February is Low Vision Awareness Month

Much of the information for this article was found at amd.org.

This topic is very pertinent to us at St. Anne’s!  Three of our basic care residents, in fact, are totally blind.  Other people here, including myself, face less serious vision impairments.  People can be born with conditions that result in low vision or develop problems later.  In the United States, the most common causes of low vision are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. AMD affects over fifteen million adults over the age of 50.

People with blindness can do all sorts of things, even bowling!

One of our ladies was born with sight but started losing it while in her thirties due to glaucoma. The doctors said her sight would not improve. For a time, though, she rode bicycle and worked at the hospital. Now living at St. Anne’s, she does very well for herself and even helps out in the community.

February is a good month to be aware of low vision and start making extra efforts to be helpful to those who face this challenge.  For us who live and work with the blind, we can be alert for them of obstacles which they are in danger of stumbling on.  We can guide them through an area that is cluttered or set up differently than they are used to.

If you yourself have low vision, magnification devices, electronic devices, and other technologies may be helpful to best use your remaining vision or you can learn alternative ways to do things. Here are a few practical suggestions:

  • Improve the lighting. This may not necessarily mean that you should increase the lighting or the brightness. Glare is often a problem for people with low vision. Experiment to see what works best for you. Special lights are available.
  • Use high contrast for reading and writing. Write in large letters with a broad felt tip pen on white paper.
  • Use large print books or books on tape, disk or mp3. Most libraries have a section of these. There are also special libraries for visually impaired. (I personally have taken advantage of these.)
  • Use a hand-held magnifier.

ND Vision Services here in Grand Forks is a wonderful resource.

Sr. Christina Neumann

Something special about ‘Nites’

Last week, I worked the night shift and had some thoughts to share about it.

Caught on camera!
I put our new surveillance cameras to good use.

Starting this past June, I’ve worked ‘nites’ a half dozen times.  Although our night staff are good at ensuring the health and physical well-being of our residents, they themselves are not immune to physical ailments.  When no other backup can be found, I’m called upon.  Through this, I’ve discovered: There’s something special about ‘Nites.’

Along with housekeeping and laundry, we take turns doing rounds throughout the night.  As I walk from room to room, checking on the (hopefully) sleeping residents, I am often struck by the specialness, almost sacredness, of this work.  People who can occasionally get on one’s nerves during the day are now so still, so vulnerable.  I realize that I am entrusted with the wellbeing of several priceless human beings.  They are all unique individuals who deserve my respect and my care.

I am most grateful for the opportunity to work the night shift, which gives me new insight and appreciation into the care of our residents.

I guess Gracie isn't always much help as a guard-dog!
I guess Gracie isn’t always much help as a guard-dog!

Home-made Pillows: A Hobby and Heart-felt Gift

Have you ever heard of making pillows out of hand towels and yarn?  Well, St. Anne’s resident JoAnn Beauchamp knows all about it!


She first got the idea during her school years in Langdon, ND, and after stopping for some time, she started up the hobby of pillow-making again about 20 years ago.  She was able to sell several and get a little extra spending money.  However, she has given many of these pillows away as gifts at no charge.

Pillow-making is a pastime JoAnn enjoys which also benefits others.  She has given these handmade treasures to many residents and staff here at St. Anne’s.  Now, around Valentine’s Day, she is using pretty pink towels and yarn for her pillow-making.  If you’ve been with her at Halloween time, you may have seen her working with orange yarn.  She gets some supplies from Shelly in our activity department.

I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to JoAnn for sharing her hobby with others!

~Sr. Christina M. Neumann

Elderly at St. Anne’s help teach virtues to young people

Guest Post by Lynn Lane (mother and organizer in the Club)

The past weekend Little Flowers Girls’ Club visited St. Anne’s Guest Home.  The average age of members is eight.  Generally at our meetings, the girls give a presentation on a saint and a virtue in which they have been working on.  The residents at St. Anne’s provided an excellent audience for our young girls to make these presentations.  From a six year old to ten year olds, these girls were not the least bit intimated by the kind people who reside at the Guest Home.  I was so pleased that the residents were interested in the girls presentations.

Learning and practicing virtues can be difficult.  Being with the elderly can teach these young girls about many virtues:

Faith…seeing our elderly brothers and sisters having confidence in their surroundings and caregivers.  Their past and current experiences can teach the younger generation about trust in God regardless of our state in life.

Hope…as the elderly reach a place in life in which possibility of death and eternal rest becomes nearer, they can demonstrate hope in the Lord for their eternal peace and salvation.  They can also demonstrate hope for their family who have gone before them and who will be left behind on earth with in confidence in prayer.

Love of God…the elderly can demonstrate to the youthful their love of God through regular Mass attendance and adoration which are so beautifully provided within their home.  They can also demonstrate this through the way in which they decorate their apartments or rooms and how charitable they are to others for the glory of God.

Love of Our Neighbor…living in tight-knit circumstances particularly after being independent and industrious for the majority of their lives can create hardships and more opportunity to show love of neighbor through compassion and patience for their neighbors.  Just as living at home with our families we sacrifice to make others happy and have patience when things can become annoying this is ten-fold in a living environment with multiple people.

Obedience…the elderly demonstrate obedience by following the rules established in the setting in which they are living, by being civic minded, by being good examples to the children through their interactions with others.  Most of all they demonstrate their obedience to God by serving Him, loving others and accepting help from those who are trying to glorify God through a ministry of love and assistance.

Piety…the elderly can demonstrate this by desiring always to do that which is pleasing to God.  They can express this through actions and conversations with staff, visitors and neighbors.

Humility…as our bodies age they can disappoint us through limitations and pain.  It is a humbling experience.  The elderly are phenomenal examples of persevering despite their bodies limitations.  They can show us how to glorify God through the things they are able to accomplish, especially creatively accomplish.

Industry…we can learn from the elderly and from the staff and leaders at the Guest Home.  They work hard to make the lives happy and healthy for those that are living there.  Doing their work to glorify God.

Truthfulness…when our elderly friends can share their experiences with us through dialogue.  The good times and the bad.  Reminding us of how God has been ever present in their lives.

National Snack Food Month

There’s lots of information out there about snacking, and lots of options for non-mealtime munching.  As our society becomes busier, snacking has become even more common.  At St. Anne’s, our residents are not exempt from this cultural trend; they are provided with three snacks a day, if they wish.


Unfortunately, snacking is often not so much about satisfying hunger and nutritional needs as it is due to habit and gratifying our taste buds.

Nonetheless, we can make healthy choices when we snack.  An article by May Clinic provides some suggestions for 100-calorie snacks and has many other helpful hints.  Snacking may actually be a healthy choice to help you avoid bingeing, according to this same source.  This can also keep your blood sugars healthy, according to an informative article by AARP.  Planning ahead and divvying out appropriate portions is also a smart move for healthy snacking habits.

Fruits and vegetables are a good choice in that they provide needed vitamins and minerals and also fewer calories than many other choices.  Whole-grain snacks are another good option, as they “are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which give you energy with staying power,” according to this Mayo Clinic article.  Low-fat whole-grain crackers, whole-grain pretzels and whole-grain crispbreads are a few suggestions.  Various sources also laud the use of nuts as a snack food; they provide needed protein and, due to the longer time they take to digest, they make you feel full longer (AARP article).  They also, according to one online source for seniors, “are a rich source of antioxidants, healthy fats and calories.”  Nuts can be a great alternative to chips and “junk food” when you’re craving something salty and crunchy.  If you need some protein, boiled eggs can also be a good choice, says this source for seniors.  Some other healthy ideas are: Rice cakes, granola, trail mix, and dried fruit.

Dairy products can also be beneficial, as they are a good source of calcium and provide protein; be careful, though, of the extra sugar or fat contained in some of these.  Low calorie/light yogurt, for example, is a nutritious option.

As people age, fiber is something to look for.  Dietary fiber, according to helpguide.org, along with helping with bowel regularity, can also decrease risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes; it can also “improve the health of your skin, help you lose weight, and boost your immune system and overall health.”  This article continues to point out that our digestive systems become less efficient as we age and thus fiber becomes more important.  It is suggested that women over 50 get over 20 grams daily, and men, at least 30.  With this goal in mind, snacks such as whole grains, wheat cereals, barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, carrots, celery, and tomatoes, apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears are healthy options.

Unfortunately, as we age, our metabolism decreases which can easily lead to “putting on the pounds.”

As we get older, along with healthy eating between meals, sufficient hydration throughout the day is very important.  According to this same helpguide, people can be more susceptible to dehydration when they get older because they “lose some of the ability to regulate fluid levels and our sense of thirst is may not be as sharp.”  Remember to drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses a day).  Doing so can even curb your appetite and reduce your “need” for a snack.

Celebrating the Year for Consecrated Life at St. Anne’s

image012By Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF

Did you know that Pope Francis has named this the Year for Consecrated Life?  And tomorrow, February 2, is actually the World Day For Consecrated Life (though the celebration is transferred to the following weekend for parish observation).  This is relevant for St. Anne’s Guest Home because, since 1952, Franciscan Sisters have served the vulnerable and needy at St. Anne’s, first at the home in Fargo and then in Grand Forks.  For more information about the history of St. Anne’s, please visit the “About Us” section of our website; the bottom half of the page is devoted to this intriguing topic.

If you receive our monthly newsletter, The Broadcaster, you may have noticed (in our February issue) that we’ve started printing the names of the Sisters who have served here.  I, personally, find history very interesting, and so I thought I would share information I found about these women.  At the bottom of this post, you will find a list of Sisters from St. Anne’s.  (On an aside: this year, February 2nd is doubly special for me, personally, since it is the ten-year anniversary of my reception as a postulant in Hankinson.)


~ ~ ~

In celebration of this year, we sisters at St. Anne’s convent will be hosting an evening gathering, during which we invite people to pray with us, see our convent, and join in an informal discussion about this beautiful vocation.  Anyone interested in attending may e-mail me at: [email protected].

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also has more information about celebrating this special year.

Sisters from St. Anne’s History
Sr. Ankonita Wank ~ 1952-80 ~ Nurse’s aide
Sr. M. Bruno Meir ~ 1952-54 ~ Housework
Sr. M. Bega ~ 1952-55 Night watch – nurse’s aide
Sr. Imelda Wald – 1952-55, 1986-94 ~ Returned as school librarian – Holy Family
Sr. Redempta Graf ~ 1952-59 ~ Laundress
Sr. M. Kuniberta Saumweber 1952-69 ~ Seamstress
Sr. Frieda Ammann ~ 1952-86 ~ Nurse’s aide
Sr. M. Martha Pung ~ 1952-88 Nurse’s aide, receptionist
Sr. Arnoldine Nieberler ~ 1952-96 Administrator, bookkeeper, receptionist
Sr. M. Ebermunda Witzinger 1953-56 ~ Bakery & cook
Sr. Paschalina Schaflitzel ~ 1953-61 ~ Retired
Sr. Amalfrieda Geers ~ 1953-66 ~ Nurse’s aide
Sr. M. Gradulfa Radlinger ~ 1953-67 ~ Cook & vegetables
Sr. Solisia Bachfischer ~ 1954-57 ~ Cook
Sr. M. Pizara Wachter ~ 1954-68 ~ Laundress
Sr. Richarda Huber ~ 1955-95 ~ Personal care aide, housekeeping
Sr. Susanna Kuhner ~ 1956-? ~ Domestic
Sr. Angeline Althoff ~ 1956-58 ~ Nurse’s aide
Sr. M. Baldina Asam ~ 1956-59, 1961-74 ~ Domestic
Sr. M. Albana Almis ~ 1956-61 ~ Domestic
Sr. Quinteria Endred ~ 1956-64 ~ Bakery
Sr. M. Bernwarda Engelschalk ~ 1956-81 ~ Night duty – nurse’s aide
Sr. M. Maxentia ~ 1957-62 ~ Bakery
Sr. M. Philiberta Glass ~ 1958-65? ~ Retired – worked in sewing room
Sr. Itisberga Sutor ~ 1958-67 ~ Retired
Sr. Joffrieda Kolnsberger ~ 1958-69 ~ Domestic
Sr. Jordana Meyer ~ 1958-69 ~ Cook
Sr. Vicina Deissler ~ 1961-67 ~ Retired
Sr. Riveria Haidner ~ 1961-70 ~ Cook
Sr. M. Fortuna Gunther ~ 1962-65 ~ Administrator
Sr. Hilda Hammerl ~ 1962-96 ~ Personal care aide, housekeeping
Sr. Antoinette Mathern ~ 1963-73, 1975-85 ~ Activities and recreation
Sr. Alverna Goldade ~ 1964-67 ~ Domestic
Sr. M. Perpina Haimerl ~ 1965-68 ~ Administration
Sr. Rebecca Metzger ~ 1966-87; 1992-present ~ Activity and occupational therapy; administrator
Sr. Stella Zeller ~ 1966-97 ~ Bakery & dietary
Sr. M. Linda Nonowizki ~ 1967-81 ~ Seamstress
Sr. Konradine Maier ~ 1968-2004 ~ Dietary, sacristy
Sr. M. Doretta Meier ~ 1968-72 ~ Housekeeping; student
Sr. Mary Jane Reiber ~ 1968-74 ~ Administrator
Sr. Mechtrudis Ritter ~ 1969-77 ~ Food supervisor
Sr. Ursula Altenburger ~ 1969-80 ~ Nurse’s aide & domestic
Sr. Norbertine Propster ~ 1969-81 ~ Housework
Sr. Marilyn Hiedeman ~ 1970-73 ~ Cafeteria – student
Sr. Seraphica Uelpenich ~ 1970-81 ~ Teaching & housework
Sr. Alexandra Frey ~ 1970-93 ~ Housekeeping & dietary
Sr. Annella Miller ~ 1971-73; 1983-2011 ~ Personal care; social ministry
Sr. M. Beata Seil ~ 1972-2008 ~ St. James, retired
Sr. Elaine M. Roggenbuck ~ 1972-present ~ Bookkeeper, administrator
Sr. M. Lisa Bayer ~ 1973-76 ~ Personal care aide
Sr. Jeanette Karst ~ 1976-80 ~ Personal care aide
Sr. M. Rose Schatz ~ 1977-? ~ Cook
Sr. Agatha Wald ~ 1978-97 ~ Housekeeping & dining room
Sr. Lucy Schoenberg ~ 1986-2002 ~ Teacher at Holy Family
Sr. Catherine Zitzelberger ~ 1988-2002 ~ Receptionist & nursing
Sr. Carolyn Althoff ~ 1992-2008 ~ Receptionist
Sr. M. Joyce Gagne ~ 2000-2009 ~ Receptionist
Sr. Christina M. Neumann ~ 2009-present ~ Receptionist

Amaryllis Update

I wanted to share a couple of pictures of how our amaryllis has grown since last week.  The first picture is from Wednesday, January 21st.  The others are from this morning (January 31st)


One of our residents has talked to the plant and and another has reportedly even kissed it; no wonder it is growing so well with all the TLC.  (Neither of these individuals are pictured here.)


Gratitude: A Recipe for Joy

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Guest Post by Kathy Neumann

Do you want a more joy filled life?  There are some things we can do to live life more joyfully and abundantly.  We can cultivate the practice of gratitude, be thankful for the simple ordinary moments, live in the moment, and let go of the fears that rob us of joy.  There is a strong relationship between gratitude and joy.  Have you noticed how grateful people are joyful people?  Look at the sisters here at St. Anne’s – thankful and joyful.

Practicing the attitude of gratitude is very important to having joy, says Brené Brown in her book: The Gifts of Imperfection.  Some ways of practicing gratitude are keeping a gratitude journal (or keeping a gratitude-note jar), doing a daily meditation/prayer on gratitude, and reminding yourself daily of the blessings in your life.  Pay attention and notice the good things that we often take for granted.  When we’re having a busy, stressful, or bad day, stop and say out loud, “I am grateful for __________”

Joy often comes in simple ordinary moments, not extraordinary moments.  Our most precious memories are ordinary moments.  When my daughter was away at college, she once said, “Mom, it’s not the big events, it’s the little everyday things that I miss most.”  It was sitting down to a bowl of homemade soup with family, taking a walk with us, playing with the dog she missed.  Consciously enjoying the simple, ordinary small things and moments in life and gratefully acknowledging this is what life is about.  Our culture dismisses the quiet, ordinary, hardworking men and women.  We equate ordinary with boring or meaningless.  People who have had tremendous loss, for example; the loss of a child, violence, trauma, hold on to the sacred, ordinary, everyday moments to find their joy again.  Live in the moment and be grateful for what is right in front of you.

So what gets in the way of joy? Fear and worrying.  Fear of hard times or losing what we love most.  Fear that something terrible will happen.   Fear or uncertainty of not having enough: time, food, money.  Marianne Willamson said, “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”  When you’re feeling fearful or that you don’t have enough, or aren’t enough, try acknowledging the fear and practice gratitude.  Say out loud, “I’m feeling vulnerable; it’s ok, I’m grateful for _____”   Living in gratitude doesn’t mean denying the sorrows that come but remembering to notice the good around you and balance those hard times with gratitude.

Say thank you to God and to others frequently during the day, and ask God to help you remember to be grateful.  Listen to or read the lyrics to “What a Wonderful World.”  Trees, flowers, birds, seasons, sunshine; our world is pure gift. Thank God even for the “darkness” for it, too, teaches us great lessons and builds character.