Friar Vince – October

October 4th, its the feast of St Francis, richly important for Franciscans of all ilk over the whole planet.  There are 3rd order Franciscans including women, men, and young people called Franciscan Tertiaries.  There are 3rd order regular sisters and brothers who carry on missionary activities and service to the poor including working in hospitals, schools and serving parishes.

2nd order are the Franciscan Poor Clares, or the Sisters of St Clare who live the Franciscan and Clare charism in community in their monasteries. 

The 1st order are the Friar’s minor, the little brothers.  And there are many versions.  In the United States, the Friars minor have just consolidated 6 of their provinces into one in order to served the people in a more effective manner.

St. Francis has inspired all of these people to offer their lives in service in many ways.  Born in Assisi (Italy) in 1181 or 1182; died nearby on 3 October 1226. The carefree son of a wealthy merchant who gave up his inheritance to embrace utter poverty. Under a simple gospel rule, he and his Friars Minor were authorized to be mendicant preachers. His “Canticle of the Sun” captures his lyrical spirit and sense of oneness with all creatures. An outstanding example of the beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” At the end of his life he bore in his flesh the marks of Christ’s suffering. 


PES visit – September

Before the summer season ended, our lovely sisters from Bloomington, known by all of us as the PES Sisters, came to spend the day.  We joined in Community prayer and together shared  our main meal in the large dining room.  In that venue we could remove our masks!  Our Sisters came bearing gifts.

This wooden plaque and the carved words brought us back to the time of our handing over the monastery in Bloomington to these beautiful women. They had made booklets for all who attended our “going away” party at the Church of St. Bonaventure.  The words on the plaque remind us of their wish for us as we moved to southern Minnesota.


Friar Vince – September – Of This Land

These two pieces of God’s work of art speak out on these last days of summer.  They pull out all the levers to make a marvelous tapestry for us to enjoy as we move toward fall.

In contrast, we see the beauty of the gifts of human investment in the building of a house that welcomes all to remember the little man of Assisi, and God’s call to each of us to follow our special path in a life to add beauty and love in our world.


Summer Celebrations:

How beautiful the summer days when our third order Franciscan friends come to visit.

As Assisi Heights motherhouse opened up after the pandemic we were able to receive our dear friend Mike Joncas. Father Mike celebrated a beautiful liturgy in our large chapel, followed by lunch in the large dining hall. 


Friar Vince – Starfield

Trees, water and sky meet at night to show off their complementary beauty.


July Retreat for the Poor Clare’s

The Poor Clare Sisters for their annual retreat left their home on the 3th Floor of Assisi Heights to pray together at the Franciscan retreat center in Prior Lake, MN.  Father Joseph Chinnici, a dear friend to our community over the years, guided us with daily reflections on our lives now as we move into the uncharted waters of our latter years.  The reflections were both soothing to the spirit and powerful, the surroundings were exquisitely beautiful and our Community retreat this year was the best ever.

We used this beautiful room for both prayer and conferences. 

One of the many stunning spots on on the retreat property.

Sister Fran enjoying the many and diverse flowers and plants on this gorgeous property.


Jo’s Birthday

Jo arrives to the surprise of a most colorful birthday celebration!  Sister Catherine is putting on the last touches to what will be a lovely evening for all of us.

Sister Jo settles in for a lovely evening celebrating her birthday.  Everyone enjoyed the songs and memories highlighting her beautiful life story.


Sacred Wilderness – St Thérèse and Etty

As we move into July we think of two women who were different models for people engaged in following the spiritual life.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux who lived in the 19th century (1873-1897) was a remarkably popular Carmelite Sister whose spiritual journey, which she called the “little way”, gained world-wide following.  In a time of much warfare throughout the world, she was the quiet presence of prayer that moved many to follow her “little way” of devotion to God.

Thérèse wrote “Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”

 Thérèse died of tuberculosis saying on her death-bed, “I only love simplicity. I have a horror of pretense”, 

As a Doctor of the Church, St. Thérèse of Lisieux is surely a privileged expression of the “Little Way” for our times. Yet, there is another Little Way, that of a twentieth century Dutch Jewish woman and Holocaust victim, Etty Hillesum (1914-1943).

Etty wrote her diaries during the times when the Jews were being sent from the Netherlands to Auschwitz.  Her diaries focused on finding a solution for her own internal struggles rather than the events of World War II raging around her.  She eventually found a way out through spirituality and a highly personal interpretation of faith.

Etty wrote ‘I shall try to help You, God, to stop my strength ebbing away, though I cannot vouch for it in advance. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me: that You cannot help us, that we must help You to help ourselves. And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves.’ (12 July 1942)

Etty was murdered in Auschwitz on 30 November 1943.

The world came to know about Etty through her diaries “Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life the Diaries, 1941–1943 and Letters from Westerbork” which were published in 1981 and are now translated into 18 different languages.


Visitors to the Heights – June 17th

This beautiful June Day we finally had the long desired visit from our precious friends from Bloomington.  Carol is a great-niece of our dear Sister Anne Condon. As we moved into electronics at the monastery, Carol and her dear husband Craig helped repaired our computers and coached us in using technology to create some of our cards and best blog entries while we were living in Bloomington.  How grateful we are to them and treasure their friendship.


Father Vincent – Perfect Day

Would the beauty of these words gently move across our planet to bring justice, love, and peace to all. 

Lovely Day by Donovan is taken from Chanticleer Chants to the Son.

Donovan – Lovely Day (You Tube music video)