The Story of our Banner from Rochester.

      When you open to our Blog banner you notice something different. You no longer see the Bloomington Monastery in the seasonal photo with our St. Clare there to greet you. If you haven’t heard yet we have moved. Yes, we are south of the Cities in Rochester, MN, motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Rochester and the famed Mayo Clinic. We moved February 7th, a date none of us will forget. It was in the depths of white winter and bitter cold. I wanted to work on our Blog banner right away but where could I find seasonal photos in this colorless environment. Then I heard about Sr. Elizabeth Gillis who lives here with us and for years has photographed the seasonal landscapes around the Motherhouse. Sr. Elizabeth loaned us her “thumb drive” where among her many beautiful photos we found exactly what we wanted. Kim, here at the Motherhouse and her bright young son, Nick and Jonya, my new friend at the Rochester public library helped get the photos on to the web.  The next quest was where do we find an image of St. Clare.  After canvasing the Motherhouse for inages of St. Clare I remembered the statue of Clare that was carved for Mayo Clinic, St. Mary’s Campus, about twelve years ago. Ready to rush right over to St. Mary’s and photograph the carving, I was alerted to the fact that the statue was in storage due to ongoing building projects at St. Marys.   Then in a happy turn, Wes directed me to Sr. Lauren Weinandt, longtime archivist at St. Mary’s.  In the archives of the famous hospital was the history of the making of the this amazing statue of St. Clare with photographs of the day on which Clare’s image was blessed.                                                                   

This next part of the story is personal to me.  I remembered the visit about 13 years ago of a young woman from St. Paul, MN, who was commissioned to carve a statue of St. Clare for St. Mary’s Peace Garden.  We met in one of the parlors in our monastery in Bloomington.  One of her questions was about symbols appropriate to St. Clare.  I suggested that Clare was known for washing the feet of her Sisters when they returned from their ministry outside the monastery.  What I remember most clearly of the encounter is that I took the young woman to our sacristy and showed her the bowls and pitchers crafted by the fine potter, Warren McKensie, of Stillwater, MN, the pottery which we used at the liturgy of the foot washing every Holy Thursday. I think that I showed her the towels also.  When I saw the archival photos this all came back to me.  The name of the sculptress is Caprice Kueffner Glaser.  And here is the Clare she gave us.


Sister Caroline Berres took these beautiful photos shortly after Clare was placed in the Peace Garden.



After Eucharist the Sending Forth



                        Sunday at the Church of the Assumption 

Doctor Miguel Fiol, a professor of Neurological science at the University of Minnesota, an immigrant from Puerto Rico, and Doctor Betsy Murray, a professor of child psychology also at the University of Minnesota, met with parents of small children, fielding questions about these very dangerous times for immigrant families and the repercussions for their children. I was there as a quest observer.

     In a near-by gym the children were guided by professionals to express their feelings of fear and anger through various forms of art. These children know about “Trump” and he enters into their games, their fright-filled games.
     In the session for adults, one of the questions was, “How do I comfort my daughter when she comes home from school and tells me that an old woman, an Anglo, called her ‘dirty’ and told her to go back to Mexico.”
     Another mother asked: “How can I assure my child that we will be always there for him?” The professors emphasized how important it was to provide an atmosphere at home where the children could freely express their fears and know that what they were afraid of, namely that they would come home from school and their parents would not be there, is a real fear. At the same time they must know that their parents love them dearly and are working with good people all over the United States to change the behavior of ICE, and la Migra.

New Home for the Minneapolis Poor Clares


The Motherhouse at Assisi Heights

The Motherhouse at Assisi Height


Entrance to Assisi Heights, Home of the Rochester Franciscans

Entrance to Assisi Heights, Home of the Rochester Franciscans

Dear Friends and family,

In 1953 a small group of Poor Clare Sisters came down from Sauk Rapids MN to the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis to found a Franciscan Poor Clare Monastery here in Bloomington, south Minneapolis. Land was donated by the St. Martin family, a portion from their farm. Through the funding and help of the families and friends of the Sisters work began on the building and landscaping, including a two acre Pine forest on the almost 5 acre plot of land.

The monastery evolved in tandem with the archdiocese and along with the emerging cultural changes in our Country after World War II. The Second Vatican Council dramatically affected both our Church and our World including our Monastery. The Monastery was on path to becoming a house of prayer for all God’s people.

Now through prayer and discernment we are being asked to pass on this beloved home loaned to us for some sixty years. Due to the aging of our Sisters and the lack of new vocations to our form of life, we are no longer able to care for this beautiful place of peace and devotion and give the Sisters the care they need.

Our prayer is one of great gratitude for our time among you with a hope that the use of our property might continue to serve God’s people in new and wonderful ways. We will never forget you and ask for your remembrance of us in prayer.

Your Poor Clare Sisters

Your Clare Sisters will be living on the third floor in a wing of this beautiful building which we call “our Little Portion.”

A link to information about our new home at Assisi Heights in Rochester, MN




Pope Francis and President Barack Obama smile as they exchange gifts, at the Vatican Thursday, March 27, 2014. President Barack Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican Thursday with the pontiff he considers a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality. Their historic first meeting comes as Obama's administration and the church remain deeply split on issues of abortion and contraception. (AP Photo/Gabriel Bouys, Pool)

Pope Francis and President Barack Obama smile as they exchange gifts, at the Vatican Thursday, March 27, 2014. President Barack Obama called himself a “great admirer” of Pope Francis whom he considers a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality, immigration and so many more global concerns essential for the well being of God’s people.  Here is a salute to one of the finest American presidents ever elected by the people to serve this United States of America.  AD Multos Annos!

Looking back on these last few years of the ministry of Pope Francis to the Church and the World we give thanks for his example of universal and all inclusive ministry of mercy, kindness and largeness of spirit, never narrow minded, partial or bigoted.  May we walk with these two great men into the future in solidarity with all God’s people especially with those most in need.

Retreat or Siempre Adelante

Our retreat with Fr. Mike and Pope Francis.  Yes, it was that week, time out of time, the most memorable retreat of a lifetime.  Everyone was watching the Pope so no need to write how wonderful the message, so wise and merciful, Pope Francis moving seamlessly from deep prayer to joyful communion with God’s people.   DSCN1198

front row: Sr. Caroline, Fr. Mike Crosby Sr. Anne

second row: Sr. Gabriel, Sr. Lucie, Sr. Kate, Sr. Francis, Sr. Helen