Franciscan Sister Mary Ann Tupy shares on a recent 70th celebration at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Greenwood, Mississippi.
Five Sisters made the 828-mile trip to Greenwood, Mississippi October 8th, 2021 to celebrate 70 years of God’s work at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish and School in Greenwood. Pictured l to r: Sister Mary Ann Tupy, Sister Elena Gonzales, Sister Carol Seidl, and Sister Kathleen Murphy, and had all served as either teachers or principals in the school. Sister Myra Jean Sweigart (far right) represented our Community’s Administration. They left Manitowoc, around 4:50 a.m. October 8th and arrived in Greenwood around 8:15 p.m. The Franciscan Friars had Saint Francis Convent open and the rooms ready with four beautiful roses to greet each Sister. Father Kim, the present pastor, and Father Greg, the former pastor, came over to greet the Sisters.
Saturday, October 9, the Sisters joined some of the parishioners to help decorate the Leflore Civic Center for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary. Afterwards, the five Sisters returned to Saint Francis to pray the Rosary at 11:00 with several parishioners. It was decided to enjoy Subway sandwiches for lunch. As the Sisters were placing their orders, another customer paid for the meals. We all thanked her and promised to keep her in prayers. After lunch a drive around Greenwood provided the opportunity to reminisce about the Community’s ministry at Saint Francis. The Sisters attended the 4 p.m. Mass and then enjoyed supper with the Friars at La Terraza, a local Hispanic restaurant.
Sunday October 10, the Sisters joined the members of Saint Francis Parish for the 12-noon bilingual Mass at the Leflore Civic Center. The Franciscan Friars con-celebrated with Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, the presider. The Mass was followed by a delicious dinner prepared by one of the local chefs. After the meal, the program provided the opportunity to look back over 70 years of blessings for Saint Francis Parish and School. Graduates of the school spoke, including the present principal Mrs. Jackie Lewis. As an alumna, she spoke of the many good things the school provided for her family and herself, plus the hopes she has for the continued success of the school. The main speaker, Dr. William Williams Jr. a graduate of the 1965 class of Saint Francis, helped put in perspective the great risk that was taken by the local Black population sending their children to a “White managed” Catholic School. He spoke of the White Friars and Sisters who began Saint Francis Parish and School to serve the Black Catholics of Greenwood and how the families learned to trust these White people.
The people were so delighted to see the Sisters, and the Sisters enjoyed visiting with parishioners, families, and students. Memories of all the loving work with the Friars to help families and students who attended Saint Francis School flooded the Sisters’ hearts with joy.
Monday, October 11, the 828-mile trip back home to Manitowoc started at 4:30 a.m. The Sisters arrived in Manitowoc a little before 7:00 p.m. and were grateful for a safe trip there and back. They were especially grateful to have safely navigated Chicago’s road construction in a torrential rainfall and the threat of a tornado. A beautiful rainbow had lit up the sky around Chicago as a reminder of God’s love and protection. May God continue to bless the work of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish and School in Greenwood, Mississippi.