With 74, 500 on the odometer in the last 3 years, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Vocation Team completed another journey responding to young women desiring to meet Franciscan Sisters. Fittingly, the Easter Season’s daily readings of Paul’s own travel logs encourage a strong, ever-ready, apostolic spirit.
Next morning back in the car (on the Thursday some U.S. Catholic Dioceses celebrated the Ascension), we prayed from a liturgy of the hours app ‘God ascends to shouts of joy, alleluia, alleluia’. With that we saw a bald eagle start low and soar up to the skies. Although not a very dove-like symbol of the Holy Spirit, we did feel God’s strong, protective blessing on the road.
Traveling especially to Scarthcona, Sister Mary Ann Spanjers and I grew in appreciation for all who use their hands in the agriculture industry. Whether working the fields of grain, feeding beef cattle or milking dairy cows, this was rural America. It was evident Catholic women religious are not a common site here. We were noticed as we window-washed windshields and filled-up at the local gas pump. Here Eucharist is not a matter of convenience. We were edified meeting a family who daily feeds on the liturgical Scripture readings before breakfast and chores. It is miles to Sunday liturgy and farm responsibilities make it sometimes impossible to meet this obligation. Faith grows deep from strong roots of love for God alone.
Next in a Crookston local hang out, we enjoyed a delightful visit with a young woman who sent us an inquiry, but also took the time for a Holy Year pilgrimage stop at St. Michael Church, Grand Forks, ND and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Crookston. Border towns are some of our favorites since they offer such great state diversity in a relatively small amount of time. Both holy places begged prayer for all the needs of God’s good people especially those who we promised to pray for and those who were in most need.
Before traveling back to Wisconsin, we also planned to pray with our Poor Clare Sisters at Sauk Rapids, MN. Present for early morning Mass, they invited us to have breakfast with their chaplain and faithful altar server. Later, Mother Mary Matthew, friend and former Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, arranged to visit with us so we all took turns sharing Community news. For those that know her, notice her new ‘old’ look. The nuns decided to change their veil to a more classic, comfortable pattern. Her radiant smile is the same:)
Lastly, for the record, we had 4 eagle sitings. One more was spotted in our path as we left Crookston, and two others before entering the state of Wisconsin! (or was it all the same one?!)