak dinner for everyone to enjoy on the Feast of St. Francis.
Sister Barbara is a master at crocheting doilies. She can create a single doily in three days to a week. Sister Barbara has made eleven doilies between August 10 and October 7! Each doily has its own beauty and elegance. One of Sister Barbara’s doilies will be in the St. Mary’s Family Fun Day auction on November 6th.
Sister Barbara’s mother taught her how to crochet when she was a child. This skill has served her well over the years. The recipients of Sister’s doilies have a beautiful treasure that will endure for years to come.
Sister Barbara Mathe and Sister Renee Mirkes are natives of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Who would ever image two Sisters from the same city would be ministering in Nebraska! Sister Barbara is a volunteer at Guardian Angels Central Catholic School, St. Joseph Retirement Center and St. Francis Hospital. Sister Renee Mirkes ministers as a Bio-ethicist at the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.
Each month, Sister Renee travels to West Point, Nebraska where she enjoys a delicious meal followed by a community meeting with her Franciscan Sisters. The elegant salad pictured in this video was prepared by Sister Renee. The Sisters look forward to their monthly sharing of food, conversation and a lively discussion.