Franciscan Community Volunteers



Franciscan Life Center

Justice & Peace

Welcoming House


By KariRoss

The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls announce their weekday Mass in Sacred Heart Chapel, St. Francis Convent, on Monday, September 2, will be held at 8:30 a.m. (There will be no 11 a.m. Mass on September 2.)  Please note this time change on your calendars. Thank you!

By KariRoss

The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls and the Franciscan Associates invite the public to join them for a Fall Day of Reflection entitled, “Transformed by Grace, Transfigured for Love,” on Saturday, September 14, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls. Saint Francis would be delighted with the ways the grace of God transforms our hearts, minds and spirits through everyday life experiences. Presenter, Jacquelyne Witter, Ed.D., will look at what St. Francis saw as what was his to do as a disciple of Christ; and, discover possibilities of what is ours to do. Come explore God’s amazing grace and what it means to be ‘transfigured for love’ through prayer, presentation, reflection and conversation.

For more information on the Fall Day of Reflection, or to pre-register by September 6, contact (320)632-0693 or email:
jwingert@fslf.org. Cost for the event is $35.

By KariRoss

The Clothes Review is having a 6-hour Bag Sale on Wednesday, September 11, from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fill brown grocery bags with clothes for just $3 per bag. Bags will be provided. Everyone is welcome! The Clothes Review is located on St. Francis Campus, 1001 3rd Street SE, Little Falls (look for signs) and is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota.

By KariRoss

Congratulations to Amy Springer from Motley, winner of a compost bin at the 2013 Green Fair Folk Festival on August 7, at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls. The compost bin was donated by Tom Rothleutner and the team from Little Falls Tractor Supply Co., Little Falls.  Pictured (L to R):  Amy Springer, recipient; Tom Rothleutner, Assistant Manager of Tractor Supply Co.  Mark your calendars and plan to attend the 2014 Green Fair Folk Festival—Wednesday, August 6.

(Photo taken by Annie Heisick, Community Relations Department, Franciscan Sisters.)


By Jeanie

URock Band- Power Plant

St. Francis Music Center's URock band, Power Plant, will be the opening act for The Fabulous Armadillos at the Summertime by [Lake] George in St. Cloud this Wednesday, August 28. If you wish to attend, be seated in your lawn chair and ready to applaud at 5 p.m.

The young students will share the stage with performers from GREAT Theatre. Lots of food is for sale for your eating adventure.

Schedule looks like this:
5 p.m. – Power Plant
5:15 p.m. – GREAT Theatre
5:30 p.m. – Power Plant
5:45 p.m. – GREAT Theatre
6:30 p.m. – The Fabulous Armadillos
By Jeanie
bySisters Lillian Kroll and Mary Lou Eltgroth Sisters Lillian Kroll and Mary Lou Eltgroth

We were extremely gifted by the response of our sisters’ loving affirmations and presence at our Jubilee celebration. We were blessed to have three young women (two violinists and a flutist), who recently returned from Interlocken Music Camp, accompany the singing at the Liturgy. Thank you for showing us your love by your presence, cards, gifts, affirmations and to all those who assisted in many ways. You helped make our Jubilee a wonderful experience.
By KariRoss

The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls invite the public to join them for Taize Prayer on Thursday, September 5, from 6-7 p.m., in Sacred Heart Chapel at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls.

Taize Prayer is a reflective, meditative prayer with repetitively sung chants. Gather in a sacred space for an hour with the beauty of lighted candles and the San Damiano Cross, and in contemplative silence to experience Christ’s presence. Encounter the mystery of God through the beauty of simplicity.  Allow yourself to be open and receptive and let the prayers permeate your mind. Hear scripture readings, prayer petitions and songs initiated by a song leader. Relax and join in prayer and song as you feel comfortable. In the sacred space of contemplative silence God often touches us deeply, and healing and transformation happen.  Taize Prayer is open to the public. The prayer of Jesus “that all may be one” is your special invitation to come. People of all Christian traditions are welcome!

For more information, contact the Franciscan Life Center at (320)632-0668 or email:
franciscanlife@fslf.org; www.fslf.org.

By Admin

2013 Green Fair Folk Festival

State fairs, community events, even neighborhood or family celebrations often claim: “There’s something for everyone.” So it was with the annual Green Fair Folk Festival. The seventh annual event took place August 7 on the west lawn of St. Francis Convent with over 1,000 people in attendance. The temperature was mild, the humidity low, making the evening most enjoyable for everyone. 


What started out as a concert to promote peace has grown to a full-service event that offers live entertainment from groups sponsored by St. Francis Music Center, including a Slavic choir, fiddlers, gospel musicians and the ever popular performances from URock summer camp. 


The focus is everything “green” with information on caring for Mother Earth, sustainable agriculture, and clean water. Vendors brought their expertise and natural products that promote health, safety, organic gardening and sustainable living. The event is family orientated and kid friendly with children’s crafts, activities and face painting.


Franciscan values and charism carried the event with many sisters walking the grounds, meeting and greeting fair-goers. They offered tours of Sacred Heart Chapel, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a special Franciscan blessing for everyone. New feat ures included a speakers’ tent and a tour of the campus ground and the gardens on a horse-drawn wagon.


After an event such as the Green Fair, there is so much to be grateful for and so many people to thank. So, thank you! Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the gift of a beautiful day and the opportunity to welcome our friends and neighbors to St. Francis Convent, to build relationships and share a bit our Franciscan charism.


See more photos

By Admin

Submitted by: Kaitlin Depuydt, Associate Director of the FCV Program


So.... (drumroll please!)... I would like to introduce each of newest Franciscan Community Volunteers!

Nneka Arinze has joined us from Stone Mountain, Georgia.  Nneka has an educational background in sports management, and she was recently working with a preschool program.  Nneka will be serving at 2 sites part-time.  One will be the Boys and Girls Club doing after-school programming for youth.  Nneka’s  second placement is still being finalized.


Michael Hazel grew up in many places, including Kansas and Germany, and he recently spent time living in community and working at a Catholic Worker house in Rochester New York.  Michael will be serving at Lutheran Social Service with refugee resettlement, working primarily with families coming from Somalia.


Ian Peoples come to us from Burkburnett, Texas.  He most recently has been on staff with a Boys & Girls Club as the Athletic Director.  Ian will be serving at the Catholic Charities St. Cloud Children’s Home with at-risk youth.  He will be in the youth ministry office and doing some coaching and recreation activities.

Learn more about the FCV program by visiting www.FCVonline.org

Franciscan Community Volunteers 2013

By Admin

Join us for a Fall Day of Reflection entitled, “Transformed by Grace, Transfigured for Love,” on Saturday, September 14, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls. Saint Francis would be delighted with the ways the grace of God transforms our hearts, minds and spirits through everyday life experiences.

Presenter, Jacquelyne Witter, Ed.D., will look at what St. Francis saw as what was his to do as a disciple of Christ; and, discover possibilities of what is ours to do. Come explore God’s amazing grace and what it means to be ‘transfigured for love’ through prayer, presentation, reflection and conversation.

Everyone is welcome! For more information or to pre-register by September 6, contact Joan at (320)632-0693 or email:
jwingert@fslf.org. Cost for the event is $35.

By Admin

by Kathy Whittington, Volunteer Coordinator


Gerry Sinderman was the first lay employee at St. Francis Convent, hired August 21, 1967, in the Dietary Department.


After moving to Alverna Apartments, she decided she wanted to come back and work in the kitchen again. We laughed as we said that the sisters take recycling very seriously; they recycle employees and Christmas cookies!


Yes, the frozen, unbaked cookies are not being wasted! They are being frosted and decorated by Gerry and Laura Diakite for the sisters to enjoy, even if they look like Christmas cookies in June.



By Admin

Photo of JubilariansWe celebrated the 50th Jubilee of Sisters Grace Skwira, Pat Forster and Shirley Mueller, who entered the novitiate at St. Francis Convent on July 31, 1963 and made their final profession of vows in 1970. These sisters represent 150 years of dedicated service to the people of God in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi.  They have served in varied ministries throughout the United States and the world.  A Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated on July 28, at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls.


The 50-year jubilarians include:


Sister Grace Skwira grew up on a farm near Opole. Living the Franciscan values, she has ministered as a nurse and served in Hispanic ministry. She spent years as a missionary and accompanied refugees in a refugee camp. In addition, she has also served her Franciscan Sisters as Community Secretary and Vocation Minister. Presently, Sister Grace works with the Franciscan Sisters in Monterrey, Mexico.

Sister Pat Forster was born in Alexandria. She has ministered in the health care field, both in public health nursing/administration and Hispanic health care.  She has also ministered in parish long range planning, in pastoral ministry has been actively involved with the Latino/Hispanic ministry. In addition, she has served her Franciscan Sisters in Formation, as both director of formation and temporary professed.  Sister Pat is currently working in pastoral ministry, training lay missionaries with the Franciscan Sisters in San Rafael, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

Sister Shirley Mueller was born in Los Angeles, Calif., later moving to Battle Lake, Minn. She has ministered in nursing, chaplaincy, pastoral ministry and massage therapy. She has served her Franciscan Sisters in Vocations and has also ministered as a missionary in Kilomeni, Tanzania. Currently, Sister Shirley works as a clerk and pharmacy technician in Dawson.

By Admin

We invite you to attend the 2013 Green Fair Folk Festival on Wednesday, August 7, from 4-8 p.m., on the west lawn at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls. Now in its seventh year, the festival welcomed over 900 people in 2012.


Lots of family fun, interesting displays, a fiddle festival, URock concert, fantastic music and vendors—all with a green message—are the highlights of this year’s event. Bring along your blankets or folding chairs and enjoy the wide variety of musical entertainment, which also includes The Rick Family, Woodland Strings and Sestri.


Kids can stop by the Teddy Bear Clinic and stuffed animal adoption center; Kids can also be fitted for bike helmets by the Little Falls Police Department; Register for a chance to win a free compost bin; Sign-up for an indoor tour; Ride the horse-drawn wagon and enjoy an outdoor tour of the grounds; Check-out the variety of food vendors and enjoy some of the many tasty treats, including Franciscan peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.


The Green Fair Folk Festival, an evening of universal ecological awareness, is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Anne Heisick at (320)632-0614.


We hope to see you there!

By Admin

The Franciscan Sisters and Little Falls Community High School’s staff and students are working together to grow vegetables. The benefits are more far-reaching and long-lasting than their yield of tomatoes and onions will produce.

The Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) has funded the High School’s Vegetable Garden-to-Cafeteria program.

The grant, for $9,081.22, will cover the salary of an adult supervisor working this summer, according to Supt. Stephen Jones. “In addition, the grant will fund a storage shed at St. Francis Convent campus, purchase a tiller, a string trimmer, and a utility wagon. The school district will fund the salaries of five summer student workers to assist at the nearly two-acre garden site.  A 40-year-old greenhouse at the high school is being replaced through a collaboration of fundraising efforts by the high school agricultural department and the school district."

The goals of the project are to provide students and staff with a healthy and sustainable food source, educate students about the genesis of food, engage students with experiential learning, highlight careers in agronomy and plant production and increase the visibility of students within the community, according to Maxine Strege who helped to write the grant and is a Franciscan Associate.

The organic vegetables, harvested this fall, will be purchased by A’viands Food Service at market value and supplement school meals.

Jones added, “The response for this project within the Little Falls area has been fantastic. People in the school district are quite pleased to see us assume a leadership role in not only teaching young people about healthy eating but actually putting substantial quantities of freshly grown organic vegetables on their school trays.  The opportunity to partner on the project with St. Francis Convent solidifies the district's desire to be viewed as a community asset...a district we hope that Little Falls area residents can be proud of."

Sister Ruth Lentner, who has a horticulture degree from North Dakota State University, manages the Franciscan Sisters’ organic garden and works directly with the high school students. “The project essentially triples our garden area,” she said. “I find working with the students to be refreshing. All of them are enthusiastic about their work.

“Julie Pekula, the student supervisor, and I work together to teach about how to plant and care for what we’ve planted and try to change the kinds and variety of work each day. The students are learning about how and what to add to the soil to keep our gardens organic. Since it is our first year, we are doing a lot of projecting about what to plant and how much of each vegetable to plant,” Sister Ruth added.

High School Vocational Agriculture teacher Doug Ploof said, “The garden project is an opportunity to teach sustainable agriculture to students in horticulture and plant science. We will be using the new greenhouse to teach lessons in garden design, plant culturing, propagation, plant maintenance and organic care of vegetables and fruits for the school garden.”

Ploof added, “Students in the fall will be involved in harvest, storage and clean-up of the garden. Our Family and Consumer Science teachers, Julie Slettom and Becky Smieja, will have their students working with recipes and the produce in their classes.”

Principal Tim Bjorge said, “Agriculture teacher Doug Ploof has built a wonderful relationship with Sister Ruth and the Franciscan Community. We look forward to ‘growing’ this relationship and working side by side with the sisters.”

Strege added, “This is a wonderful opportunity for our Little Falls Community High School students to partner with the community in a project that engages students with experiential learning for living a healthy lifestyle. We are very blessed to have Superintendent Jones and the Franciscan Sisters create this partnership for our students. It will be fun to see it develop and grow.”

PHOTO CAPTION:  Students and their supervisor gather with Sister Ruth Lentner prior to beginning their day of working with the Garden Project at St. Francis Convent campus. Pictured (L to R): Sanoy Stuckey, Julie Pekula--student supervisor, Sister Ruth Lenter, Alex Fellbaum, Vanessa Meschke, Nicole Andres and Wesley La Coursiere.

By Admin

Sister RuthSister Ruth Ann Nistler, 81, died on July 20, 2013, at the Grand Itasca Hospital in Grand Rapids, Minn.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Francis Convent on Wednesday, July 24, at 11 a.m.  Friends may call at St. Francis Convent on Tuesday, July 23, from 4-8:30 p.m., with a Franciscan Prayer Service at 7 p.m., and from 8:30 a.m. until the time of the funeral on July 24. Arrangements are by Emblom Brenny Funeral Service, Little Falls.

Sister Ruth was born on March 9, 1932, in St. Cloud. She was the sixth of eight children born to the late George and Anna (Mahowald) Nistler. She was accepted as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, Minnesota, on July 31, 1951. She made her first profession of vows on August 12, 1953, and final vows on August 12, 1956. She was a Franciscan Sister for 61 years. 

Sister Ruth was a person who loved to share her life and talents with other people. She had a deep love and admiration for the people she ministered to in South America and said that she received more from them than she was able to give to them. She had a great desire to reach the total self-giving, wholeness and holiness to which God called her. When she celebrated her golden jubilee she said, “In a way I feel that I have just begun. I look forward to the coming years as a continuing effort toward the life-long goal of becoming conformed to Christ.”

Sister Ruth received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minn. and a master’s degree in religious education/pastoral ministry from Fordham University, New York. She also studied at the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth; the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, and the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.

Sister Ruth ministered as an elementary teacher, foreign missionary, library assistant, pastoral minister, director of religious education, receptionist, music and liturgy coordinator, pastoral associate and Hispanic minister.  She served in Waite Park, St. Cloud, Osakis, Little Falls and Princeton; Yunguyo, Peru; Maracay, Venezuela; Diboll, Tex.; Huntingdon, Tenn.

Sister Ruth was preceded in death by her siblings: Mary Daigle, Reverend Edward, Andrew and Sister Florence, OSF. Survivors include siblings: Catherine Radermacher, Wadena; Lucille Dockendorf, Hines; Theresa (Dale) Brummer, The Villages, Fla.; sister-in-law, Anna Nistler, Northome; nieces, nephews and her Franciscan Community.

Donations to Franciscan Sisters Ministries preferred.

By Joan

Francis and Followerby Joan Wingert, Secretary to the Associates

Bernard of Quintavalle, a wealthy man of Assisi, was the first follower of St. Francis.

Though an admirer, Bernard wanted to be certain Francis was truly holy and pious. Therefore, he invited Francis to stay the night in his home. Both men pretended to sleep. Francis rose to pray with great fervor, eyes and arms raised to God, simply saying over and over, “My God and my all.”

Satisfied, Bernard announced to Francis, “Everything I own on this earth, I have received from my God and the Lord Jesus Christ—and now I want to give it back again, as it may seem best to you.” Francis replied, “Tomorrow morning we will go to the church nearby and read, in the book of Gospels, what the Lord told his disciples to do.”

Entering the church, they prayed, and then Francis took the Mass book, opened it, and read, ”If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt. 19:21). Opening the book a second time, he read, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24). A third time, and he read that they should take nothing “for their journey” (Mk 6:8). Closing the book, Francis said, “This is our life and rule, and—not only ours—but all those who wish to follow us.” Bernard proceeded directly to the square of the Church of San Giorgio and distributed all his property to the poor.*

Asking for proof of God’s plan has gotten a bad rap ever since Satan tried to tempt Jesus. And yet we have such luminaries as Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Jeremiah, Mary of Nazareth, Nicodemus, and Mary Magdalene actively asking questions when faced with seemingly impossible mystery and promise.

I view such moments not so much a lapse of faith as a “conversation starter,” an invitation to discuss and understand. Would Sarah have known her great joy without her disbelieving laughter? Could Moses and Jeremiah have gotten past their doubts without putting them into words? Would Mary have had the knowledge and strength to carry her and her Child into an uncertain future? Could Nicodemus have understood being born again? And would Mary Magdalene have seen the Risen Lord had not her grinding grief kept her searching?

Bernard’s seeking addressed his questions, but also clarified the path for Francis. Not only did the Gospel book open to the strongest of Jesus’ teachings about poverty and total reliance on God, but God provided him with Bernard, a companion who believed in this way of life as much as he did.

Because Bernard sought answers, he was set free of “stuff,” free to follow God’s call, free to follow the man God placed in his path.

Bernard's feastday is July 2nd. This year,  let July  be a time to ask good questions, and a time to “listen to what the Lord God has to say” (Psalm 85).

*source: “My God and My All!,” Friar Jack Wintz, OFM



By Joan

Mary Jane Flynnby Associate Mary Jane Flynn

Each summer we celebrate independence: July 4th in United States, and August 10th in Ecuador. It offers us an opportunity to consider the concept of freedom.

     “Let freedom ring”--but freedom for what? Freedom is “the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints.”  For many, freedom means being able to do what they want to do without concern how their actions affect others around them. These choices center around “I”* and not God. Such choices will not bring the freedom, joy and happiness that they are so diligently searching for. This kind of joy can only be found by putting God first and “me” second.

      The Pilgrims that came to North America wanted freedom of religion. They wanted God to be first in their lives. They were okay with being “second.”  They willingly went through many hardships in order to follow God’s plan for them. They wanted to be free to worship God as they wanted and not as the English rulers decreed. 

      Saint Francis gave up his worldly possessions and his place in society in order to follow God. He chose to put God first.  He asked God to make him an instrument so that he could help others to know and love our Lord. He put God and others before himself.  We Associates strive to do the same.

      When we pray, “THY WILL BE DONE,” do we really mean it? Are truly we giving God permission, the “freedom,” to do what He wants with us today?  How many times do we pray that prayer and then add, but “I would really like you to…”?Bell

      Complete freedom, joy and happiness come only when we take the restraints off God and give Him total freedom to work miracles in our lives. By doing this we will receive the countless graces he so lovingly desires for us.  

Thank you, Mary Jane, for inviting us to true freedom.


*It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of Christian maturity, because once you know that your “I” is great and one with God, you can ironically be quite content with a small and ordinary “I.” No grandstanding is necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved once and for all and forever. —Richard Rohr, OFM


By Admin

The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls invite the public to attend a Bilingual Liturgy on Friday, July 26, 11 a.m., at Sacred Heart Chapel, St. Francis Convent, Little Falls. This Bilingual Liturgy will be in honor of Father Stanley Rother. The Franciscan Sisters celebrate Bilingual Liturgies four times a year in keeping with their commitment to their Hispanic brothers and sisters. For more information on Mass times or the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, visit their website at www.fslf.org or call (320)632-2981.

By Admin

This July and August St. Francis Music Center is offering URock Summer Camp for middle and high school students. Guitarists, drummers, bassists, vocals, keyboards and other musicians who want to form a band are all invited to attend. You don’t need a lot of experience on your instrument, just some of the basics.

URock starts at 5 p.m. on July 26 at St. Francis Music Center. The instructors will get to know the students and their abilities and talk them through what it takes to be in a band. The next morning the group will be divided up into bands and the fun begins! Each band will pick a name and songs they’d like to play. The rest of the camp is spent learning the music, performance tips, band pictures and getting ready to perform.

URock will meet July 26 from 5-8 p.m., July 27-28 and August 3-4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The times will be flexible depending on what works best for each band. Led by Greg Langlois, the instructors will all be musicians with experience in professional bands. The final concert will be outdoors on August 7 as part of the St. Francis Green Fair Folk Festival. The concert will be free and open to the public.

This year the Music Center will also make up a band of 4th and 5th graders who have experience playing instruments or are vocalists. Financial aid is available for all who need it.

For more information or to sign up, call the Music Center at (320)632-0637, stop in at 116 8th Avenue SE in Little Falls or visit the website at www.sfmusiccenter.org.  St. Francis Music Center is a community school for the arts, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota.

By Admin

The Clothes Review is having a 6-hour Bag Sale on Wednesday, July 17, from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fill brown grocery bags with clothes for just $3 per bag. Bags will be provided. Everyone is welcome!

The Clothes Review is located on St. Francis Campus, 1001 3rd Street SE, Little Falls (look for signs) and is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota.


116 8th Avenue SE
Little Falls, MN 56345
(320) 632-2981 | info@fslf.org

The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota, is a community of Catholic women religious who follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, walking in the footsteps of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. We believe that the living of a poor, simple and prayerful community life is a ministry of presence and witness. Our doors are open to the public to celebrate Mass in Sacred Heart Chapel and to benefit from the St. Francis Music Center and St. Francis Health & Recreation Center.  We welcome those who wish to join us as sisters, associates, volunteers, transfer sisters, friends and donors.

Throughout this web site, we provide links to other web sites, solely for the user's convenience. By providing these links, we assume no responsibility for, or do we necessarily endorse these web sites, their content, or their sponsoring organizations.