Flying Flowers & Tethered Butterflies, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan OSF

Flying flower

The butterfly is a flying flower.

Tethered butterfly.

The flower is a tethered butterfly.  ~Ponce Denis

It surprises us most of the time, the colorful butterfly that dances around. As children, we probably chased after it, but the beautiful insect soon eluded us. Perhaps now, as adults, we stand still and savor the beauty of these “flying flowers.”  It is there and then it is gone. However, we talk about it and bring it to mind now and then.  It is a thing of beauty passing through that touches the gentle side of us.

The lovely black-eyed-Susan does not fly away from us.  If we planted the seeds for this flower, we probably have been waiting for it to bloom.  When it does, the bright friendly flower stays with us.  Its life is shorter than that of the butterfly, but the time the flower is with us is longer.  We may not think of the tethered butterfly as often as we do the flying flower, but both serve a purpose.

Some things in our lives flit by leaving a little memory, a little glimpse of God.  Other things are there, just there.  They can be reminders of the Creator if we just call to mind that everything is a gift from God.

Sometimes people come into our lives for a few minutes, or we read what they have written and feel a connection to that person.  That is a butterfly effect.  Others are there always, supporting us, honoring us, praying with and for us, and that is the Black-eyed-Susan effect.  We often do not remember them in the same way we do that person we have never met.  We need them both.  What I must recognize is that the people who support me all the time, ought to be acknowledged as often as I quote or admire those who influence me by written or spoken word.

Peace and Joy,

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

Washing of Feet, by Barbara Leonhard, OSF

Photograph © Margaret Lois Jansen

Don’t be afraid to let me love you just as you are.

I know the journey you’ve been on.
Every step of it is precious to me.

As I wash your feet, I acknowledge and bless steps taken with courageous stride;
slow, hesitant, barely inching forward steps, and even the dragging of feet.

Your feet tell the story of your journey,
how long you have been on the way; the stumbling blocks you’ve tripped over;
the moments of slip-sliding down some hill you thought you’d climbed once and for all;
and the determined digging in of toes as you learned to begin anew.

In the washing of your feet, I hold your inner journey as well.

Don’t be afraid to let me love you just as you are:
exhausted or exuberant, anxious or peaceful, discouraged or hopeful.

As I bathe your feet, I bless you for every step you have taken,
the ones others have seen and the ones only you know about –
those costly steps toward forgiveness, understanding, or softening of heart.

I honor even the steps that you thought of as missteps
or walking in circles, or meandering in confusion.
Every step you have taken is precious to me.

I bless you for the journey that is still yours to make.
Each step you take, whether bold or limping,
dancing or stiff,
is sacred.

As I wash your feet
and hold in my hands all the stories that they tell,
I silently pray that no matter where your journey takes you,
you will remember that I am with you
loving you
just as you are.


Washing of Feet © Barbara Leonhard, OSF

Barbara Leonhard, OSF is a theologian, spiritual director, and retreat leader at Oldenburg Franciscan Center.  She is a lover of scripture and loves to share the Good News with others.

Please contact with any requests for permission to reproduce Washing of Feet.
Please visit for information on licensing of images or purchase of prints by Lois.

Hope in Diversity – Video with S. Olga Wittekind, OSF

We hope you enjoy our video message from S. Olga!

If the video does not appear embedded in your email, click here to view it:
Hope in Diversity

Hope in Diversity with S. Olga Wittekind– Feb. 18.
Our February workshop was a great success!

This is what people said:

  • S. Olga has expertise, optimism, and organization.  I love her stories and examples!
  • Very knowledgable, organized, prepared, interesting, inspiring!
  • Learned a lot [to help me] understand myself and those around me.
  • Love S. Olga’s enthusiasm and knowledge.  Grateful to learn this information.
  • Wonderful experience all around!
  • S. Olga is a fantastic teacher!


If you missed our Saturday “Hope in Diversity ” program, consider requesting a private Myers-Briggs workshop at the Burg just for your family, church group, or co-workers! Come rest in the peace of the Sisters’ campus and grow in healthy relationship with yourself and those around you!  For information on having a program tailored to your group, write to Angela at or call 513-543-5368.

Peace, joy, and everything good!

♥ the Crew at OFC

Pray as Yourself, by Sr. Sharonlu

Our Lady of Fatima's View of the Oldenburg Hills (photography by A. Roesler)

Every relationship with another is unique. And that is true of each person’s relationship with God.  Our need for God is universal; we all have it.  But our response to God is always personal and one-of-a-kind.

I found this out myself during a prayer before a meeting.  The leader of the prayer said we would say the Our Father.  However, he would say a phrase, and we in random order would give our thoughts on that part of the prayer.

He began, “Our Father”, and hesitantly one of the group said, “You’re more like a mother.”  Another said, “You protect me,” and another offered, “Your love for me keeps me feeling safe.”

Those were just a few of the thoughts, and there were about 15 people in the group.

As soon as there was a very long pause, the leader went to the next phrase, “Who Art in Heaven” and so on through the entire prayer.   Saying that prayer usually takes 15-20 seconds, but it took us close to 20-25 minutes.

Interesting remarks were heard afterward.  One woman offered that she would never say the Our Father the same again.  A young man in the group said he had no idea what varied kind of thoughts the same words could draw from people.

During World War II there was a holy woman in Europe, (I forget which country) who was bedfast.   People would come to her to get some direction for their spiritual lives.  One person said to her, “Since I’ve been coming to see you, I say almost 50 Our Fathers a day!”  “Oh, my,” the holy woman replied, “I find it hard to pray the Our Father one time, there is so much in it.”

Taking the time to really think about the words you are saying will give you a nudge into saying words that are yours.  Or you may end up praying without words, just with feelings of awe or gratitude or praise.

Remember the definition of prayer is: lifting your mind and heart to God. 
It doesn’t mention words at all!

When Jesus told us to pray always, I think he meant we should really think about our prayers.

My prayers are with you.

Peace and Joy, and Everything Good,

Sr. Sharonlu

Sr. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF has a background in education, child development, and family ministries.  She has worked as a teacher, school administrator, and as Director of Family Life Services for two dioceses.  Sr. Sharonlu has long been an advocate for children and puts her heart into helping parents build and sustain healthy family relationships.  One of her most memorable ministries has been with the people of Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, where her heart still lies.

Just as Sr. Sharonlu shows how our relationships with God are diverse, so are our relationships with one another!

The Oldenburg Franciscan Center Arches aglow at night. (The normal softness of the lamplight is brightened by the camera!)

Join Sr. Olga on Saturday, February 18th (9:30am – 2:30pm) to grow in peace and find hope in diversity.
  We all face various interpersonal challenges in our daily lives. In this workshop, Oldenburg Franciscan Sister Olga Wittekind (Jungian psychologist and PhD) will give tools and insights – using Myers-Briggs analysis – to help us understand ourselves better, appreciate others more, and strengthen our relationships with God. This is a great workshops for individuals, ministry groups, families, and couples!

$45 includes a delicious lunch by our wonderful caterer, Cathy Kerker!  Call Annette at 812-933-6437 or email to RSVP today!

Invite a friend, family member, or come on your own.  You never know what wonderful new connections can be made!

Remember, God is a healer, a peacemaker, and a life-giver who lovingly embraces us all and wants us to learn to embrace each other in the same way!

Find the event on Facebook!  Also, friend OFC and share us with your friends!