Sr. Mary Frances Reis

Sr. Mary Frances

Sr. Mary Frances

Greetings! I am a native of St. Paul and one of six children. I was raised hearing my mother’s stories about boarding for twelve years at Convent of the Visitation School in the same city. When I was a sophomore at St. Catherine’s College, I discerned that I was being called to live a life of intimacy with God in the midst of this beloved community of sisters who had served as “family” to my mother.

I went on to earn my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, (St. Kate’s) a certificate in Montessori Education (Los Angeles Montessori Training Center), a master’s degree in Administration (St. Thomas University) and a master’s degree in Religious Studies (St. John’s University).

I chose Visitation primarily because of the HUMAN qualities I found in the sisters, both through my mom’s boarding stories—she went to Vis for 12 years as a boarder—and through my own experience of their gentle, human, loving presence. I was attracted to the “down to earth” spirituality that allows one to “Be oneself and be that well.” They were always available to me.

I taught in grades Montessori through 12 at Visitation in Mendota Heights, did extensive work in liturgy (one of the loves of my life), founded the campus ministry program and chaired the religion department. I am grateful for the small role I played in the formation of young people.

Through the years, unknown to me at the time, I was being prepared for the Visitation Monastery of Minneapolis. This was powerfully revealed to me one day as I drank from the cup at Eucharist. “I have prepared a contemplative heart in you; now take it to the poor,” a voice seemed to say.

I am a founding member of this monastery and have been here since the beginning (1989). Sharing life and love in this urban community suits me very well, and I have found several niches in which to use my gifts—to share and to receive love from the people who are our neighbors.

Among my heroes are these greats: Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and Sister Mary Regina McCabe, my high school religion teacher.

There is a saying that there is not PEACE without JUSTICE.  We/I continue in small ways to put this maxim into action through prayer, presence and advocacy.  May Jesus live in those we accompany and who accompany us.