Xavier High School Retreat at Franciscan Convent

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

April 24, 2023

Holy Family Convent of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity was one of the selected locations for the recent St. Francis Xavier High School, Appleton, Wisconsin, All School Retreat Day. Teacher Mrs. Katie Heimerl and young women arrived @ 9 a.m. . Sister Pam Biehl led the retreatants in the theme: “The Secret to Being Holy and Happy….”

After introductions and a talk to set the focus of the day, a morning liturgy was planned. Fr. Placid Stroik, OFM, was the presider and Sister Marsaia Kaster led the music. Sister Pam invited the group to reflect on 3 parts of the Mass as they prepared to enter the chapel.

  • Were there any words in the Opening and Closing Song that caught your attention?
  • What words or phrases struck you in the two readings?
  • What is your ‘takeaway’ from the Scripture and the homily today?
  • Listen for a word or phrase that stays with you during the Eucharistic prayer.

After the Eucharistic celebration was ended, students were able to greet the other Sisters that were also in attendance. A discussion on their responses to the questions posed above followed in the Patio Lounge. 

Next came lunch in the convent cafeteria followed with a talk on the ‘happy’ part of the theme. Important to being happy was prayer. Sister Pam reviewed the meaning of prayer and gave students time to pray. She gave them helps on how they could make this a daily practice of their own.

To close the retreat day, Sister Elaine Turba invited the students to help with a quilting project for Africa. 

Here’s a message from teacher Mrs. Heimerl on the day.

“We had a fantastic day at Holy Family Convent.  I was so proud of our students! They were polite and respectful and participated in Sister Pam’s discussions with enthusiasm. They helped finish three quilts that will be sent to Africa. The visit gave the girls a glimpse into the lives of the sisters. We could see that they are real human beings with parents and siblings, iPhones, and cars, who watch TV,  craft, and maybe bend a rule or two (just a bit…and they have lots of confessionals available). It took away some of the mystery surrounding religious life. Sister Pam is very down to earth and easy to talk to. My favorite take away from the day was that we don’t have to be serious and somber to be holy…just be nice to the people we see each day, even when it’s not easy to be.”


Article Comments:

Sister Anne Marie Lom 04/24/2023 @ 8:43 pm

I’m appreciative of this great summary of the day. I know Sr. Pam was excited to plan and prepare. It looks like our visitors had plenty to “take away” and they “left” a lot of joy as well.


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