When you open to our Blog banner you notice something different. You no longer see the Bloomington Monastery in the seasonal photo with our St. Clare there to greet you. If you haven’t heard yet we have moved. Yes, we are south of the Cities in Rochester, MN, motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Rochester and the famed Mayo Clinic. We moved February 7th, a date none of us will forget. It was in the depths of white winter and bitter cold.
I wanted to work on our Blog banner right away but where could I find seasonal photos in this colorless environment. Then I heard about Sr. Elizabeth Gillis who lives here with us and for years has photographed the seasonal landscapes around the Motherhouse. Sr. Elizabeth loaned us her “thumb drive” where among her many beautiful photos we found exactly what we wanted. Kim, here at the Motherhouse and her bright young son, Nick, and Jonya, my new friend at the Rochester public library helped get the photos on to the web.
The next quest was where do we find an image of St. Clare. After canvasing the Motherhouse for inages of St. Clare I remembered the statue of Clare that was carved for Mayo Clinic, St. Mary’s Campus, about twelve years ago. Ready to rush right over to St. Mary’s and photograph the carving, I was alerted to the fact that the statue was in storage due to ongoing building projects at St. Marys. Then in a happy turn, Wes Thompson, Facilities Director here at Assisi Heights, directed me to Sr. Lauren Weinandt, longtime archivist at St. Mary’s. In the archives of the famous hospital was the history of the making of this amazing statue of St. Clare with photographs of the day on which Clare’s image was blessed.
This next part of the story is personal to me. I remembered the visit about 13 years ago of a young woman from St. Paul, MN, who was commissioned to carve a statue of St. Clare for St. Mary’s Peace Garden. We met in one of the parlors in our monastery in Bloomington. One of her questions was about symbols appropriate to St. Clare. I suggested that Clare was known for washing the feet of her Sisters when they returned from their ministry outside the monastery. What I remember most clearly of the encounter is that I took the young woman to our sacristy and showed her the bowls and pitchers crafted by the fine potter, Warren McKensie, of Stillwater, MN, the pottery which we used at the liturgy of the foot washing every Holy Thursday. I think that I showed her the towels also. When I saw the archival photos this all came back to me. The name of the sculptress is Caprice Kueffner Glaser. And here is the Clare she gave us.