Reflections from a Franciscan Sister






On posture during liturgy:


I’d appreciate your feedback on Our Franciscan Fiat.



Stairs for Lent?

Last evening, I went to bed at 6:45, anticipating working a night shift. *One of our aides had called earlier in the day, home with sick children. *By early evening, neither she nor I had been able to find another staff person to fill in.

The decision was made that, unless we heard anything, I would just plan on working ‘nights’; I did not have a heavy work schedule on the morrow and could easily catch up on sleep. *Plus, knowing in advance, I’d have a chance for a “long [spring] nap” before hand.

Although I went to bed, I had a tough time getting to sleep. *What sleep I did get was fitful. *Then, at 9:15 p.m., I heard the phone rang. *One of the night staff had got his message and had called that he would come in to work; I would not need to fill in after all. *Read more


A Heart for Holy Week

dscf0019Holy Week has always been special to me. Back home, growing up, it was made special with beautiful customs, from attending Holy Thursday Mass to dyeing eggs on Holy Saturday afternoon. (I am not trying to put these on the same plane.)

Now, since I’ve come to St. Anne’s, this annual commemoration has only grown in significance for me. I’ve even developed traditions of my own, including making hot cross buns, ironing curtains for the Altar of Repose, and several others.

Many of these are linked to my assignment as sacristan here, which I was asked to take up several years back when our Sister Annella retired to our provincial house.

A week before Palm Sunday, the famous brown suitcase comes down from the cupboard above a closet in the sacristy. It contains cloth covers for the crosses and other items used at this time of the liturgical year. It will sit on a chair in our conference room until Easter.

Along with the special baking, ironing, and liturgical more


Barely Scratching the*Surface


We just finished the hustle and bustle of Holy Week!

I really love these beautiful commemorations, but as a sacristan who has to coordinate things, I am always relieved Easter Sunday morning when it’s all behind me for another year.

This time of “the last three days of Holy Week” is such a special one. *Yesterday, as this time of silence and reflection was nearing its end, a realization settled upon me:

In this period, I had barely scratched the surface. *I had tried to reflect upon all that Jesus did for us, but the mystery is so deep, so profound. *In a year’s time, we hardly even get started in grasping it.

Even a lifetime of Holy Weeks won’t be enough.

Maybe each year, as we prepare throughout Lent and then delve deeply into the mystery during the Triduum, we can at least increase our love and appreciation for Christ’s passion.

Furthermore, I hope, that all my busyness during Holy Week doesn’t hinder my ability to go deeply into this mystery. *I hope I don’t let these precious days pass by without growing in my appreciation for this mystery. *I want to delve as deeply as possible into it, not hindering or ignoring the movement of God’s grace within me. Now, may the same be the same during the 50 days of Easter.

I pray that all of you who read this have a very blessed Easter season, that you may be enriched as you delve now into the mystery of Christ’s resurrection.

Would you please pray for me as well?

Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF


An Easter Rosary?

So, during Lent we focus on the Sorrowful Mysteries when praying the rosary, but what about during the Easter season?

While the traditional answer would probably be: “the Glorious, of course,” I take a different route.

Although it’s unconventional, I often use different “mysteries” altogether.

Rather than jumping right into the Ascension, Pentecost, and Our Lady’s Assumption and Coronation, I like to linger a bit on the resurrection during these forty days.

What I like to do is take a different resurrection appearance of Our Lord for each of the five decades of the Rosary.

These Easter gospels are so beautiful and fruitful for meditation. *I’ll list them here in case you’d like to use them for your prayer as well.

Here is a list of resurrection appearance scriptures which you may find helpful.

The Women Approach the Tomb*(Matt 28:1;Mk 16:1;*Jn 20:1).
The Women Meet an Angel
(Mk 16:5*Lk 24:4;Mt 28:5).
Mary of Magdala Meets Jesus
(Jn 20:16)
The Women Meet Jesus*(Matt 28:9-10)
Appearance on the Road to Emmaus*(Lk 24:13-30)
Jesus appears to Disciples gathered (Luke 24:35-48)
Thomas*(John 21:24)
Appearance by the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias)*(John 21:1)
I find this is a beautiful way of meeting our Risen Lord with Mary.


[Skeleton Man or “Faithful” Servant


If you’ve ever traveled in Europe, you may have noticed, as I did, the visibility and plenitude of bodies and crypts in the churches there.

Actually, last spring when we were visiting Germany for our Congregation’s anniversary celebration, a Church we frequented had a skeleton preserved up front. It was on the left-hand side as we faced the altar. This “Studientkirche” was actually the site of the special anniversary Mass.

To specify where, within the church, we were to be seated for the special day, we teasingly said “toward the front, by ‘Skeleton Man.” This nickname we had given to the remains held there for veneration. Little did I know that this was actually the Franciscan, Saint Fidelis!

Once I realized this, I dropped the nickname from my speech – it did not seem appropriate to refer to a canonized saint in such terms.

Now, as we mark his feast day (April 24), I am reminded of this, and think, too, of our Sr. Fidelis who would be celebrating her name day were she still living. The name they share fittingly means “faithful.”


From Our Franciscan Fiat
This morning’s Communion antiphon*contained a message which, to me, is crucial. *Taken from Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:20, it reminds us of His promise to be “with [us] always, even to the end of the age.”

In the characteristic Easter fashion, it closes with an “alleluia.”

When Easter comes, we tend to be a bit out of practice regarding the “A-word,” having abstained from it for 40 days. *When we pray the introductory part*of*our evening office, which contains an Alleluia, there is occasionally a bit of a pause before we remember that we are not in Lent anymore; we should be saying “alleluia” again!

As a follow up on today’s consoling communion verse, the “alleluia” is very appropriate. It is fitting that Jesus’ promise to be with us be followed by this ancient ejaculation which means “God be praised.” * His presence, indeed, is a great gift which merits our praise.

I might take Christ’s*words of promised presence as an answer to prayer. *To me, it is so important that Christ be with me each day. *As I face challenging situations of varying types, I turn to Him, seeking His presence, guidance, and support.

Recently, in fact, I’ve found myself praying for His presence, feeling that this is really all I need. *As I do so, however, I realize that He is already with me.


Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF



“Drag Your Fingers.”

I still remember my first and only organ lesson. It was given by Sister Dianna, who herself had been playing organ since her early childhood.

Several years back, I had asked her to give me a little instruction so as to transfer what I knew on the piano and use the organ as well.

We went up to the large, beautiful sounding organ in our chapel and she instructed me on organ technique, telling me to drag my fingers. With her helpful instruction, I envisioned having weights attached to each of these small extremities.

I also learned a little about the manuals on the decks there.

I am still certainly not an expert on the use of this beautiful instrument, but her instructions were very helpful.

Picture1Sister Dianna certainly helped countless others during her many years of service. Until the last couple of years, she was still serving at the Community Hospital in Oakes, ND.

Another special connection I have with Sister Dianna, of whose death I just learned, is that her name day is celebrated the day before my birthday.

May she now “make music to your Name, most high” in the courts of heaven.

As we mark the Day of Prayer for Vocations this Good Shepherd Sunday, may she also join us in interceding for more vocations to our Community.


Two Simple Words
by Our Franciscan Fiat
thankyouLast evening, I worked our reception desk at St. Anne's until ten. About a quarter-to, one of the night aides came in, fifteen minutes early for his shift.

I hadn't had much (if any) interaction with him since this past weekend. He had been sick and unable to come to work. No one else was available so I had worked for him Saturday night.

As is customary, I gave a little report of pertinent information for the next shift. In the course of our little conversation, he said "Thank you for working for me the other night."

Simple as it may be, this really meant a lot to me. It was nice to have this acknowledgement.

I am happy to fill in where needed, but I appreciated his kind expression of gratitude.

I reflected a bit upon this; how important gratitude is, how much these two simple words, thank you, can mean. They are so important.

I think about the preface dialog before the Eucharistic prayer at Mass: "Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God...It is right and just"

How much God has done for us; (Immeasurably more than me working one trivial little night shift)! It is only right, and just, that we should say our thank you to Him.

I think of all the people (including myself) who neglect to say thank you to God, to express our gratitude for all His wonderful gifts.

The way my co-worker's words so touched my heart last night served as a reminder to me of how I should express my gratitude to God each day.

It is wonderful that we have the opportunity for daily Mass, the Eucharist, which is the great "thanksgiving."

Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF


Do you have 'knots' in your spiritual/personal life? :



*just got back early this morning from a week's home visit. It was a very nice time with my parents during which I also got to visit with some other family and friends. The trip wouldn't be complete without some Scrabble-playing with my dad, who has the tendency of beating me (about 68% of the time)...


I find myself returning again to the promise of Jesus at the end of Matthew's gospel: "I am*with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We heard these touching words more​​​​​​​

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