1995: Neighborhood children who inspired our “Windsock Time” Ministry
by S. Mary Frances Reis, VHM
Greetings! In the course of the next 10 months, we the Visitation Sisters of Minneapolis will be gathering up some highlights of the sacred history of this Northside monastery! Where to start?
When we first moved into our turn of the century home at 1527 Fremont Avenue North on November 11, 1989, it was the children who discovered us….morning, noon and night they discovered us!
We came up with the idea of having a special time each day to welcome them for games, reading, play, prayer and a treat. The signal we devised for ‘kids’ time’ was a colorful windsock which we hung out from 3:30 to 4:30. Eventually this became known as ‘Windsock Time’; on any given day somewhere between 12 and 15 children showed up.
“Thus began a rich bonding with our neighbors which speaks profoundly of the essence of the Mystery of the Visitation for which we are named: person to person meetings in mutual care of one another.”
Windsock Visitation: Unveiled March, 1995*
Through our relationships with the neighborhood youth, we got to know their families—their joys, struggles, sorrows and triumphs. Thus began a rich bonding with our neighbors which speaks profoundly of the essence of the Mystery of the Visitation for which we are named: person to person meetings in mutual care of one another. Literal generations of children and their families mark our history here. Windsock graduates bring their children to ‘meet the Sisters’. (Not unlike how my former students at Visitation Mendota came to visit when I was a teacher.)
One of the most precious art pieces we have in our monastery is the original painting of the Windsock Visitation by Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS.* (Newsletter #16, Spring 1995.) Inspired by the windsock as symbol of hospitality for children, Mickey created a masterpiece which speaks volumes to all who come to our monastery. By now, prints of the Windsock Visitation grace homes and work places around the world.
After 20 years, ‘Windsock Time’, as it began, is no longer a part of our daily routine. However, the relationships continue and our Salesian way of hospitality and welcome live on in ever newer forms. Thus, the windsock has become our primary logo.
*Read more on the Windsock Visitation from our Archives:
–NEWSLETTER #16, Spring, 1995
-Photo Album: Unveiling of the Windsock Visitation, 1995