Monday, June 25, 2012

Sip Slowly at Stone Creek Coffee

What's better than great tasting coffee? Great tasting fair trade coffee! On Saturday, six of us piled into a van and drove down to Milwaukee to learn more about fair trade and how we can support such an amazing movement. In Stone Creek Coffee Roaster's annual report, they wrote: "We look for two things when deciding to purchase a coffee: the quality of the coffee and the quality of life of the people producing it."

At the factory/soon-to-be-hangout, we met Steve and Kendra Hawthorne, who graciously came in on the weekend to give us a tour and some coffee. While we were there, Steve told us of his trips to South America and Africa, where he meets farmers and conducts his evaluations before agreeing to purchase coffee from them. We were touched by the stories he shared. One of my favorites was when he told us about a farmer in a third world country who works so hard to provide a good livelihood for his workers that he provides schooling for the children during the day and adult education programs for the workers at night, among other wonderful gifts.

We returned home feeling inspired by these incredible people who are truly passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. We can't wait to go back!

Stone Creek Coffee is located right across the street from Downtown Milwaukee's Amkrak/Greyhound Station! The coffee house and bakery will be open for business in September 2012.

Coffee-sack race, anyone?
Steve showed us what coffee beans (cherry pits!) look like prior to roasting.

The Four Steps of Stone Creek Coffee:
  1. Grow responsibly
  2. Roast to perfection
  3. Brew expertly
  4. Sip Slowly (we did this one)
Left to Right: Sr. Carolee, Sr. Monica (me), Sr. Leslie, Sr. Regina Rose, Sr. Natalie, and Sr. Kathleen

Kendra made delicious and beautiful lattes for us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Busy but Joyful

Camp Franciscan is back at the Motherhouse! I always look forward to it. It is a busy time, but it is also a fun time, as junior high girls run from activity to activity with their fearless high school leaders. Most, if not all of the campers have arrived, and the novices and I led them in some ice breakers in the gym. We definitely got our exercise in! The campers were laughing and seemed to be having a great time. Pictures will be posted throughout the week, so make sure to check it out by clicking here:

I have a break right now, so I decided to take the opportunity to fill you all in on what has been happening the past few weeks. As I wrote in my last entry, I participated in a 5 day silent retreat. It was a wonderful week, and I am so grateful for the wisdom of the Church to have novices do a retreat right before they make First Vows. I grew closer to the Lord, and it was so peaceful. 

Then that Saturday, June 2nd, we had a special Midday Prayer in the Novitiate Chapel during which Sr. Louise (our community director) gave me my first mission assignment. I have been assigned to teach 3rd/4th grade at St. Theresa School in Kekaha, Kauai, Hawaii! I am excited for this new adventure. It will be my first year of teaching in my own classroom. Before this, I did student teaching and substitute teaching. I also have done volunteer work (teaching religious education classes and teaching at a summer program). I will leave for Hawaii on July 25th.

The next day, June 3rd, I had my first profession. Bishop David Ricken was the celebrant. Fr. Charlie Smiech, Fr.  Tom Speier, and Fr. Sam Jadin were his co-celebrants. My godmother, my parents, and my brothers were there for the occasion. Sr. Leslie and Sr. Regina Rose were my unofficial "bridesmaids," as I called them. They made excellent "bridesmaids!" Many of our Sisters were also present for the Mass, which was nice. It was such a special ceremony....I don't even know how to describe it...Afterwards, we had a reception in the cafeteria, and my whole family was amazed to watch Bishop Ricken out-pun my dad! My dad is always saying "punny" things, and he met his match! 

I was happy to share the day and the Mass with Sr. Thi and Sr. Tuyen. They were renewing their vows, and it was their first time saying their vow formula in English (rather than Vietnamese). I thought they did an excellent job! 

I then spent the following week with my family. I was with my dad and stepmom for the first half, and my mom for the second half. I thought that worked well. It was nice to visit with my family.
This is me with my Grandma Beechnau!

One of my stops was to see my maternal grandma. It is always nice to see her! We watched a little bit of Disney's The Parent Trap together. I remember watching it with her when I was younger. She loves watching Hayley Mills. 

Now I am back at the Motherhouse. Sr. Pamela Catherine and I are in the temporary professed summer program together, and it has been nice to have her around here again. We plan on going rollerblading together again soon!

It's time to for me to join the others at camp! Please keep us in your prayers!