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The Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart
Franciscan Sisters 
of the Sacred Heart
Merciful Franciscans,
joyous and poor,
 doing works of neighborly love
April 2021   |   Issue 216

St. Francis Woods Campus News
9201 W St Francis Road, Frankfort, IL 60423-8330

Holy Week begins March 28. We invite you to listen to this brief prayer from Franciscan MediaMay this last leg of your journey be blessed with peace, and may your Easter be joyful! 

he Holy Father will again celebrate the Holy Week rites at the Altar of the Cathedra, in Saint Peter’s Basilica and they will be broadcast:
Let us pray we can soon worship together at St. Francis Woods!
 All missioners are called by God to go out and to announce the Good News. One of the qualities that Pope Francis talks about frequently for all missioners is joy. Joy is so important that he even wrote an Apostolic Exhortation, "Joy of the Gospel," which touched our hearts. He begins the exhortation with the words: “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” How true this is: When we know Jesus, we cannot help but be joyful.

However, we are also human and since the pandemic has hit us, and since many social injustices have come to our attention, it is not so easy to be joyful. Our hearts break from our own suffering and the suffering of those around us. So many unnecessary deaths caused by discrimination and hate surround us. City violence seems to be increasing with the death of so many innocent children and young people because of the lack of gun control. The most recent situation which deeply disturbs is the position that wearing masks is a violation of individual freedom when our country was founded on the common good.

We hunger for peace. We are disturbed because it seems so far out of our reach. We know there is a “good trouble” as John Lewis often said, which can bring about peace, but only after we have struggled for justice. On January 1, 2014, Pope Francis addressed these words to the world: “Indifference and lack of commitment constitute a grave dereliction of the duty whereby each of us must work in accordance with our abilities and our role in society for the promotion of the common good, and in particular for peace, which is one of mankind’s most precious goods. ... [I]indifference to others and to their dignity, their fundamental rights and freedom... can foster and even justify actions and policies that ultimately represent threats to peace.”

It seems to be so complicated, so beyond our capacity, and soon discouragement paralyzes us, and indifference sets in. But there is a very simple thing that can be a starting point if we choose to do it. Please watch this music video to discover the simplicity of this transforming action. Then please do it!  Danny Gokey,  “Love God Love People”
Sr. Marilyn Extends Thursday Scripture Reflections Sessions

Back by popular demand, Scripture Reflections will continue after Easter until May 6, 2021. If you would like to be on our private email distribution list to receive registration links, please email

Our first gathering after Easter will be
Apr 8, 2021, at 10:15 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
 Please register in advance at this link:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Placing our faith in the risen Jesus and His way

"I am the way and the truth and the life." - John 14:6a

Much harm has been done through the centuries in the name of Christianity. Some people are well-meaning but are not following Jesus’ teachings, even while invoking His name. Others use the Christian label only as a means to an end—to frighten, control, influence or manipulate in order to gain or maintain personal fame, social status, power or wealth. It is a sad fact that not all with a Christian label or imagery behind them reflect the mind, heart, or words of Jesus. We must be alert and discern carefully as we interact with the world and live out our faith. We do not remain in faith because of the goodness of people. Even some who are well respected will, at times, fail us; they are human. Instead, we place our faith in the goodness of the risen Jesus. So, when you are shaken by the failings or deceptions of other people, keep the faith and be careful, too. Measuring our own goodness by comparing ourselves to others is, in itself, an offense and a distraction to our own inner soul work that we have yet to accomplish. If we were all not in need of a Savior or if we were irredeemable, why then would God send His only Son to save us?
True followers of Christ are not here to force their beliefs upon others, nor to condemn or control others, but to love as Jesus did, offering the gospel message by our way of living and treating others. We look to the gospels if ever in doubt about the nature of true Christian behavior and attitudes. We seek the continual formation of our faith. Do the words and actions of the people we see and listen to match that of Jesus? Do the people we are listening to follow Jesus' way of peace, non-violence, love and forgiveness? As we go about our day, are we imitators of Jesus? May we be worthy to be called “Christian” by how we live our lives. May we follow Jesus’ example and rise with Him to new life.
"The Lord is truly risen. Alleluia!" - Luke 24:34
Embark on the Vowed Journey

“They should desire one thing alone, namely, the Spirit of God at work within them.” (TOR Rule Ch. IX-32)

We encourage single Catholic women who wish to journey with us in living a Gospel life and mission that can powerfully impact others. The formation of a Franciscan Sister of the Sacred Heart is the journey of a lifetime. To learn more, please contact Sr. Maria Brizuela at 815.464.3873 or (See Vocation Discernment.) We look forward to meeting you!

Pray for us... we pray for you!

You can find a prayer request form on our website at

Your intentions will be held lovingly in prayer by our Sisters and Associates. 
Women and men journeying with the Franciscan Sisters
The Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart enjoy the company of around 100 women and men who are called Associates.  The choice to become an Associate grows out of a “heart call” to live a commitment in relationship with others, Associates and Sisters.  Through periodic mutual sharing, Associates encourage one another to concretely deepen their spirituality and their ministry to others. 
Learn more about being an Associate of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart here: https:, complete your application online here: and, upon acceptance, begin orientation in the fall.
Sr. Norma Janssen, Director of Associates
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Franciscan Tip
Plastic bags/wraps typically do not get recycled in curbside bins. They must be returned to participating drop-off locations such as retail stores for recycling. Find a drop-off location near you and learn more about what can be recycled and what to toss in the trash:
Five Franciscan Sisters offer spiritual direction

Share your ordinary life experiences and be guided to listen for how the Divine is speaking through the twists and turns of your journey. Zoom sessions are available. The fee for an hour-long session is $50.

Janice Keenan, OSF 815.469.4883
Norma Janssen, OSF 815.545.0183
Mary Shinnick, OSF 815.464.3807
Joyce Shanabarger, OSF 815.464.3803
Nancy Roberta Schramm, OSF 224.565.1460
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PORTIUNCULA Center for Prayer
Retreat and Holistic Center

Ignatian Contemplation – April 12, 9:00-12:00 p.m.

This morning’s presentation will include background material and opportunities for the practice of imaginative prayer as well as discussion.
This reflection is for anyone interested in journeys of faith and spirituality, doubt and belief, and “catching on fire” to purpose and passion. She will share her spiritual journey from a person who prayed for God to solve the problems of the world to someone who works to transform social injustices herself. Based on insights from her new book, River of Fire, she will offer insights into how to live a spiritual life that is wide awake to the sufferings and creative opportunities of our world.  

Helen Prejean, CSJ is a Roman Catholic sister, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph based in New Orleans, and a leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. She is the author of Dead Man Walking, The Death of Innocents and River of Fire.
The day includes opening prayer, theme, time and a private room for individual reflection, lunch, and a closing service.

Powerful Vibrational Sound Meditation – April 30, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Heal your mind and body in a colorful environment of ambient and ancestral sounds of 5 gongs and other sound tools.  
For complete program and registration information, go to: or call 815.464.3880. Email:
Saints Francis & Clare of Assisi, pray for us in our time of need!
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