Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Year - New Mission Too!


While some states are still enjoying summer, we in Arizona already have students in our Catholic School classrooms and those not in a Catholic School are getting ready for religious education classes that start Sunday, August 17th.

Sr. Joellen has joined me at Our Lady of the Mountains Convent. She is the new Director of Religious Education at St. Andrew's Parish.

She held her first parent meeting on Sunday, August 10 at St. Andrew's Parish.
Saturday, August 11th is her first meeting with all her teachers and classroom helpers.

Saturday Night, we decided to attend Mass at the Mission Church of St. Andrew's Parish located in Whetstone, about 20 minutes from Sierra Vista.
It is a very tiny, tiny church located in the desert.


The driveway to get to the church. Monsoon clouds are building and did it rain as we drove home in darkness with lightning to guide our way.

4 sided cross along side the parking lot. Notice the monsoon clouds that poured rain on us when we left Mass.

 A Very Small Church but Parishioners with a deep faith and welcoming spirit greeted us when we went through the doors.
Jesus and the Twelve Apostles

 The church is named  Good Shepherd and one can see signs of the parish name throughout the beautiful and prayerful church.

Now at All Saints Catholic School, where Sister Carol is the principal, the school bell rang out on Wednesday, August 6th with 101 students - an increase of 21 students!  The goal was to get 100 students for the year.

 A lot of recruitment was done by parents, students and Sister Carol.

Recruiting on a very hot Saturday afternoon with Smokey the Bear to help out.

Fr. Mike, our new pastor, blessed all the classrooms to begin the new school year.

Special blessing for the altar servers who made it all the way with Fr. Mike carrying those heavy candles and the pail of holy water.

A beautiful rainbow after a quick monsoon rain at our school one evening.

A beautiful sunset was enjoyed at our school and parish - Our Lady of the Mountains Church.
The school bell is ringing to begin a full week of school and religious education classes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Friday, June 27th was a very busy day at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish. Fr. Ariel Lustan celebrated his 20th anniversary as a priest and it was his farewell party from the parish and his school-All Saints Catholic. Nine of his years of ordination were spent in his homeland of the Philippines. The rest were spent in the Diocese of Tucson.

The celebration began with Mass. Altar servers, deacons and the Knights of Columbus were ready to begin the big celebration.


Fr. Ariel welcomed the Deacons from our parish and
vicariate who came to the celebration as well  priests from the vicariate.


After the 1st Reading was read the choir sang the response: You Are A Priest Forever-requested by Fr. Ariel.
 Fr. Bill from Tombstone gave the homily, recounting the journey of a seminarian to ordination.

At the offertory procession, the parish staff brought up the gifts. Special items brought up were the building plans for the parish rectory that Fr. Ariel spearheaded; and a certificate stating that the school mortgage 4 years ago was $420,000 and now in the 5th year of a 15 year mortgage is at $20,000!  The parishioners were shocked to hear this and broke into spontaneous applause!

 Fr. Mike, who will be the new pastor at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish, prayed a part in the Eucharistic Prayer.
 Fr. Greg Adolph, pastor at our neighboring parish at St. Andrew's in Sierra Vista, also shared in the Eucharistic Prayer.

The Consecration
 At the end of the Mass, Fr. Ariel thanked God the Father and his family for his vocation to the priesthood. He never thought he would make it this far.


After the Mass, all proceeded to the parish hall for a potluck dinner and short program thanking Fr. A for his four years of service to our parish.

 Deacon Bill, Parish Council President, gave words of thanks to Fr. Ariel.
 Deacon Reynaldo,  who assists with the Hispanic ministry gave thanks for Fr. A's involvement with the Hispanics in our parish.
Sister Carol, as principal, led her students in thanking Fr. A for his involvement with All Saints Catholic School.

 The students sang, "If We Hold On Together" as other students danced out the song.

Sr. Carol and students sang, "Welcome to the Family" that Fr. Ariel had requested the school choir to learn last year. It was a song sung in the Philippines for the Jubilee year of 2000!

Sr. Carol then read, "And on the 8th day God created a school pastor."

The faculty and students presented to Fr. A a book of their pictures and letters of appreciation to him.

 Time for a Group Hug!
We will all miss Fr. A. We pray for him as he goes on to St. Anthony of Padua's Parish and School in Casa Grande. May his gifts as a priest help them to grow in many ways especially in coming closer to Our Lord.

Saturday, June 21, 2014




It is June and it is time to open our Motherhouse to about 55 girls ages 6th grade through college for Camp Franciscan. The Camp allows girls to interact with Sisters. This is especially important because there are fewer opportunities for girls and young women to interact with a Sister, as there are fewer Sisters teaching in our Catholic schools.

Each year, I bring girls to Camp from where ever I am missioned at that time. This year I invited five girls to Camp. Three of them traveled with me from Sierra Vista, Arizona by plane and it was fun! They  were great traveling companions.

Our journey began at the Tucson Airport at 5:00am on Tues., June 17th.  We flew to Denver and then on to Milwaukee where we met up with a former student and parent who moved to Texas and came with me to our last Camp and definitely wanted to go again.

Sister Donalise, from our Motherhouse picked us up and drove us north to Manitowoc to Holy Family Convent, our Motherhouse. Here is what we saw along our 1 1/2 hour journey in the van.

Milwaukee skyline


Green Bay-heading into Packer Country - "YES!"
On I-43 we saw the tallest flag in the United States.

It is taller than the statue of liberty.

The very wide pole was made in Manitowoc.
We made it to the Motherhouse at last. We stopped at the top of the driveway to allow girls their first look at the Motherhouse. The green of Wisconsin was overwhelming to us from Arizona where we haven't had any moisture since September. We are "very brown" in Arizona.

 HEY LOOK!! A 70's radio!

This is what I heard when I showed the girls the bedroom I would be staying in off of the dorm in case they needed anything. This radio is definitely an antique to them.
This is the dorm about 30 of the campers stayed in. It looks so quiet now but not for long. After unpacking, I gave them a tour of our Motherhouse which they have heard so much about.



We started by going to the front of the Motherhouse, right in front of the large bronze statue of St. Francis of Assisi and the wolf. We are Franciscan Sisters and you know that before you even enter the front door of our home.
The Franciscan Tau Cross forms the design for the flowerbed.



I remember as a young girl being at the bottom of these steps and walking all the way up to ring the doorbell by the big brown wooden door so we could visit with my cousin, Sister Judy Simons.
The girls enjoyed all the beautiful flowers you can find on our grounds. Each flower bed is taken care of by some Sister.


The back of our Motherhouse-it is 4 stories tall and it also has a basement and a sub-basement.  A very large building and easy to get lost in when you are new. And, yes, the girls did get lost a couple times.

The "Wailing Wall!"  I did a presentation about our Motherhouse to the 6th and 7th graders at All Saints Catholic School in Sierra Vista, AZ, where I am the principal. The girls wanted the experience of standing here and to shed a few tears for their families. The "Wailing Wall" received its name  years ago when we had a high school for girls. Those first days away from home, they often were homesick at first and came here to be by themselves to think of their families and I am sure shed a few homesick tears.
Admiring the beautiful vegetable garden. The fence is up to keep the bunnies out.

They gazed upon Silver Lake which borders our property. A great place to come and pray.

Sacred Heart Grotto

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, where we came each night with the campers to pray night prayer by candlelight. A beautiful way to end the day.
We went inside for a quick tour before dinner. They saw our Craft Room where they saw the Green Bay Packer items our Sisters made and are for sale. Place your order now before Packer season begins!! :):):)

After dinner we joined the high school and college campers who came a day early to take part in Leadership Days so they could lead the group of younger campers assigned to them.

 Minute to Win It
This was the game of the night that brought lots of laughter to all.
Nose Dive-for this game, the girls could not use their hands.  They had to put vaseline on their nose and then put a cotton ball to their nose, run to the next desk and shake off the cotton ball. The one who got the most cotton balls to the other desk in one minute was the winner. Sometimes the girls got too much Vaseline on their nose and the whole plate stuck to their nose!!!
At the end of the games we all processed outside for night prayer by Our Lady's grotto.

Wednesday, June 18th, we had the morning to sightsee since the leaders were still in training. We had to report at 12:30pm.  The girls had asked, "Are we going to have time to see Wisconsin?"  So off we went. My sister-in-law, Jodi, came with her car to help take some of the girls.
First stop, we went to Manitowoc harbor to tour the World War II submarine. Before we crossed the bridge to tour the sub the girls were shocked to see the bridge lifting up.
A boat was moving underneath the bridge-all traffic is stopped on both sides. You would never see something like this in the deserts of Arizona!
During World War II, Manitowoc was one of the areas that won the contract to make submarines. My father was part of this work force. He tried to sign up for the Army during the War but was declined because he had scarlet fever and lost hearing in his right ear. So he instead, chose to work building the subs while still keeping the Seidl farm going in Luxemburg.
 Then it was off to the Dairy to buy some good Wisconsin cheese and to eat some delicious ice cream, made in Wisconsin.

Along the way to the dairy we saw deer with very furry antlers. I thought it was a reindeer farm but another Sister told me it was an elk farm. See the beautiful green field. I forgot how green Wisconsin looks in the summer time.


 Look at all the varieties of cheese-made in Wisconsin!

We saw butter being made.

Time to head back to the Motherhouse to begin Camp! The girls were excited. The girls saw "Icebreaker" on the schedule and kept asking, "What is this?" They were soon to find out as they met girls from Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Mississippi, Nebraska and a couple other states.

Crashing in the dorm after their first full day at the Motherhouse.

Thursday, June 19th
One of the sessions they went to was "Stitchery Class"

Look Mom! I know how to use a needle and thread.
 Making a Memory Box of their days at Camp was another session.
The campers also made bags to put their mementos in from Camp and to use once they leave here. The Sisters helped to make them with the glue gun.
Time to get some exercise in.
Sr. Elaine and I taught the girls with the use of a DVD, a variety of international dances.
Their favorites were the Virginia Reel from the U.S.A and a German hand-clapping dance.
Here are the records with the dances on we played on the record player when I was at the Motherhouse first learning them.
 I am sure they are older than that "70's Radio!"
 I had a break so I took advantage of the time to go and see our new Franciscan Center of Music located right next to our college-Silver Lake. I was very impressed!

One of the campers during her break, took time to buy some finger puppets from our craft room made by our Sisters.

The campers had a chance to sign up to be in a skit or  the choir. On Thursday night in our gym, the Sisters in the area, were invited to come and see this performance.


We have Sisters from other countries that live at the Motherhouse and attend our college.

They performed some of the dances from their country.


After the performance the campers and audience were treated to ice cream sundaes.


The sundaes hit the spot!

Friday, June 20th

Each day the campers met in our St. Francis Chapel for morning and evening prayer and Mass.

We also took time to visit our "Penpal Sister". I lived with Sr. George Ann in Yuma, AZ. We have kept in contact ever since. My campers, and their teacher, who also came to Camp , wanted to be sure to see Sister. Sr. George Ann, who will turn 97 in August, wins the "PenPal Award". She always answered their letters and often times writing a separate letter for each student. Like she told another Sister who told her to write just one letter to the class, "No, they each write individually to me so I write back to each person." Lots of sharing has gone on in these last two years. She has prayed for many requests from them and they have sent her different gifts too. When she wrote and told how cold this last Wisconsin winter was the class sent her a blanket to keep warm. When they went on retreat at San Xavier Mission in Tucson they each sent her a postcard from there which she had visited numerous times when she was in Yuma.
It is time to say good-bye.

 A closing picture of all of us as Camp came to an end. Many friendships were made and great memories! 
The most asked question was, "Are you coming back to Camp next year? I am! :):):)"