Who is She? Our Lady of Częstochowa

Our Lady of CzęstochowaRecently, a long-time friend of the Sisters at St. Anne’s donated a couple of items here which had belonged to his deceased mother.  One was readily recognized as a carving to the Last Supper.  The identity of the other piece took a bit more investigation.  

Although not well-versed in Polish art, Sr. Christina mused, “I wonder if that isn’t Our Lady of Czestochowa, the Black Madonna.”  Her dark completion and the painting’s antique, iconic style were definite clues.

With a bit of research, this initial conclusion was confirmed.  The tell-tale scratch marks on Mary’s right cheek solidified the speculation.  Actually, as the story goes, thieves were attempting to vandalize the painting.  Among other things, they stabbed at the face of Our Lady.  We are told that, despite multiple attempts to undue the damage wrought by these villains, the marks have remained.  

This is not the only interesting tidbit connected with this image of the “Queen of Poland.”  Legend has it that St. Luke actually painted the image on a table made by St. Joseph, which would date the piece back to the first century.  St. Helena, who identified the True Cross on a voyage to the Holy Land, is said to have brought the icon back with her.  Historians, however, are more likely to trace the painting to the sixth or ninth centuries.  Whenever its origin, it may well be that the painting was passed from family to family in royal dowries until it made it to Poland!

Another legend around the painting states that Prince Ladislaus was taking the prized depiction of Mary somewhere, when, suddenly, his horses stopped, refusing to go any further.  He took this as a sign that image was to remain at that exact location, Częstochowa.

There are some variations in these legends, and some accounts tend to blend together.  We do know that the image probably came to the place whose name it took on sometime in the 1300s.

One may wonder why the image of Our Lady is so dark.  Smoke and soot damage probably account for this distinct characteristic of the painting.  Interestingly, some make the connection of the black color with a passage in the Song of Songs, where the beloved is described as “black and beautiful.”

In the 1430s, it was painted over because of severe damage it had undergone at the hands of vandals.  The restorations which have occurred over the centuries have remained true to the original content, but the style changed with the time. 

One of our residents, originally from the Warsaw (North Dakota) area, was familiar with her, and even recalled the damage to the face on the painting.


  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Madonna_of_Cz%C4%99stochowa
  • http://saintsresource.com/our-lady-czestochowa
  • http://www.polishamericancenter.org/Czestochowa.htm
  • https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/c/czestochowa-black-madonna.php
  • http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/czesto.htm
  • https://www.english.op.org/godzdogz/our-lady-of-czestochowa-queen-of-poland

Senior Housing at St. Anne’s

It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it?

But, one thing we’ve hopefully all gained is a greater appreciation for the blessings we do have: Family and friends, our health, and a place to call home.

At St. Anne’s Living Center, we’re all kind of like family to each other, and there’s always a friend or two around to visit. So, if you’re look for a caring living environment, a place to call home in your retirement years, check out St. Anne’s!

Visit us online at stannesguesthome.org or call 701-746-9401.

Exciting News from St. Anne’s!

This week, the Board of Directors approved a new logo for St. Anne’s.  It is an exciting step for our facility which has been providing a caring home for elderly and disabled individuals for 75 years now.

The move to adopt a new logo was begun earlier this fall, in efforts to have a more contemporary design that incorporated the facility’s name and enhanced recognition.  The new logo also incorporates important symbolism, sharing core values of St. Anne’s.

The roof image at the top illustrates the home-like environment St. Anne’s provides.  The ‘t’ made into a cross points to our Christ-centered service of those in need.  The butterflies convey hope and new life.  The phrase “Living Center” describes the nature of our facility, especially to those unfamiliar with our mission.  It serves as an umbrella term to encompass both wings of the Home: St. Anne’s Guest Home (Basic Care Unit) and St. Anne’s Housing for the Elderly (HUD Apartments).  This name had been adopted a couple of years ago as a more descriptive title for the facility.

The new logo will be utilized across various platforms and media.  We are even getting new masks and jackets featuring the new logo!

Since the mid-1940s, St. Anne’s has been offering a caring home for those in need in eastern North Dakota.  It At that time, a home was opened in Fargo, serving homeless men who had been accustom to “riding the rails” from place to place, but whose health no longer allowed them to maintain this lifestyle. 

In the early years, the Sisters served twelve such men, whom they named their “twelve apostles.”  The home was called “St. Anne’s Guest Home,” as the men there were looked after with dignity and respect and treated as guests. 

The home eventually moved to Grand Forks, utilizing the former St. Michael’s Hospital.  By the early 1980s, when that building was no longer up to fire codes, the Sisters moved once again, this time to the current location, which had previously been the convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph serving in area schools. 

St. Anne’s continues to serve elderly and disabled individuals from various backgrounds.  Nursing, housekeeping, laundry, and personal care services are provided as well as various activities.  St. Anne’s also has a chapel with spiritual opportunities. 

Our mission at St. Anne’s is to provide a safe, caring, and family-like home for our residents. Inspired by St. Francis, we strive to serve each person who comes to us as we would Christ. We welcome those who come to us from various backgrounds, treating them with love and dignity while providing for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Visitor Update

Due to our county and state still being at high risk for COVID-19, we are unable to allow visitors into our facility at this time.

We are happy to accommodate phone/video calls for interested family/friends.

Cold Weather’s Coming…Update for Visitors

We all know that the cold weather is coming (faster than we’d like).  Therefore, we have developed a visitor policy for when it is no longer nice enough to meet with your loved ones outside. 

As before, you must:

  • Call before to make an appointment
  • Go through screening process upon arrival:\
    –Temperature Check
    –Questionnaire regarding possible symptoms or exposure
  • Wear a mask upon entry and throughout your entire time here
  • Practice social distancing
  • Sanitize hands again if at any time you cough, sneeze or touch your face

We have designated two rooms near the reception area for visits.  Only two visitors at a time per resident will be allowed. 

Visitors for apartment residents will go through the same screening and abide by the same rules.  However, they will be asked to visit in that person’s apartment, rather than the designated space by the office. 

All visitors are asked to go directly to the designated area after completing their screening process, and to avoid interaction with other residents.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we seek to protect the safety of everyone at St. Anne’s, while still allowing family contact.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Terry Hanson, D.O.N. or Sr. Rebecca, administrator at 701-746-9401.

Coping during a Pandemic

smile face(Reprinted from our September Newsletter)

Below are some tips for taking care of yourself and your mental/physical health:

Moderate the amount of news you watch.—Take breaks from the pandemic briefings. Stick to trusted sources of information and avoid hearsay (e.g., on social media) that makes you more anxious. Limit time spent on social media or other programming that you find raises your anxiety level.

Take care of your body by regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and healthy eating habits.

Connect with others in your family and faith community.

Be thankful. Along with being the “right thing to do,” an attitude of gratitude can help boost your mood and make you happier.

Share your feelings with a trusted friend.

Take time for quiet.

Take advantage of opportunities you still DO have: take a walk and enjoy the weather, catch up on sleep if you’re tired. Think of what you CAN more than what you CAN’T.

Think of ways you can help others.

Realize that this is a stressful time for everyone.

Pay attention to your feelings and thoughts. If you find yourself being negative, try to balance this with positive thinking.

Try a new hobby or learn to do something new; help move your attention off the huge problems in our world and onto something constructive and positive.

Sources: cdc.gov/coronavirus, usf.edu, buffalo.edu, vivalife.ca, theconversation.com

Getting Ready to Celebrate!


So, you may have heard about our upcoming festivities for “St. Anne’s Week,” including wearing our special shirts, dressing up on various theme days, having a party with bingo, and a little dance.  But, do you know what it’s really all about?

Who is Saint Anne, you may ask, if you are not too familiar with the history of one very important family.  St. Anne is the mother of Mary, and thus Jesus’ own grandmother.  That’s a pretty special role, wouldn’t you say?

This special woman was chosen as the patron saint of our facility actually long before St. Anne’s moved from Fargo to Grand Forks.  Celebrating her feast day (July 26) has long been a tradition for us.

Several years ago now, we started making this celebration into a week-long event, and Sr. Christina wrote a poem in its honor (See below).

If you happen to be stopping by St. Anne’s this coming week (even though we’re still limiting visitors), you may notice a bit of festivity in the air.  You might also see people dressed in a somewhat unusual manner.  The list below should be informative:

Dress-Up Theme Days
Monday, July 20 ~ Sports Day
Tuesday, July 21 ~ Colorful Sock Day
Wednesday, July 22 ~ Shorts Day
Thursday, July 23 ~ Western Day
Friday, July 24 ~ Wear Your St. Anne’s Shirt Day
Saturday, July 25 ~ Patriotic (Red, White & Blue) Day
Sunday, July 26 ~ Dress-up Day

Poem in Honor of Sts. Anne and Joachim, parents of Mary
(Based on early legends)

We make a special point each year
To honor Anne, our patron dear
When e’er her feast day comes around
Joy and fun times will abound.

This week we’ll honor Sts. Joachim and Anne.
They had a special place in God’s plan.
Though old and childless they’d become
grandparents of His only Son.

We don’t know much about this pair
but generous love they both did share.
With a special daughter they were blest
And ancient tales tell us the rest.

They were both from David’s clan,
This old woman and old man.
One eve while praying in the hills
Joachim heard news his heart to thrill.

At the same time his holy wife
heard some news that changed her life.
She was taking a garden stroll
when from her eyes great tears did roll.

A nest of young birds she had seen,
making her sorrow very keen.
Seeing these babies pierced her heart
like a stinging little dart.

For she wanted a babe of her own
One to be her own flesh and bone.
For this favor the couple did pray,
pleading for it ev’ry day.

To both, separately, an angel did speak
Off’ring the favor both did seek,
telling then that their prayer’d been heard
though at their age it seemed absurd.

Anne was told a daughter she’d bear
who would be blest through ev’rywhere.
She then met Joachim at the gate
and with him did jubilate.

Mary was born, and at three years of age
her life’s story turned a page.
Now in the temple she would live;
Her life to God she’d surely give.

Her parents brought her there one day,
in God’s presence to work and play.
They gave her wholly to the Lord
whom they both faithfully adored.

Thus goes the story of that holy pair
Their longed-for daughter they did share.
And in due time they both became
Grandma and Grandpa, called by name.

Update for families

As of Thursday, July 2, as St. Anne’s enters into Phase II of the reopening of Long-Term Care facilities, we are able to slightly ease the visitation restrictions. 

Each resident is now able to have one visitor at a time in their room.  Outside visits also continue to be an option.  Before visiting, family must call ahead to make an appointment and must wear a mask.  Upon entry, they must go through a screening process, which includes hand-sanitizing, temperature check, and a brief set of questions.  When in our facility, they must stay in the room of the resident they are visiting. 

If a resident and their family decide to go on an outing, they should keep in mind that St. Anne’s will have certain requirements upon their return.  This will be done on a case by case basis in discussion with our Director of Nursing.  Depending upon level of risk of exposure (number of people, nature of outing, geographic concerns, etc.), precautions upon return may include a two week isolation period.

This includes that the residents:

  • Will have to stay on their floor in a designated area.
  • Will have meals and medications brought to their room.
  • Will have to stay in the area and not leave the floor.

St. Anne’s is currently moving through phases with the North Dakota Department of Health, which will take time.

COVID-19 Update

Dear family and friends,

We wanted to give you an update on our current requirements and provisions for COV1D-19.

We have now gone through two rounds of testing; thankfully, our residents and staff are all negative for the virus.

We have been working closely with the North Dakota Long Term Care Association, in compliance with the governor and the State of North Dakota. We are now in “Phase 1” (of 3) as we move toward safely lifting restrictions at St. Anne’s.

Governor Burgum has stated the residents may receive visits from family and/or friends outdoors.

Screening and protocol is required:

  • Appointment must be made prior to visit (Call 701-746-940lJ
  • Temperature checks must be done.
  • Hands must be sanitized.
  • Masks must be worn.
  • Social distancing (at least 6 feet) must be maintained.
  • A maximum of two people may be visiting a resident at one time.

St. Anne’s allows visitation until 8 p.m. every night.

We am still requiring that residents stay on the property as we are still considered to be “on lock-down.”

Residents and staff will be going through two additional rounds of testing, June 27 and July 10.

Thank you for your patience as we look forward to opening our facility to all of you once again.

It’s Coming

Our residents are beginning to enjoy seeing things come to life!  

Along with the onions and tomatoes, the sage and broccoli are also starting (indoors).

Yesterday, our maintenance men also finished putting the soil in for our new growing space out beside the convent, “Mary’s Garden.”  Late in the afternoon, the potatoes got planted in the ground; everything else will have to wait a week or so.

It’s fun to see our residents take interest in this, and even offer to help.  It is a nice distraction for all of us during this challenging time.  

Our little plum trees are also doing well. Maybe, in a couple of years, we’ll get fruit from them!