Franciscan Sisters Adopt a Beach: Praise Sister Water

Paul Keggington

September 22, 2013

St. Francis praised God for all of creation. On September 21, 2013 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity praised God for Sister Water by Adopting a Beach uniting with other caring organizations: International Coastal Clean up, Alliance of the Great Lakes and Friends of Manitowoc River Watershed.   Silver Lake College of the Holy Family faculty and students, Roncalli High School, St. Francis of Assisi Youth ministers, parents, families from near and far joined us on the shoreline on Manitowoc’s Northern Memorial Drive. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students won the prize for coming the distance.

Franciscan-Sisters-Adopt-a-BeachSome young women not only offered a hand in the clean up, but contemplated the mystery of Baptismal call while discerning a Franciscan vocation. Watch for other significant shared material on our Retreat blog in the next days.

Find here our Sister Julia Van Denack’s poem Canticle of Sister Water which was one source of reflection for  retreatants. It was the perfect poem to use in prayer after the beach was sweeped clean.

Canticle of Sister Water

“Praised be you, my Lord,

through Sister Water

Which is very useful and humble

and precious and chaste.”

Without her no earthly life is possible;

She is the womb of the earth

In which you, my Lord,

First formed the marvel of living beings!


Praised be you, my Lord,Franciscan-Sisters-Adopt-a-Beach-Lake-Michigan-Manitowoc, WI

through Sister Water

Which covers four-fifths of the Blue Planet,

our earthly home,

She is the medium for transport

Around the world

And in the bodies of all your creatures.


Praised be you, my Lord,

through Sister Water

Which retains for so long the heat of Brother Sun

And warms the land that it surrounds

And retains the coolness of the night

To temper the heat of the day.


Praised be you, my Lord,Franciscan-Sisters-and-Adopt-a-Beach-Volunteers

through Sister Water

Whose clarity admits the rays of Brother Sun

To energize the teaming life

Of ocean, lake and stream.


Praised be you, my Lord

through Sister Water

Which is cohesive and buoyant and

Marvellous to behold,

Whose molecules adhere to one another

To be drawn up the lenth of a soda straw,

Or to float a leaf, or a ship on its surface.


Praised be you, my Lord,Lake-Michigan

through Sister Water

Which bathes, washes and cleanses

Which is everywhere a solvent for many things,

Which allows passage of life-giving goods

Into all tissues and cells,

And provides clearance of wastes therefrom.


Praised be you, my Lord,

through Sister Water

Drawn up by Brother Sun

And floating in clouds,

Carried by Brother Wind

To cycle down once more in life-giving rain

For all your living creatures.


Praised by you, my Lord,Franciscans-care-for-Sister-Water

through Sister Water

Which seeps and trickles into brother Earth

And, being purified in this reservoir,

Slakes our thirst at the well,

And brings to deserts

The greenness of growth.


Praised be you, my Lord,

through Sister Water,

Whose crystalline, frozen form floats

To ice-cover with protection

The life of lakes and ponds,

And snow-blankets all your living things

In the sleep of winter.


Praised be you, my Lord,2013-Adopt-a-Beach

through Sister Water,

Which is a refreshing symbol of the LIVING WATER, JESUS HIMSELF,

Promised to all who ask in faith.

Let us daily draw

From this life-giving font.

All praise be thine, Oh Trinity in Unity!

-Sister Julia Van Denack, OSF

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