Greetings from the “Bold North” of Mankato, MN! I can’t believe it has only been two months since we left Washington D.C. on March 22! We arrived at our new convent along with Mother Immaculate Conception and Sister Annai who accompanied us, and we were welcomed by two women of the parish who were placing the final touches on the “deep clean” that had been taking place for over a week. During our first few days at the parish we discovered that many families had pitched in to prepare a beautiful home to welcome the sisters. The parishioners were eagerly awaiting our arrival and within our first 24 hours we received invitations from the Legion of Mary, the Sunday Breakfast Committee and the Music Minister, all of which we promptly accepted. Many of the parishioners and families introduced themselves telling that they had been praying for many years for this foundation.
Mother Immaculate and Sr. Annai stayed with us through the weekend helping us with all the practical details involved in establishing a convent. We waved goodbye to them on Palm Sunday, and along with Holy Week the mission had truly began! We give thanks to God for the fruits of our first Holy Week here. On Monday we were able to drive 2 hours with Father to the Cathedral of Winona for Dinner and the Chrism Mass, which all of the priests, religious and lay ministers of the Diocese attend. Everyone was very welcoming and curious to know who the “blue sisters” were. Later that week we were able to participate in all of the Triduum Services. Some of the most beautiful moments were the washing of the feet of 12 Minor Seminarians on Holy Thursday and the 4 mile Stations of the Cross through the city on Friday morning. The devotion of both the Minor Seminarians and the Parishioners is very edifying, even the snow on Good Friday did not keep them from accompanying our Lord in his passion.
Mother Corredentora, General Superior, sent us her personal greetings and encouragement to embrace this foundation with a Spirit of trustful abandonment in Divine Providence, the same spirit that moved our Holy Patroness Mother Theodore Guerin, in her great task of evangelizing the United States.
Although we had arrived in March, we were able to experience a couple of snow falls! We took advantage of the opportunity in order to build a “Snow Our Lady of Lujan” on our front lawn for all to see as they drove down Main Street! I began a beautiful apostolate this month with the homebound and nursing homes of the Parish. I prepare th enursing home Masses once a week and have begun arranging visits to the sick who have already received the sacraments or need preparation to receive them. God has not disappointed our trust in Him, which can be clearly seen in the constant donations we have received from complete strangers. On Friday the 6th, we even brought home our 2007 Toyota Prius, which we thank Betty and Jim for making such a generous donation.
We were also able to be with Gianna Emmanuela Molla (daughter of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla) and Mother Siluva, SSVM who was accompanying her in fundraising for the “Ponte Novo” Project. We accompanied them to the Prolife banquet in Fargo, ND and the Vocations Jamboree in Bismark, ND. This was our first “Go West” adventure and was an experience we hope to repeat as God allows. It was a great grace to be with Gianna, who is a contagious example of faith simplicity and joy!
This past week, on May 8th, our Religious Family around the world celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Lujan. Here at Saints Peter and Paul, we participated in the celebration of Holy Mass together, followed by a Potluck dinner with some of the Parishioners. It was a beautiful celebration and it provided an opportunity for us to share the history of Our Lady of Lujan with some of the Parishioners. We are in the middle of the celebrations for some of the children in the catechism program who will be receiving the sacraments. Last Sunday we had First Communions, and next week will be Confirmations! Another of the big upcoming events that we are preparing for is on June 2nd, when our Bishop will come and bless the convent.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers, as we end the Apostolate of the academic year, and transition into the summer Apostolate!
Always united in Jesus and Mary!
Sr. Strength of Martyrs