Garden or Bust: Visitation Community in Action

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Join us in the garden!

by Melissa Borgmann-KiemdeVisitation Companion

On any given Tuesday night this July at the Fremont House, you might hear the splash of water from the garden hose over the tomatoes, beans, and rhubarb; or note the quiet work of fingers digging into the soil to release some pesky weeds from around the cabbage. Perhaps the sound of giggling catches your ear as volunteers delight in the petunia and zinnias’ border growth? It’s summer time at the monastery, and life is in full bloom in the gardens at the corner of 16th and Fremont Avenue North.

Heading up this summer’s gardening ministry with great enthusiasm is Sr. Katherine Mullin.

“Here you have the same old flowers, but the bouquet is new simply because I have arranged it differently.” -St. Francis de Sales in Introduction to the Devout Life

Perusing the Visitation Monastery’s facebook page, you’ll find words and images from Sr. Katherine, or “SK2“, as she signs her posts,  that highlight her time in this Tuesday- night-summertime ministry with fellow northsiders and Companions.

Gardening Vis Companions: Fabio and Sonja

Gardening Vis Companions: Fabio and Sonja

Sr. Katherine reflects on the service of northside Vis Companions Sonja and Fabio Anifrani, describing their work waking up the shade garden,  pruning old branches, and making way for summer growth. Sr. Katherine states:

“[Fabio and Sonja] revived the spirit of the Sisters as they revived these plants after the long winter.”

To join in this gardening ministry or learn more about the Sisters’ outdoor engagements this season, follow their events here or on facebook.

Stay tuned for more on summer in the city with the Sisters!

Engage with Us: Summer Volunteer Opportunities

Service Immersion: Welcome to the Class of 2013 Visitation School Seniors!

Service Immersion: Welcome to the Class of 2013 Visitation School Seniors!

Come and pray with us! Come and serve!
Come and join us!

As we welcome the Visitation School students – here for their Senior Apostolic Service experience and urban plunge – and with Memorial Day rapidly approaching,  we know summer is right around the corner! The Visitation Sisters of Minneapolis would like to invite you to prayerfully consider ways that you might engage with us these warm weather summer months.

ONGOING OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Join the Sisters for Prayer and/or Masses: The Sisters pray four times a day at the monastery; Centering Prayer is every Tuesday morning at 8am at St. Jane House. Call ahead if possible. Contact: Sr. Mary Frances Reis: maryfranreis@aol.com, 612.521.6113.
  • First Friday Adoration and Mass:    10:30 a.m. the first Friday of each of each month. Call ahead if possible.
  • Cursillo Men Prayer Time: 7:00 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month: Time of prayer and fellowship. Call ahead if possible.
  • Code Red: Join with the mother’s of From Death to Life and others (MAD Dads) to pray for peace and be a silent witness: Second Saturday of each month. Prayer 1⁄2 hour, stand near Broadway 1 hr. Contact: Sr. Mary Margaret.
  • Movies with Jane: Join with others at St. Jane House to watch a selected movie and then discuss. See the St. Jane House Facebook Events page  for more information or contact Brian Mogren at:
  • Books with Jane: Join with others at St. Jane House to discuss a selected book. See St. Jane House Facebook Events page for more information or contact Brian Mogren.
  • Mentor a Neighborhood Individual or Family: Establish an ongoing relationship with a neighborhood individual or family. Examples: Teach how to clean house gutters, make small repairs; Teach how to budget or make meals from scratch; tutoring, etc.    Contact: Sr. Suzanne.
  • Sisters Garden: Help plant and weed the gardens at Fremont House. Contact: Sr. Suzanne.
  • Door Ministry: Greet visitors to the monastery; Hand out tokens or cub cards; Pray with visitors; Training provided. Contact: Sr. Suzanne.
  • Library Assistant: Help with dewy decimal labels; Record new books on spreadsheet; Help shelve returned books/dvds/cds/vhs. Contact: Sr. Mary Virginia.
  • Family River Cook outs: Invite a neighborhood family to join you at a cook out down by the river. Purchase and make food; Plan some games. Contact: Sr. Suzanne.

MAY-JUNE-JULY-AUGUST EVENTS

The sisters have a whole list of events that require volunteers this summer. Please see our calendar as we update it. Here’s a sampling of upcoming activities:

  • Friday, May 24, 1pm: Women’s Retreat Set Up Contact Sr. Suzanne.
  • Saturday, June 8, Neighborhood Mothers March for Peace Contact: Sr. Mary Margaret
  • Sunday, June 9, St. Jane House 5th Anniversary Party Contact: Sr. Karen Mohan
  • June 15-21,  Camp de Sales Contact Sr. Karen Mohan
  • June 16 and 29: Provide rides for Youth in Theology and Ministry to St. John’s University
    Contact: Sr. Katherine Mullin
  • Heart to Heart Ministry: Visitation Co-founders Sts Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal

    Heart to Heart Ministry: Visitation Co-founders Sts Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal

    June (date to be determined) Catholic Youth Camp Send-off Contact: Sr. Mary Frances

  • June (date to be determined): Back to Summer Party! Contact: Sr. Mary Frances
  • Water Park Chaperone Contact Sr. Karen Mohan
  • August (2nd week) Neighborhood Night of Peace Contact: Sr. Mary Frances
  • August (date to be determined): Valley Fair Family Fun Day Contact: Sr. Mary Frances
  • August (date to be determined): Back to School Party! Contact: Sr. Mary Frances

“An action of small value performed with much love of God is far more excellent than one of a higher virtue, done with less love of God.” – St. Francis de Sales

You are Invited: The 5 Year Anniversary Party for St. Jane House!

St. Jane House Anniversary Event ImageYou are invited to at this open house and garden party celebrating 5 years of the St. Jane House!

5 Year Anniversary Party
Sunday, June 9, 2013
1-4pm
1403 Emerson Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55411

At 2pm, there will be a brief program which will include the unveiling of an new painting of St. Jane de Chantal by Brother Mickey McGrath commissioned for the occasion. Whether you are a regular or a new visitor to the house, we’d love to have you join us!

St. Jane House is a ministry of the Visitation Sisters of Minneapolis and their companion Brian Mogren, located at 1403 Emerson Ave. N.

To RSVP for this event, please visit the St. Jane House facebook page.

For more about the St. Jane House, visit: www.bewhoyouare.info

Building Bridges from Suburb to City

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From L to R: Julie Fitzgerald, the organizer, embracing Sr. Karen; Father Tim Wozniak, pastor of St. Thomas Becket parish; Sr. Mary Frances, and one of our dear neighbors

by Sr. Mary Frances Reis, VHM

Here are a few photos from our absolutely graced time with the Families of St. Thomas Becket parish family in Eagan and our North Minneapolis  families. They arrived Sunday, March 10, 2013,  with a U-Haul truck filled with 75 family Easter baskets for our families.  Some baskets were delivered by Vis Companions, our relatives  and our neighbors to homes in the community; some to Turning Point….  Some were delivered to Girard House where families from both communities shared in a prayer service that included breaking of bread, Word  and fellowship.  The From Death to Life Mothers hosted our ‘party’ at Girard.

All in all it was a wonderful experience of bridging and bonding families from near and far. The pictures were taken, first, at St.Thomas Becket Church–with students shown here loading the U-Haul…..The baskets were unloaded at the monastery by teens from the neighborhood and the St.Thomas Becket folks.  The second picture is of Julie Fitzgerald, the organizer, and Father Tim Wozniak, pastor of their parish.  This project is a 15-20 year tradition at St. Thomas Becket and for our neighbors.

LIVE + JESUS!

At St. Thomas Becket: Loading the U-Haul

At St. Thomas Becket: Loading the U-Haul

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Unloading at the Monastery

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So many helpers!

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The Easter Bunny in a U-Haul?

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More basekts!

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Abundance!

Next “Books with Jane:” “The Little Monk” by Harry Farra, 4/25/13

An Invitation from Kathryn Kaatz, Coordinator of “Books with Jane” Series:

Kathryn Kaatz, Series Coordinator for "Books with Jane"We are excited to announce our next selection for the ‘“Books with Jane” series at our Urban Spirituality Center  in north Minneapolis.  Join us Thursday, April 25, 2013, from 6-8pm at the St. Jane House for a discussion of The Little Monk by Harry Farra. (Doors open at 6pm for refreshments and book discussion starts at 6:30pm.)

More on “The Little Monk” by Harry Farra

“Can we read something more…relaxed — but has a deep meaning that can touch the core of our soul?” asked Books-with-Jane-participant TuAhn Holm. Following this query, Ms. Holm provided us with the following information on The Little Monk, that inspires our selection of the text for the next book in this series:

The Little Monk by Harry Farra offers:
-Gentle lessons for life
-Wisdom for everyday decisions
-Stories for spiritual reflection

“The Bishop came to town one day and called the entire village to worship. The Bishop had many gifts, but non so compelling as his wisdom in the work of prayer. ‘It is time again to speak to the world,’ the Bishop announced with an ancient voice in the great cathedral.  But he abruptly stopped in midspeech as though held by an invisible power.  After a pause that seemed to last forever, he suddenly stood up from his two-hundred-year-old chair in the cathedral and pointed a patriarchal finger at a short, squat, barefooted monk who was all but invisible in the large congregation. ‘You shall be the monk of prayer,’ he declared with all the decisiveness his office and position would bear.”

And so, a humble and self-effacing little monk becomes the hero of this gentle tale, the tale of a man after God’s own heart that will put us in touch with the holy monk that lives in all of us.

Harry Farra holds a Ph.D in Rhetoric from Pennsylvania State University.  He has taught in the communications Department of Geneva College for thirty years and currently heads the Speech/Visual Communications Department.  Dr. Farra is author of “The Sermon Doctor” (Baker Book House, 1989)

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Click to order a copy of The Little Monk.

“Books with Jane:” Sparknotes on “The Screwtape Letters”

Anna Dourgarian, 2012 -2013 VIP

Anna Dourgarian, 2012 -2013 VIP

by Guest Blogger, Anna Dourgarian, Visitation Intern Volunteer

Next Thursday, January 31, at 7pm, we host another session of “Books with Jane” featuring C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters at St. Jane House. This event is open to the public. Doors open at 6:30pm!

For those of you who will not have time to read The Screwtape Letters before then, I’ve written up an abridged version with a chapter-by-chapter summary. I hope that reading it will encourage you to come and possibly to even read the book!

Briefly, The Screwtape Letters is a devil’s advice to his nephew on how to tempt to a human. It is C. S. Lewis’s satirical advice on how not to get to Heaven. You may recognize C. S. Lewis from his brilliant work on Chronicles of Narnia. Find a pdf file below to download for more information!

Thank you, and I hope to see you at 7 PM on Thursday, January 31, at St. Jane House!

Screwtape Letter Notes by Anna Dourgarian

St. Jane House
1403 Emerson Avenue north


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What is our baptismal call? Reflections and Invitations

Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ

Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

Priest! Prophet! King!

Can you hear these sacred words spoken by the priest as he anoints a babe in baptism? The child writhes as water is poured, oil is placed, and a candle is lit. We are all witness to this ritual as we proclaim: “You are a child of God. We call you by name. You are beloved.”

But holy hannah! What does it mean to be a “priest, prophet and king”? I giggle to myself thinking of the response to this question for a three month old. Every infant is a “ruler” of sorts in his or her new home, right?  But I gasp a bit contemplating what these words of anointing mean when say, you turn 18 or 25 or 40. Priest? Prophet? King? *gulp*

How do we want to honor our baptismal calls? What do they even sound like as we grow, and perhaps feel even further removed from our small, wriggling, wet, baptized-baby selves? Who are we in this church? How are we really called to live? What name has God given us this day? What do our prophetic, kingly, priestly actions look like in this present context?

I can hear Fr. O’Connell’s translation of these three words: “Priest, or model of love for the people. Prophet, or a speaker of truth and justice. King, or humble, servant leader. ” Okay. But what does it mean to live into these words, or up to their fulfillment? This is the rub for me as a Christian and Catholic.

This Sunday, as we celebrate Christ’s baptism, we are reminded of our own baptisms and invited to reflect on our calls to live and love and be on this earth. How do we want to honor our baptismal calls? What do they even sound like as we grow, and perhaps feel even further removed from our small, wriggling, wet, baptized-baby selves? Who are we in this church? How are we really called to live? What name has God given us this day? What do our prophetic, kingly, priestly actions look like in this present context?

HELP!

On Monday, January 28, 2013, Sr. Katherine Mullin, Vis alumna Meagan McLaughlin and I start our spring semester offering of the “Following the Spirit: Leading a Discerning Life” series at St. Jane House. In this discernment course, we create the opportunity for women and men of all ages and walks of life to reflect on how they are called by God — and we offer space to unpack our baptismal blessings within the context of a small group of fellow discerners.

Does this discernment opportunity speak to you this weekend of baptismal celebration and reflection? Perhaps you have a friend really struggling with their next best step? We invite you to join us – literally, by signing up — and more figuratively,  by holding our cohort in prayer as we journey together  over the next five months.

Will you join us in this process?

Baptismal Blessings! Live + Jesus!

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For more information on the Following the Spirit discernment series, click here.

Join us for “Miss Representation” – Tuesday, November 13, 6pm at St. Jane House

Kelly Schumacher Fuller

Kelly Schumacher Fuller

From Kelly Schumacher Fuller, “Movies with Jane” Series Coordinator

You’re invited to St. Jane House on Tuesday, November 13th for a screening of “Miss Representation,” a documentary which explores how the media and advertising grossly distorts who girls and women are, their sense of themselves, mens’ perceptions of who they are, and ultimately contributes to the under-representation of women in leadership roles in our country and world.

This is the next in our series, “Movies with Jane” featuring thought provoking films that inspire and/or challenge us to become better people!

MOVIES WITH JANE
6:00pm – Doors open to St. Jane House, 1403 Emerson Ave N

6:30pm – Film begins, followed by discussion

Limited to 20 people.
RSVP at the St. Jane House Facebook page, or to kelly.schumacher@gmail.com
When we hit capacity we will start a waiting list.

Newest Miss Representation Trailer (2011 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection) from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

About the film:

Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.

Join us for “The Line” Tuesday, 10/23, 6pm!

Kelly Schumacher Fuller

Kelly Schumacher Fuller

From Kelly Schumacher Fuller, “Movies with Jane” Series Coordinator

Join us at St. Jane House on Tuesday, October 23rd for a screening of The Line, a new documentary chronicling the face of poverty in America. This is the next in our series, “Movies with Jane” featuring thought provoking films that inspire and/or challenge us to become better people!

MOVIES WITH JANE
6:00pm – Doors open to St. Jane House, 1403 Emerson Ave N

6:30pm – Film begins, followed by discussion

Limited to 20 people. RSVP at the St. Jane House Facebook page, or to kelly.schumacher@gmail.com
When we hit capacity we will start a waiting list.


About the Film:
From Emmy Award-winning producer Linda Midgett, The Line is a groundbreaking documentary chronicling the new face of poverty in America. As Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis puts it, “more and more of our friends are in poverty — in the pews, in our workplaces — through no fault of their own, and they are slipping below the poverty level.”

In the Chicago suburbs, a single dad was laid off from his bank and is now a regular at the local food pantry, trying to make it by with three kids.

On Chicago’s west side, deep poverty creates a culture of violence and hopelessness.

On the Gulf Coast, a fisherman struggles post-BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina because environmental crises mean the loss of his livelihood.

In North Carolina, we see that hard work and determination don’t always mean success.

What does this mean for the future of our country? How do real-life stories change the narrative about poverty?

What can we do about it?

Structure and the Holy Spirit: Praying the Divine Office

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

holy_spirit_closeupThe thing is, I really like structure. I crave it. I am certain I’ve confessed this thought here before. As someone who left the structure and confines present in a 9-5 job years ago, I have long been grieving the gifts of a set schedule; I miss those routines laid out by someone else that I can simply step into. Teaching in the public high school two blocks from the monastery, I had the hourly bells to keep me grounded — to mark my day. As a creative, contemplative sort, whose ministerial work takes me into days without any set agenda, I can get anxious.

Where do I go? What do I do next? How do I prioritize my tasks? What is the next best loving thing I can do to serve my community? How do I honor my gifts and those of my peers? What responsibilities do I have and how do I keep focus?

Do any of these questions resonate with you?

Enter: the Divine Office.

Praying the Divine Office with the sisters — or the Liturgy of the Hours as it’s also called — on any given day, brings me back to center. The gifts afforded to me in this routine manner of convening with a community and chanting the psalms are beyond measure.

Morning Prayer to the Holy SpiritWe gather in the chapel. We sit. We face the cross. We face one another. We sing. We pause. We reflect on how the Word is speaking to us. We listen to our hearts. We listen to one another. We bring forward prayerful intentions. We give voice to the way that we have found Christ alive and in our midst, in our neighborhood and world. We hold critical and compassionate questions and thoughts for all who pray. We do this four times a day.

Stepping into the structure of this day, if even for an hour, reminds me of what’s possible when we pause and make room, tuning into the Holy Spirit and the Divine at work in our lives. As a Companion to the Visitation Sisters, this kind of prayer life is deeply life-giving to me;  I can hear more clearly my own heart beating when I come to the monastery and align myself with the larger world of faith, hope, and love. In turn, I can hear more clearly the world itself and all that desires healing, attention, action.

But this kind of prayer life, this monastic practice, takes discipline. And who among us has the capacity to live daily like this? Who among us is called to hold these prayerful routine practices for others to join? Is it you?

I invite you to pray.

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To join the sisters for prayer:
Daily Prayer Schedule:
7 am: Morning Prayer at Fremont
Noon: Prayer (call 612-521-6113)
4:45 pm: Prayer (call 612-521-6113)
8:15 pm: Night Prayer at Girard

Thursdays are the Sisters’ shut-down day. No open prayer time.