Salt of Earth & A New Morning Song by Angela Roesler

March 3rd is coming around the corner, and our gifted Storyteller and Experiential Retreat Leader, S. Karla Barker, OSF will be honoring us with her reflective program, “What does it mean to be Salt of Earth?”

S. Karla’s retreats touch the soul through her most beautiful ways of helping others integrate beliefs and life experiences with imagery and rituals that enrich our spirits in deep and unexpected ways.

Last year, I posted this poem and reflection (shown below) on my personal blog.  I am sharing it with you today to give you an idea for the profoundly peaceful impact a single morning with S. Karla had on me, long before I worked for our retreat center!

I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I hope you’ll consider joining us on Saturday, March 3rd from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Oldenburg Franciscan Center for a peaceful day of retreat and personal discovery. We’ll discover the ways we can both savor and add zest to the life we’ve been given, and we’ll find encouragement in sharing our distinctive flavor as Salt of Earth so that others may relish our gentleness, creativity, and love of Life!

RSVP to 812-933-6437 or!

Peace & joy to all,
Angela Roesler
Oldenburg Franciscan Center


Dear Shadow, Come Home ~ A New Morning Song

Poet’s preamble:  There is a Native American tradition that teaches its children that when we sleep at night our shadow runs off to chase our dreams.  In the morning before children rise and let their feet hit the floor, they are taught to whistle or sing for their shadow to come home.  Upon hearing the call, their shadow will return and reunite with them.  If they forget to do this, however, their shadow will remain in a distant dreamland, and the person will go through the day separated from an integral piece of their soul, and they will not be whole or fully present to give or receive what is needed that day.

I learned of this tradition while attending a program on Native American Spirituality given by S. Karla Barker, a Sister of St. Francis in Oldenburg, IN, and the story resonated deeply within my heart.  The poem and artwork that you find here are like prayers – calling my shadow home through difficult – and peaceful – times.

Dear Shadow, Come HomeArtwork:  Dear Shadow, Come Home

Poem: A New Morning Song
(Thanks to Sister Karla, OSF – Oldenburg)

Can you hear
The beat of the drum,
Dear shadow?
Come home.

The sun is
Arisin’ and 
I’m on my own.
Come home.

The world’s
And we’re full of dreams.
Come home.

Return and
Stand tall as the
New morning gleams.
Come home.

At night while
I’m sleeping,
We’ll ride your white steed.
Come home.

And you’ll
Keep me dreaming
So we’ll never need.
Come home.

But a new day
Is callin’ and
We must be true.
Come home.

You must follow me
I cannot
Follow you.
Come home.

Together we are
And together
We’ll be.
Come home.

And we’ll
Keep on seeking
Responsibly: free.
Come home.

My spirit, my shadow,
My heart,
And my guide,
My presence, my love,
My hope and my pride,

A new day is dawning;
Together we’ll ride.

Come home.


Artistic notes:   As for the artwork, I created this one weekend while on a mini retreat at a dear friend’s house.  She suggested that we do decoupage – to see through art where the Spirit might be moving within us.  I stayed up past 1am putting mine together, totally into the process.  I still love the images I discovered.  And while it might look like a bunch of random hodge-podge to others, to me, it speaks gently and happily to my soul.  If you want to make one of your own, it’s easy!

  • Paint a background on canvas with 1 or 2 colors… you can do a design, but it’s not necessary.  Pick color(s) that speak to you.
  • Choose a word or phrase that has particular meaning or a ‘catch’ for you right now and paint it on the canvas.  (i.e. Mine was “Dear shadow, come home.”  My friend’s was “Alacrity”)
  • Get out some old magazines and newspapers and start flipping and clipping out images that speak to you.
  • Arrange the images you cut out and adhere them to canvas with Modge Podge (or a similar project glue).  We first painted the surface of our (dried) canvas with the Modge Podge, placed our cut-out pictures one by one on the gluey surface, then painted another layer of glue on top of each picture.
  • Let it dry!  See what you think….. :)

Last but not least, I encourage you to come to the Burg on Saturday, March 3rd to spend a morning of reflection with S. Karla!  Come learn more about yourself and how God created you to be Salt of Earth!  She’s a wonderful retreat director!  Call 812-933-6437 or email for more information!

© ~AMNR~ 2011

Cum Grande Humilitate: A Retreat Experience with Fr. Murray Bodo, written by OSF Associate Chris Dickson

Fr. Murray Bodo

Fr. Murray Bodo at Oldenburg Franciscan Center

Cum grande humilitate!  This last verse of St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Creatures” clearly expresses our weekend retreat at Oldenburg with Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM. Cum grande humilitate, translated from the original Umbrian dialect, means “humbly but grandly!”

My first encounter with Fr. Bodo began in 1987 with a copy of  his book, “Through the Year With Francis of Assisi: Daily Meditations from His Words and Life.” I had no idea then who Fr. Murray Bodo was or of the importance his writings would one day play in my life. That book has now become a “loose-leaf” edition due to so many years of  daily abuse I have inflicted upon it.  (I still had no problems with having Father sign that torn, raggedy old book during the retreat.)

Knowing the special place I hold in my heart for Father’s gift of words, every birthday, anniversary and Christmas my wife Karen always surprises me with Fr. Bodo’s latest publication. Needless to say,  when we heard Fr. Murray was coming to Oldenburg to give a weekend retreat, we immediately decided it was a perfect gift to give to one another for Christmas. And what a Christmas present it was!

As I sat there at the Oldenburg Franciscan Center, I was mesmerized by the man – the priest – the monk, who, through his writings for the past twenty-four years, had shared with me his most intimate thoughts and visions of Saints Francis and Clare through his magnificent gift of prose. That weekend in Oldenburg, right before my eyes,  Father Bodo transformed from being a humble Franciscan Friar to becoming Francesco Bernardoni, the son of Pietro Bernardoni, a cloth merchant from Assisi. By the end of the weekend, I  could see in Father Murray Bodo the man Francesco might have become had he lived another thirty or forty years; kind, considerate, articulate, unassuming, and still burning brightly with that insatiable desire to share a life of intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Deep in the footsteps of Francis and Clare,  Father Murray transhumanced our group from high atop the mountains all the way down to our brother lepers deep in the valley.  I found his words of  encouragement to be warm, gregarious, comforting, and full of charm and wit.

Please have him return to us soon. In the meantime, may we all follow Fr. Bodo’s example and go together as brothers and sisters of Francis and Clare cum grande humilitate, “humbly but grandly” to rebuild His Church.

Pace e Bene my brothers and sisters!

Chris Dickson


Blog Editor’s Note:  Fr. Murray Bodo facilitated the referenced retreat at our Oldenburg Franciscan Center in November 2011.  Through his poetry, stories, and scholarly sharing, he guided us into deeper appreciation for St. Francis’ Canticle of Creatures, helping us to really feel the beauty of St. Francis’ lessons on gratitude and holy living.  Fr. Bodo is a renowned Franciscan poet, author, and scholar.  Read more about his life and inspiring works at!