Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

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)


Mothers Day Author

Helen Hunt Jackson was born Helen Maria Fiske on October 15, 1830.  During her life time she became one of our precious stars that used her gifts and talents to lift the plight of native peoples in California.  Busy about panning for gold not many could hear her voice at that time. Her written words come to us down through the ages, heard and worked upon by those who stop to listen.  She was indeed a good mother to California. 

Helen was also a brilliant American poet becoming an activist for improved treatment of and justice for Native Americans.  She described the adverse effects of government actions in her history book A Century of Dishonor (1881). Her novel Ramona (1884) dramatized the federal government’s mistreatment of Native Americans in Southern California after the Mexican–American War and attracted considerable attention to her cause. Commercially popular, her book was estimated to have been reprinted 300 times.

Helen intended her novel Ramona to capture people’s attention. She said, “I am going to write a novel, in which will be set forth some Indian experiences in a way to move people’s hearts. People will read a novel when they will not read serious books.” She was inspired by her friend Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). “If I could write a story that would do for the Indian one-hundredth part what Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for the Negro, I would be thankful the rest of my life.” Helen’s novel was so successful it was made into multiple commercial films.  You can fine them on YouTube   

Helen Hunt Jackson died August 12, 1885.


The fields of May flowers so beautifully painted by Friar Vincent…

As the spring flowers come into bloom, we too at Assisi Heights are opening up. The lovely hall of parlors, each with its own theme, is waiting for our families and friends to visit. 


Father Vincent – Glorious Spring

Winter and Spring are leading us into the blossoming of beauty in color to speak loudly that life is vibrant and all about us if we take the moment to engage her.  


Three women at Christ’s tomb…

Bonnie Hardwick shares with us her image of the women at the tomb.  The woman in the blue mantel looks to be lost in her grief.  The woman in the green mantel is waiting in hope. The women with the red mantel is alive to the message brought by the angel.  Where do we find ourselves today?

Dr. Hardwick was the head librarian at the Graduate Theological Union, and a graduate of the Franciscan School of Theology. Information about one of her books on iconography can be found at

You can contact Bonnie at [email protected].


The Cross at Saints Peter and Paul in Ireland

The Eucharist is the center of our Community life. During the Pandemic we were locked in our wing at the Franciscan Motherhouse.  After visiting sites on the Web for a Eucharistic Celebration we found our spiritual home at Sts. Peter and Paul, Portloais, Ireland. The presiding priests all speak perfect English though they hail one from China, two from Eastern Europe and one from a lifetime of missionary work in the USA.  The pastor is from Ireland and also one of the young priests whose grandfather was Jewish.  The daily Eucharistic celebration is with the local community in Portlaois, Ireland and with all of the people throughout the globe who write in with their prayers and petitions. This is truly a celebration of the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  You can meet them on YouTube.



29:11 International Exchange music ministry

29:11 International Exchange is a choir made up of musicians representing 9 tribes in South Africa. They perform music from South Africa, promoting the rich cultures and musical styles of the South African people. The mission of their music ministry is to facilitate hope and reconciliation through music, cross-cultural relationships, and individual artist development.

Several sisters had the good fortune to attend their concerts at Lourdes High School in Rochester, MN and saw the American students respond with joy and energy as they joined their counterparts from Africa.


Sister Bernadette shows her winning spirit in Bingo!


As soon as the doors were open again to our Sisters on Third Floor Care, we returned to “Bingo on Monday evenings.” We helpers had been shut out due to the Covid virus which is especially dangerous to our mature Sisters.

One of our delightful sisters at age 101 outscored the Sisters at other tables winning the prize twice with her good luck at Bingo.