Franciscan Footprints

2016 Easter Lamb Cake - Because He is the Lamb of God!

He is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Chapel decorated for EasterOur chapel decorated for Easter!     ---->

One of the Easter traditions in this community is the making of a lamb cake.  I’m told, that until the 1970’s, the community baked lots and lots of lamb cakes and sold them as a fundraiser.  But these days, we make one for ourselves, from scratch, with a cast-iron lamb mold.  The Mother House also makes a lamb cake for our Pascal Meal (held on Thursday, before Holy Thursday's Mass.)  Can you guess how old the recipe is?  I don’t know, but it included instructions for heating your wood-burning stove!

Removing Lamb from Mold

According to my research, Easter Lamb of God cakes are an ancient Catholic tradition and often found where Catholic Polish, Italian or German immigrants settled.  Since the founding Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis were of German decent, this makes sense.  For Christians, the lamb cake symbolizes Christ, the Lamb of God.  But many use the lamb cake to symbolize springtime, new life and the time for new lambs!

Read more: 2016 Easter Lamb Cake - Because He is the Lamb of God!

Why do Religious have an Annual Retreat?

Recharging your batteryPerhaps you think, as some people seem to, that religious life is so peaceful and serene that sisters have no need to recuperate.

But no, we have busy hectic lives too, and need certain times to renew ourselves, re-focus, get ourselves in shape, to re-charge our batteries.  That is why we have retreat. 

In our community we have an 8-day silent retreat and it is better than vacation.  What do we do on retreat?  Well, usually we have a retreat master, like a religious priest, come to the motherhouse.  He gives a couple conferences (talks) each day, as well as offering daily Mass.  Our schedule is more lax, we can sleep-in and don't have our regular work to do.  We keep silence except for prayers and talking at supper.  We can go to confession or speak privately with the retreat master to get advice.  And we pretty much have the rest of the day to pray, or rest.

Read more: Why do Religious have an Annual Retreat?

The Original Image of the Divine Mercy

Did you ever wonder what happened to Blessed Father Sopocko and how he continued to spread the message of God’s mercy?  Whether you have read The Diary of St Faustina Kowalska or not, perhaps in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, you have heard about the Image of Divine Mercy?

The Original Image of the Divine Mercy Documentary

This past Saturday evening, several of the Sisters and I attended a showing of the Director’s Cut of the documentary “The Original Image of Divine Mercy,” at a local parish.  There were over a hundred people in attendance, including Sisters from other religious communities in Peoria, a few local priests and many, many Peoria Catholics.  The film follows the original painting of Divine Mercy that St Faustina worked with the artist, Eugene Kazimirowski, to have painted.  It continues on what happened to the painting in the 75 years after her death, during WWII and the Cold War.  Amazing story.  With drama, humor, and commentary from many well-known Catholics.

Read more: The Original Image of the Divine Mercy

New Contributor to Our Blog: Postulant Tracy

New Postulant  Blogger for Franciscan FootprintsFebruary 15th, we had a new addition to our family: Postulant Tracy!  She comes to us all the way from Fort Lauderdale, FL.  A brave soul to arrive in Peoria during the middle of winter.

She has already started classes and volunteering at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and now we are starting her on the blog.

Stay tuned to hear about her experiences in Franciscan religious life as a postulant.

God Loves us Like a Mother

A Reflection on Isaiah 49:8-15, the first reading for the Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent

In this passage from Isaiah, we are reminded of God’s immense love and mercy toward us, which is likened to a mother’s love and tenderness for her child. What a beautiful analogy! Just as a mother's love for her child is unconditional, so is God’s love for us. There is nothing we can do (sin) that is outside of God’s mercy toward us.  Isaiah even states later in the passage that, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” Here we see just one example of God’s great love and mercy toward His people.

Another example is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 219, which states “God’s love for Israel is compared to a father’s love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother’s for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: 'God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.'"

Wishing you God’s abundant blessings on you during the remainder of this Lent.