Kate’s Poetic reflections on the Midwest Deep Freeze


In the north one feels a dread of the slide
into silent, somber days,
cold shadows bruising the land.

It will be a long time until the winds of March
force the final blizzard,                                                                      sunshine returns and the frozen ground
lets its rigor go.

Lakes will open like the sky                                                              and people learn what the earth knows:
under the weather’s weight,
life recreates its way toward light.


Morning After Snowfall


1. Open fields white, pinewoods green,
dull dark green stark against snow;
over all, the grim cold as clean as ice.

Where sun shines the gleam is steely
and the blue air would crack if you bent it
which no one will be able to do until the thaw.

2. Fly away, trees, fly away,
night has provided you with wings,
with feathers light as air.
You are buoyant, cool and delicate,
waiting only for the right music.


Kate’s winter musings:


The light of winter is blue where it rests on snow,
silver where it catches the edge of ice.                                             Under the moon it is magic, soft as smoke,
mysterious and cold.

Winter light seems barren where it stretches over empty fields,
the green of pine in winter is not a fertile green,
as the white of distant stars is not the white of daisies.
The white glacier is an impermeable light.

Winter light is at its best in fire,                                                    where the warmth of flame meets wood or wax.                              Radiance flares like a hand held up
To keep the darkness back.

Kate Martin 2010


  Sister Cecilia is with God


                          Sister Cecilia is with God

Our Sister Cecilia Ramisch died at St. Mary’s Hospital on January 21, 2019.  

We celebrated the Funeral Mass honoring  Sister Cecilia on February 1.  The Sisters waited for Fr. Mike Joncas to return to the Cities so that he might preside at the Eucharist. Fr. Mike and Sr. Cecilia had a long telephone relationship. Sr. Cecilia was the “fisher of priests” for our daily Eucharist in Bloomington.

And so for our Sister the liturgy began with a Procession into Chapel at Assisi Heights:
At the piano: Lynn Karnati, “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place,”
Cross Bearer: Christine Holm
First Reader: Tim Murphy, carrying the Lectionary
Second Reader: Mary Kandels

Pall Bearers with coffin:
Kathy Ramisch
Tom Ramisch
Jim Kandels
Andres Raud

Intercessions would be proclaimed by Terry Johnston
Srs. Caroline and Helen carried the Pall
Clare Sisters and Family members followed.
Sr. Jan, ushered in the guests
Fr. Mike Welcomed the worshipers

And began the ritual.
Sr. Margaret sprinkled the cassette with Holy Water;
Srs. Caroline and Helen place the pall on the coffin.
Sr. Gabriel placed the Form of Life and the Crucifix on the coffin.

Sr. Helen offered the  Welcoming and the Eulogy
Liturgy of the Word: Tim and Mary
Homily Fr. Mike
Intersessions: Terry Johnston

Offertory Procession:  Rysia and Ladonna
Communion Ministers: Caroline and Catherine

At the conclusion of this beautiful service for our Sister Cecilia we all sang:
“The Blessing of St. Clare.”

The evening before the Funeral Mass at the Vesper service for Sister Cecilia we read  from Sister Cecilia’s personal reflections that she had left for us which we call, The Gospel according to Cecilia. 


“Following six years of Poor Clare community life at Sauk Rapids and nine months receiving temporary hospitality from the St. Joseph Sisters at Holy Angels
Secondary School, Richfield, Minnesota, I was very
excited to settle in Bloomington, to make Jesus’ presence known through our prayer, daily Eucharist, the Divine Office and contemplative community. Later I found an additional
way to make Jesus’ presence known through a telephone ministry, receiving incoming calls for prayer and offering
to each caller a listening ear.” Sister Cecilia


“My father died suddenly on April 29, 1949, the final day of an 8-day retreat before my first vows. That evening I had a dream about my father. I saw him lying on a cross. There was a sense of God’s great mercy surrounding him.  When I was awakened by the Abbess and Vicaress to inform me that my father had died I was not surprised.” 

Blessings to all,  Sister Cecilia



Christmas with the Holy Family

Christmas at Assisi Heights, 2018

Eight hundred years ago St Francis of Assisi celebrated Christmas with his friends.  They put on a play with a life sized crib and all the accoutrements that an Italian town could offer.   Everyone had a part.  They were able to see and hear, to speak and sing, to enter into this great and simple mystery, God is with us.

When leaving our Monastery in Bloomington last February we left all of our beautiful manger scenes to our Pro Ecclesia Sancta Sisters  except for one: a simple crèche made by the Little Sisters of Jesus, pictured here on our Christmas greeting.   

This was a gift to us from a dear friend who received it as a gift from the Little Sisters.  Our donor felt that we would have more opportunity to pray with this beautiful crèche than she.  And indeed we have prayed before this crèche.  It had been the central focus in our oratory during the Christmas season for over thirty years.

But before we could use Sister Caroline’s photo of the crèche we needed to ask permission from the Little Sisters of Jesus.  Thanks to the internet we found the home of the Little Sisters in Baltimore, Maryland.  Sr. Beth reached Little Sister Rita by phone.  A friendship was born and permission was given.

The figures of Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child could be from any country of the world and as our little globe becomes smaller through communication and mutual appreciation our prayer becomes more particular and universal.

Through the Ages the tradition holds from Bethlehem to Francis, to Charles de Foucauld, to Little Sister Madeline and here with us today through this precious Christmas crèche.  

Our community of Clares will celebrate for the first time the coming of the Lord here with the Franciscan Sisters of Rochester, Minnesota.  And each and all of you will be held in our prayer.