Reflection for the Second Sunday in Lent, by S. Jean Marie Cleveland, OSF

2ndweekReflection for February 24, 2013
Second Sunday in Lent
First Reading: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
Psalm: 27:1, 7-9, 13-14
Second Reading: Philippians 3:17- 4:1
Gospel: Luke 9:28b-36

In reading these passages, I am struck by the number of lines which apply to our lives.

“Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can.” How many times have we gone outside late at night and gazed up at the sky! How many millions of stars there are! How many fireflies light up the night! How great is God who created all this for us!  God promised Abram, “To your descendants I give this land.”  What a great gift we have in our world!

But Paul tells us, “Our citizenship is in heaven. God will change our lowly bodies to conform with His glorified body.”  Not only do we have the world to enjoy, but we have the promise of heaven if we follow Him.

As Peter and his companions were, we “have been overcome by sleep.”  We have this Lenten season to look at our lives and to the voice the apostles heard coming from heaven, “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.”  How will we respond?

Let us pray that we remain open to Jesus and His message this Lenten season.

S. Jean Marie Cleveland, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg


Dead Trees, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan OSF

"dead trees"A woman from a third-world country visited the United States.  It was winter here and the trees had lost all their leaves.  In her country, all heat for their homes and cooking came from wood fires.  At seeing all the “dead” trees, she remarked, “You are so lucky to have so much firewood at hand.”

Her Hostess explained that the trees were not dead. They were in a resting time and would bud and bloom and leaf when the weather grew warmer. Happily, the woman’s stay lasted 6 months and she witnessed what she had been told.

It is once again the season of “dead” trees.  Even though we recognize that the tree will be filled with green leaves come spring and summer, they surely do look dead today.  We look at their skeletons but know it is a passing phase in the tree’s life.

Do you ever feel “dead”?  Does it seem like you are so stagnant that you are fit only for being burned?  You must be from a different country, my friend, where skeleton trees are useful only for firewood.

Remember, you are part of an immortal life.  YOU WILL NEVER BE DEAD.  Your body will go through the changes that the trees do, but will rise to a beautiful spring. Children have a wonderful way of hitting the point. A very small boy when asked what the difference was between himself and God, replied.  “Well, God always was and always will be. I wasn’t always was, but I always will be.”

Read his response two or three times, until it sinks in.  “I wasn’t always was, but I always will be.”

Keep that at the forefront of your mind. Remember that Jesus loves you as if there were no other person on the earth.  Love each other.  It is the best way to stay “alive”.

With loving thoughts and prayers for you,

Sharonlu OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

LCWR Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America

LCWR’s Women & Spirit:Catholiwomen & spiritc Sisters in America DVD is a remarkable resource for providing education on the life of women religious and their contributions to this nation from 1727 to the present.

On the DVD is a 56-minute documentary, narrated by Cokie Roberts, that chronicles the story of women religious in this country.  The DVD also contains a film study guide and digital image catalog that contains all the artifacts and panels that comprise the Women & Spirit traveling exhibit.  Some of the videos from the Women & Spirit traveling exhibit are included.
This is a resource that has been proven valuable for use within religious institutes,  as well as churches, schools, women’s groups, libraries and more.  Proceeds from the sale of the DVDs go to support LCWR’s mission of service to Catholic sisters in leadership today.  You may purchase the DVD for $19.95 at

Women’s Day 2013: Women of Beauty

Glass Roses by Margaret Lois Jansen,

Glass Roses by Margaret Lois Jansen,

The Navajo blessing, “May you walk in beauty,” captures the essence of the spiritual journey we are all experiencing as we move toward becoming all that we are called to be.  Beauty is the lens through which we understand the world, ourselves, and God.  Beauty can be another name for God, as St. Augustine so prayerfully says, “Late have I loved you, O Beauty, so ancient and so new.”  The presentations will focus on our vocation to imitate God in action by recognizing and bringing forth beauty in our lives, in the world around us, in many, sometimes surprising ways.

On Saturday, March 9th, we will be holding our annual Women’s Day Conference on this theme of Beauty.  $45 includes a delicious lunch, an inspiring keynote presentation by Sister Norma Rocklage, OSF, and breakout sessions offered by Sister Patty Campbell, OSF, dietician Kathy Cooley, and artist Lois Jansen.  This is one of our most beautiful days of the year!  RSVP to or 812-933-6437.  Multigenerational participation is encouraged!  Invite your best friend, mom, daughter, granddaughter…! 

Sessions will include:

Keynote:  S. Norma Rocklage, OSF, will show how we can find beauty inside ourselves and in the world and peopel around us.  Using poetry, stories, and images, S. Norma will help us become more Beauty Conscious — God Conscious — in our ordinary lives.

S. Patty Campbell, OSF, will share the beauty of self-discovery through the process of creating mandala art.  Participants will create mandalas!

Kathy Cooley is a dietitian at Margaret Mary Hospital.  She will share how our food choices have a far reaching effect on our health and beauty!

Lois Jansen is an artist at  Through photography she will engage our visual sense and help us see to the heart of our spiritual journey through the beauty we attend to within & without!

RSVPs must be received by Tuesday, March 5th!  Reserve your spot soon!


Oldenburg Franciscan Center / 812-933-6437

Reflection for the 1st Sunday in Lent

desertFirst Reading: Dt 26:4-10
Psalm: Ps 91:1-2, 10-15
Second Reading: Rom 10:8-13
Gospel: Luke 4:1-3

 “Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.”  So says the Letter to the Romans in today’s second reading.  And Moses, in the first reading reminds the people of all the ways God heard the cries of the Israelites, worked wonders for them, and led them out of captivity.  The Psalm for today also challenges us to pray, “Be with me Lord, when I am in trouble.”  Is it any wonder then that Jesus, as he is tempted by the devil, calls out to the evil one, “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”
Remind us, Jesus, whenever we are in need to call upon your name so that we too, can be released from whatever evil may want to capture us.  Throughout the Scriptures we are challenged to remember that you came to save us out of unconditional love and that same love is present for us each moment of every day.Amy Kistner, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

Come & See Weekend, March 22-24

Come & See

Begin your Holy Week with the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg, IN.  The next Come and See Weekend is from Friday evening, March 22, through noon on Palm Sunday, March 24, 2013.  For more information or to register contact S. Joan Miller, OSF, Vocation Director.

Sisters of St. Francis
P.O. Box 100
Oldenburg, IN 47036
(812) 933-6417
(812) 455-9348

Lenten Series: The Prophet Jeremiah

The Prophet Jeremiah

The Prophet Jeremiah by Michaelangelo (public domain, Wikicommons)

Christians throughout history have defined the word “prophet” in biblical terms as those who have been chosen by God and gifted by the Holy Spirit to share God’s message with the world.

To hear how people today understand the word “prophet,” Oldenburg Franciscan Center manager Angela Nevitt (Roesler) recently asked a multicultural audience on Facebook what comes to mind when people hear the word.  The first response that came in was, “Hope. [Prophets] are human, too.  They sin and doubt, too.  Yet, they were chosen and filled with Wisdom.  So Hope… The word gives me hope.”

Other responders provided names of prophets, including Kahlil Gibran and Thomas Merton, and still others defined what they understand prophets to be, including: teachers, oracles, messengers of God.

Scripture lover and educator, Lois Jansen of Indianapolis replied that a prophet is “one who listens to the times, hears the heartbeat of God in the ordinary, and speaks of God’s tenderness and justice.”

Beginning on Thursday, February 21st at Oldenburg Franciscan Center, Sister Barbara Leonhard, OSF will be facilitating a four week series on the Prophet Jeremiah and the role of prophets in our world today.

Sister Barbara explains, “Biblical prophets had two fundamental roles.  They were truth tellers, calling people to wake up to their responsibilities, to whom they were called to be.  They were also people who offered hope in times of great conflict and disillusionment.”

In this OFC series, Sister Barbara will use the Prophet Jeremiah as an example to encourage participants to look anew at the dual role of a prophet.

Sister Barbara explains, “Exploring the nature of the critical time in which Jeremiah lived invites us to face the questions and express the honest prayers that might come from our own experiences of loss.  One cannot read Jeremiah without also being mindful of the violence, loss and suffering that surround us on a global level.”

Topics for each week include:

February 21st: The role of a prophet: the difficulty of being open to the prophetic message.

February 27th: Jeremiah: a prophet in a time of crisis.

March 7th:  Jeremiah: a prophet who gives expression to the shock and grief that accompany great loss.

March 14th:  Jeremiah: a prophet who expresses hope in the midst of crisis.

When we begin to understand ‘being a prophet’ in terms of being truth tellers and advocates for social responsibility, it can help us to identify our own unique opportunities for prophetic living – particularly when it comes to addressing issues in local healthcare, education, community development, and simply being a good neighbor.

Individuals of all faiths and professions are invited to attend this series.  Community & business leaders are encouraged to participate!  For additional information, please contact Angela Nevitt Roesler at, 513-543-5368, or visit the OFC website:  RSVPs may be directed to Annette at or 812-933-6437.

Sunday Reflection, by OSF Associate Judy Hillman

Reflection for February 10, 2013
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading:  Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8
Second Reading:  1Cor. 15:1-11
Gospel:  Luke 5:1-11

Each of these readings begins with an experience of God, the Holy One, the answered prayer Person, Jesus, the one who lived the Gospel, the Teacher. In each experience, the Holy One calls forth an initial human response with a corresponding Divine Intervention:

Isaiah: What a wretched state I am in! I am lost. God says, “your sin is taken away.”

Psalm: I called for help. You (God) heard me, increased my strength, kept me alive.

1Cor: Paul declares “I am the least of the apostles. By God’s grace this is what I am.”

Luke: Peter declares, “I am a sinful man.” Jesus tells him, “Do not be afraid.”

Our God really wants us to draw near, to know God’s majesty, compassion, forgiveness, love and tenderness. However, the experience cannot stop there. We are called to go beyond our sinfulness and flawed human nature. Isaiah asks, “Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?” Our readings today are very clear. Go forth!

All forgiving, loving, empowering God, send me!

Judy Hillman, Associate
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

Teeth, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

Choppers, canines, pearly whites, whatever you like to call them, they are vital to your health and well-being. It is why your mother called up to you every night, “Did you brush your teeth?”  I think the first lie any of us told was in the answer we gave.  “Yes, I did.”  However, the toothbrush was a dry as dust!

Christopher Curtis wrote this:

Six is a bad time ‘cause that’s when some real scary things start to happen to your body. It’s around then that your teeth start to coming a-loose in your mouth.

You wake up one morning and it seems like your tongue is the first one to notice that something strange is going on, ‘cause as soon as you get up there it is pushing and rubbing up against one of your front teeth and I’ll be doggoned if that tooth isn’t the littlest bit wiggly.

At first you think it’s kind of funny, but the tooth keeps getting loser and looser and one day, in the middle of pushing the tooth back and forth and squinching your eyes shut, you pull it clean out! It’s the scariest thing you can think of cause you lose control of your tongue at the same time and no matter how hard you try to stop it, it won’t leave the new hole in your mouth alone, it keeps digging around in the spot where that tooth used to be.

You tell some adult about what is happening but all they do is say it’s normal. You can’t be too sure though ‘cause it shakes you up a whole lot more than grown folks think it does when perfectly good parts of your body commence to loosening up and falling off you.

Whether you are six, twenty-six, fifty-six or ninety-six, losing a tooth has something to tell you.  Maybe you are actually having a tooth pulled.  I do not mean that kind of pulling.  Let me explain the tooth story for you.

Let’s suppose that the tooth on the way to coming “a-loose,” is some very bad habit you have.  At first, it was not a habit.  It was just something naughty that happened only once.  There was something about it though that seemed if not good, at least pleasant.  So you wiggle the habit back and forth with that wishy-washy tongue of yours called the conscience.  Each time it gets easier to do.

Finally, with much effort, the habit falls out and you are forced to look at it.  Your conscience plays with the empty space, and if you have called on the powers that are at your beck and call, you will try to see that something else needs to fill that space where the front tooth or bad habit used to be.

Wouldn’t it be something if every bad or sinful habit showed on your face?  Jealousy would make a front tooth green.  A bright red tooth would indicate greed.  Pride, that sin that says, “I do not have any bad habits or sinfulness,” would show up as broken black teeth whenever a person did not acknowledge Pride.

What a wonderful time is given to us to review all our attitudes, our wishes, our actions, and thoughts. Lent is that time. Just as the six-year old will be surprised because another tooth has popped in the space where one was lost, So we can be surprised at how the Holy Spirit, gift of Jesus to us, will pop up and strengthen whatever we make efforts to develop.

If only we could see how the Spirit works in our lives, we would be totally amazed.  Find God everywhere and you will be praying always.

Blessings on you and your Lenten Practices!  If you really do practice, you should be experts at keeping your resolutions when Easter arrives.  Your smile will be radiant, and the love of God will be shining through!

Peace, Joy and Everything Good,

Sharonlu OSF


Presidents, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

washington-lincolnIt is that month again. We will be honoring President Lincoln on February 12 and President Washington on February 22.  Those are their actual birthdays, but we lump them together on the third Monday of February.  The dates were modified, and the name changed to “Presidents Day” to include all the Presidents we have had.

I think we need to be aware of other presidents than the National leaders.  There are presidents of banks, for example, presidents of corporation, presidents of PTAs, presidents of the Red Cross, of universities and colleges and on and on.

What is a president?  The Thesaurus gives six synonyms: leader, chief, premier, head, chair, and commander.  If you do not find yourself in there, look harder.

Those of you who are parents might see yourself as commander, or perhaps your children do.  Teachers might say they are leaders; Coaches might be considered the head of their team; Those in charge of committees are called the Chair.

Each of us is the highest ranking person in our lives. Or at least that should be true.  What you do, say, think, decide and strive for is in your control, and YOU are designated the one in charge of YOU.  This is given to you by the King of Kings.  It is not an easy job.  It is tough, but someone has to do it and you are the one.

All hail, President Lorelei, Chairman Matthias, Chief Betsy.  The fruits of your rule will be taken into consideration at the time you are called before the Lord of Lords.

Blessings on you!  Coming between the birthdays of the two presidents this year you will find a help for your efforts.  Lent begins February 13!

Peace, Joy, and all Good,

Sharonlu, OSF
Oldenburg Franciscan Center
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg