Franciscan - Related Content

New prayer partners

Wednesday, December 20th 2017 1:50 pm

FSPA celebrates six new spiritual collaborators

Wednesday, December 20th 2017 1:01 pm
Please help FSPA welcome six new affiliates in the community who are committed to becoming spiritual collaborators joined in sacred relationship, supporting one another to live the Gospel and...

Franciscan family reunions

Thursday, June 30th 2016 10:24 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Francis-Assisi-San-Damiano-Italy

Statue of St. Francis overlooking San Damiano in Assisi, Italy

St. Francis of Assisi knew it was important for his brothers to routinely come together. He called these gatherings Chapter of Mats, because the brothers would literally bring mats to sleep on while they camped at San Damiano. San Damiano, a church in Assisi, Italy, was the first home of the Franciscan Order. It’s where Francis heard the call from God to “rebuild my church.”

san-damiano-chapel-asisi-italy

San Damiano courtyard

Today, summer is a time when many people pack suitcases and travel to family reunions. Some unite immediate families—those we know well—and others are big extended-family events where nametags are necessary to identify aunts, uncles and cousins as members of the family. In the past 10 days I have had the opportunity to attend gatherings that identify as both.

Rose-and-Carolyn-Heil-community-days

Sisters by birth and vows of FSPA, Sisters Carolyn and Roselyn Heil, rejoice together during Community Days.

Inspired by the wisdom of St. Francis of Assisi, FSPAs from across the globe gathered at St. Rose Convent, our motherhouse in La Crosse, Wisconsin, for what we call Community Days. It was a time of inspiration as we shared stories of the people and places we serve, prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, discussed the ongoing call of ministry and celebrated each individual’s gifts as we were sent forth into mission. Spending time with one another strengthens our commitment to religious life and reminds us of the call we have each received from God to continue in the Franciscan tradition to rebuild the church today.

Chapel-Community-Days

FSPA gathered for Community Days in St. Rose Convent's Mary of the Angels Chapel (photo by Sister Nina Shephard)

Sent forth in my own mission of vocations, of sharing the invitation to religious life with FSPA, I then attended a gathering of the Franciscan Federation. The Franciscan Federation is a larger group of the Franciscan family—religious brothers and sisters who follow the Third Order Rule of St. Francis. Members of the organization that promotes “the exploration and study of Franciscan Evangelical Life and its implications for these ties and for the world” come from different Franciscan religious congregations, span the United States, serve diverse ministries, and unite in a celebration much like an extended family reunion.

We all share the same tradition and the name Franciscan but each community looks a bit different. The nametags we wear and the stories we tell of our founders help us know what part of the family we come from. Gathered around tables were sisters and brothers, each bringing a depth of lived experience to the conversations. The Federation is celebrating 50 years of existence, born from a dream of collaboration. Today the organization continues to grapple with the challenges and gifts of collaborating across congregations, ideologies and busy calendars in a world that continues to grow in diversity. The work of the Gospel always calls for innovation to meet the needs of the times we live in and the coming together of family to achieve it.

As you explore your own discernment, consider the distinctive family traits of each community: Franciscans are known as peacemakers, Dominicans as preachers, Benedictines as hospitality givers. Is it in your nature to exude peace? Are you called to join a family of Franciscans working in service of the Gospel with joyful hearts, gathering regularly to work together on important needs and seeing all of creation as brothers and sisters?

Native American Heritage Month

Monday, October 31st 2022 6:00 am

One Halloween, our daughter wanted to dress up as her favorite movie heroine, Pocahontas. The music, theme and spirit of the Disney film captured her deeply. We had a dilemma. Her 8-year-old heart was in a place of real admiration and couldn’t fully grasp why this might be perceived as disrespectful. We explained as much as we could. Still disappointed, we found another costume route and agreed to read together about native peoples. It was a family lesson about the appropriation of another culture without true knowledge of it.

National Native American Heritage Month in November invites us to explore the heritage, culture and experience of Indigenous peoples both historically and in American life today. What has humanity gained from their knowledge and experience? And what wisdom do we still find difficult to follow?

This month The Seasoned Franciscan will include recipes for foods sacred to Native Americans. What experiences do you have with corn? cranberries? wild rice? turkey? other game and fish? If you are in Wisconsin, these are all indigenous to where we live, but other regions have their own indigenous richness. Use these recipes to explore the stories they pass on.

Besides learning about Native American life, this month is a time to honor the Saints' triumphant, our own ancestors who came before us. We are invited to explore our own food heritage from the ethnic groups that most influence our identity and also what grows near where we live. What foods convey your values, spirit and stories during the holidays, for example? Please share your recipes and stories.

We’ll also touch on a few principles that may be new to you:

The Seventh Generation: Native American tribes hold dear the concept of seven generations of planning. It means that the impact of decisions today should consider the potential benefits or harm that would be felt by seven future generations. That is about 150 years. This is a principle that shaped the US Constitution!

The Seventh Generation Principle today is generally referred to regarding decisions being made about our energy, water, and natural resources and ensuring those decisions are sustainable for seven generations in the future.

For many tribes, strengthening the next seven generations starts with nutrition. Studies in their own communities document a rise in obesity, diabetes and youth becoming increasingly obese at younger ages. Studies show that native peoples who return to eating as their ancestors did rather than a Standard American Diet have positive results in their weight, chronic disease management and overall health.

Food “Sovereignty” is important to native peoples all over the world. Food Sovereignty is “the right to define, produce and consume foods that are appropriate to their culture and produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods” rather than controlled by corporations.” – Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007

Some examples of Food Sovereignty are:

  • the Oneida Nation near Green Bay is planting, harvesting, processing and sharing the indigenous white flint corn which is so healthy for their future physically, economically and spiritually.
  • American Indians in Wisconsin, Montana and other areas are carving out grazing rights for Bison and working to live in harmony with cattle rancher.
  • Our local Ho-Chunk DNR is encouraging native gardeners and farmers to grow heirloom squash for its cultural and nutritional value. These are all means to keep their lives and identity flourish for the next 150 years: seven generations!

*The first recorded concepts of the Seventh Generation Principle date back to the writing of The Great Law of Haudenosaunee Confederacy, although the actual date is undetermined, the range of conjectures place its writing anywhere from 1142 to 1500 AD. The Great Law of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy formed the political, ceremonial, and social fabric of the Five Nation Confederacy (later Six). The Great Law of Haudenosaunee Confederacy is also credited as being a contributing influence on the American Constitution, due to Benjamin Franklin’s great respect for the Haudenosaunee system of government (source: ictinc.ca).

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Mashed Butternut Squash

Monday, October 3rd 2022 6:00 am

Mashed Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, about 3 to 4 pounds
2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 T pure maple syrup plus additional to taste  (You may substitute brown sugar)
1 tsp kosher salt divided, plus additional to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper divided, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg freshly grated if possible
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper optional
1/4 C almond milk or milk of choice use half and half or full-fat coconut milk for a richer flavor
2 T Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast optional but very good
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley optional

(Some seasonings, herbs and cheese are optional for your taste. Omit the black pepper, cayenne cheese and parsley, if you plan to use the mashed or pureed squash in sweet or dessert recipes!)

Directions:

Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Wash and dry the squash. Trim off the top and bottom ends, then carefully slice it in half lengthwise. (No need to peel it.) Scoop out the seeds. Place it cut-side up on the prepared baking sheet,

Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the maple syrup. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, if using. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or longer depending upon the size of your squash, until very tender and the squash pierces easily with a fork. Let rest until cool enough to handle.

Carefully scoop out the flesh and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add spices of your choice:  nutmeg, cayenne, milk, Parmesan, parsley, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mash the butternut squash, either by hand with a potato masher, or with an electric hand mixer on low speed or stand mixer on low speed, until it is as smooth as you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like. Enjoy hot.

To store: Place leftover mashed butternut squash in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

To reheat: Gently rewarm mashed squash in a Dutch oven or skillet on the stove over medium-low heat, adding a splash of milk as needed for moisture. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave. 

To freeze: Store butternut squash in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

To make ahead: Cut the squash in half, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day in advance. You can also cut, roast, and scoop out the squash ahead of time. Store the roasted squash in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance, then finish the recipe as directed. 

Story:  Butternut Squash, one of the Three Sisters in American Indian cuisine, is a fall favorite to many!  Native American farmers planted Sister Corn to provide a sturdy stalk on which Sister Bean could climb.  Sister Squash with its big leaves shaded the ground around them all from hot sun and hungry animals. Original Local refers to the food ways of Native peoples, who called the western hemisphere home long before European settlers arrived.  On October 12, alongside Columbus Day, many communities celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day to recognize the culture, wisdom and contributions of those whose ancestors honored this land.  Perhaps we can celebrate with some ancient local foods like the 3 Sisters, cranberries, foraged greens, wild rice, fish or game.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Welcome to the Seasoned Franciscan!

Tuesday, July 26th 2022 10:19 am


Hello and welcome!

I’m Iggy Bauer, a current AmeriCorps Service Member with FSPA. I’m one of those people that likes to cook my own meals and try new things, and I avoid fast food. Even when I buy pre-made food (like macaroni and cheese or cereal), I like to dress it up when I can. When people ask me why, my usual response is, “Life’s too short to eat cr**py food.” And it is! There’s a whole world of flavors out there that we don’t always think about eating. For instance, next time you make a box of macaroni and cheese, why not add some caramelized onion and extra shredded cheese?

But even more than wanting to fill my life with good food, I want to learn and show people how to eat sustainably. This recipe-sharing page comes from a mixture of that goal and the Laudato Si’ goals that I’ve been immersing myself in for most of the last year. Laudato Si’ asks us to care for the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor, to adopt simple lifestyles, and to embrace ecological economics, all of which can be helped by being mindful of what we eat and how that affects the world around us. To me, eating sustainably is an adventure in trying new recipes and new foods, and looking at different ways to set up a meal.

Eating Seasonally

Part of the goal of this webpage is to show how to eat more sustainably by eating seasonally and locally. Food that comes from the garden in town (and the FSPA garden), or the small family farm just a few miles away, is almost always going to have a lower carbon footprint, not to mention a higher impact on the local economy and the livelihoods of our neighbors. This helps us eat seasonally, too, since the gardeners and farmers will provide what they have at the moment: cucumbers and tomatoes in the summer, squash and potatoes in the fall, meats and preserved goods in the winter, asparagus and lettuce in the spring, and everything in between.

Exploring our Heritages

But there’s another aspect to eating sustainably, and that’s remembering the people and cultural part of eating. These are things we’ve almost lost in the decades of tv dinners and boxed food. We’ve largely forgotten how to cook the way our grandmothers and their mothers did, making everything from scratch and passing recipes down through generations. While we share recipes that we remember from our childhoods (or perhaps recipes that we’ve perfected and plan to pass down in our own families), we can also discover rich recipes from cultures that may not be our own.

Embracing Indigenous and Ethnic Foods

Indigenous and ethnic groups have ways of preparing food that are incredibly flavorful and different from what we’d expect, and these foods are generally better for the land it comes from. And when we share recipes between cultures, we help grow and preserve those cultures. I encourage you to watch this TED Talk by Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe woman from White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota. She talks about how important it is to be mindful of what you’re eating by showing how her people view food as their relatives, as well as discussing some problems with our larger food systems as they currently are.

Submitting Recipes and Subscribing to our Page

I’d go into these problems more, but I’ve already talked too long. You’re here for recipes, right? Through the end of my AmeriCorps service term with FSPA, I’ll be uploading the recipes we’ve all shared one at a time throughout the week. Unfortunately, I’ll be leaving in mid-August (which is coming up faster than expected). After I’m done, Affiliate Vicki Lopez-Kaley will be taking over for me. Recipes will still be shared, but more likely only once a week.

Remember, you can always subscribe at the bottom of this page or any recipe page so that new recipes go straight to your email inbox! The best way to get recipes to us is by emailing them to ecopact@fspa.org, or by submitting physical copies to the St. Rose front desk (look for the Recipe Swap Box). We’ll keep on accepting new recipes, so please keep sending them! Happy cooking!

Sister Eulalia's Cornbread

Monday, September 12th 2022 6:00 am

Sister Eulalia's Cornbread

Here is a recipe from one of the older Sisters who worked many years in the St. Rose kitchen. It's a nice fall/winter recipe.

Ingredients:
1/2 C fat (used bacon grease) Vegetable oil is a good substitute.
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C cornmeal
1 Cup flour
2 T baking powder   
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Grease and flour a 9” x 9” pan
  3. In a medium bowl, combine fat and sugar. Add eggs and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the fat, sugar, egg mixture, alternating with the milk
  6. Bake in prepared pan for 30 to 35 minutes.  Poke a knife in the center and if it comes out clean, it's done!

Story:
Many of us did not know Sister Eulalia, yet her cornbread is remembered long after she has passed from our midst! When we make something with love, the gift and the love it embodies is present.

Memory and love linger. Christians believe that love never dies. In this recipe, remember a “house” Sister who fed and cleaned for a whole community of Sisters so that they could minister. Do you have food memories of loved ones, of a person who prepared a meal so you could be nourished in a time of need? Thank someone this week for gifts made with love. Remember them as we recall Sister Eulalia and are reminded to put love into small acts like cooking, shopping and homemaking for one or for a household.

Corn Facts:

  • Archeologists discovered evidence of corn that grew wild near modern-day Mexico City as early as 7,000 years ago.
  • Maize began as wild grass. Seeds clung to its stalk and over time farmers selected seeds from the best ears to breed a food more like what we think of as corn today.
  • Christopher Columbus described maize kernels as “affixed by nature in a wondrous manner and in form and size like garden peas.” Native to middle America, corn had never been seen by Europeans. They didn’t know how to use or grow it until natives shared their knowledge of a food source that was their sacred sister.
  • Wide-ranging trading routes brought maize to other tribes. The Iroquois dried and pounded its kernels into flour and made a paste by adding water. Sometimes nuts or berries were added. Small loaves of this paste were cooked in boiling water until they floated like dumplings. The dough was also baked or fried in oil pressed from sunflower seeds.
  • By adding wheat flour from the old world and sweeteners like maple syrup, molasses or honey, settlers built on the basics. When available, eggs and yeast improved this staple grain.
  • The use of cornmeal was important to enslaved people because flour was not often available to them. Cornbread biscuits, hoecakes (fire-roasted on the back of a clean shovel), spoon bread and corn grits were ways that poor families of all walks of life valued corn as a sustaining food. It is a favorite in the Southern and Northern states. Corn remains a sacred basic to Native peoples and throughout Central and South American cultures in the form of tortillas, tamales, corn cakes, pozole, hominy and more. 

The tidbits above are adapted from delishably.com, which is also the source of the cornbread photo.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Two-for-One Rhubarb Recipes

Friday, July 29th 2022 5:46 pm


Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

For filling, mix together: 
Diced rhubarb and sliced strawberries sliced to about the same size. Should total 5-6 Cups in any combination.
1 TBS flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup white sugar
1/2 Cup chopped nuts (optional)
Put filling in a baking pan, metal or glass. I prefer a 6 – 10 cup glass pan, as it makes a deeper, browner portion than a 9 x 12 cake pan. It’s the cook’s preference!

For topping, mix together: 
3/4 Cup oatmeal
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. Add 1/3 C melted butter and mix topping well.
  2. Distribute topping evenly over the rhubarb and strawberry filling.
  3. Bake in a preheated 325 – 350 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes.

Notes:
Sliced peeled apples may also be used instead of strawberries. If using apples, the 40 minute time is best to soften the apples.


Rhubarb Sauce

To harvest rhubarb, look for stalks that are turning red. Pull the stalk from the outside of the plant and get the roots. Don’t cut it near the ground as you want it to keep producing!

If you don’t have time or enough rhubarb to make pie or another dessert, this sauce is easy and quick. With just a little sugar, it is great on its own, over ice cream or to top yogurt. Adjust the recipe below according to the amount of rhubarb you have. This sauce is also good with other berries added. Strawberries are an example that get ripe at about the same time!

Ingredients:
2 Cups Chopped rhubarb or combination of rhubarb and strawberries.
1/2 Cup Sugar (Adjust to your own taste)
 
Directions:

  1. Wash the stalks and remove leaves and any discolored root ends.
  2. Chop into pieces about 1 inch (smaller if your stalks are thin).
  3. Add pieces to a medium size saucepan.  Remember, it will spatter when hot and could burn the cook!
  4. Sweeten it with the sugar and adjust according to your taste.
  5. Add a splash of water to help break down the fibers.
  6. Begin to cook the mixture on medium heat stirring constantly.  When it begins to bubble, turn the heat to a low simmer.
  7. Stir occasionally, so you can tell how thick it’s getting and to keep it from sticking or burning! Let it reduce to the consistency you like, about 20-30 minutes. OPTIONAL: Season the sauce after it is cooked, tasting as you go. Additions include a small amount of cinnamon, vanilla or almond extract or a little lemon zest.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the sauce completely.
  9. Store it in a covered container. It will last a couple of weeks in the fridge or freeze it for later!

Notes:
You can also freeze the raw rhubarb pieces in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air. Defrost to use when you have enough for your recipe and time!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Native American Corn Hominy Soup

Tuesday, November 8th 2022 6:00 am

Hominy Corn Soup

Ingredients:
3/4 pound pork loin chops, cubed (save the bones for the soup as well)
2 15.5 oz cans hominy, drained and rinsed
3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced
1 15.5 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large deep pot of salted water, bring the meat (and bones, if using) to a boil. Cook at a gentle boil for 45 minutes. This creates a flavorful broth.
    Add the hominy to the pot gently boil for another 45 minutes. In the meantime, boil the diced potatoes in a separate pot until fork tender, drain and cool to stop the cooking process.
    Add the cooled potatoes and beans to the soup mixture. Add up to 2 C of water to the soup until it is your desired consistency.
    Variations: Pork hocks, salt pork can be used. Omit or limit salt. You can also use chicken thighs and substitute stock instead of water.

Story:
First the chemistry, then the history and culture of hominy. Hominy is processed corn loved for its puffy, slightly chewy kernels. Hominy is the result of a long cooking process in which the mature dried flint (field) corn kernels are cooked with wood ash (aka lye) causing a chemical reaction called nixtamalization. A solution of lye (potassium hydroxide - which can be produced from water and wood ash) or of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide from limestone) is the first step. Next the husked are removed from the grains, rinsed and cooked again. Soaking the corn in lye kills the seed's germs, which keeps it from sprouting while in storage. Finally, in addition to providing a source of dietary calcium, the lye or lime reacts with the corn so that the nutrient niacin (B3) can be assimilated by the digestive tract. People consume hominy in intact kernels, grind it into sand-sized particles for grits, or into flour.  

This food and the process that allows it to be stored for years has been vital to the health and food culture of middle America. It honors their commitment to 7 generations. Many tribes strive to have a 3 year supply of dried corn on hand in case of drought or other hardship. Traders brought maize/corn along all their routes and today, it is often bartered and rarely sold.

Corn is a sacred food and bringing it from seed to table is a sacred process. Ceremonies using tobacco, drumming, songs, chants and blessings are a part of all involved. It is done with gratitude for the whole community. To see for yourself, watch the following videos showing Native people working with corn.

PBS Wisconsin: Wisconsin Foodie
Travel with Wisconsin Foodie to the Oneida Reservation outside of Green Bay, WI to meet Laura Manthe and Rebecca Webster, cousins and members of the Oneida Nation. They are part of a White Corn Growers Cooperative and are revitalizing an ancient heirloom food within the Oneida Nation, White Corn. You’ll notice their values, hard work and passion. Host Luke Zahn gets a personal tutorial on how to prepare White Corn Soup. “It is more than eating a bowl of soup. It feels like you are being woven into a very large story, a very beautiful story.” Watch it here: pbswisconsin.org.

CBS Docs: Stories from the Land
An Oneida chef and a knowledge keeper guide you through the traditional way of making Corn Soup. As we learn about the soup and how it’s made, we also learn about how the process is deeply rooted in the culture. From the way the corn is harvested, to the way hardwood ashes are used as part of the process, to the way the soup is distributed to the elders of the community as an acknowledgment of the work they do. All from a humble bowl of corn soup. Watch it here: youtube.com.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Food and Memories

Monday, November 28th 2022 6:00 am

Food and Memories

I hope you had a memorable Thanksgiving and that you can savor all the moments of Advent and Christmastime. I want to share what The Seasoned Franciscan’s focus will be for the upcoming weeks with a story.

One year, I joined my quilting friends at a craft camp: like a hunting camp for crafters! I’m not a quilter, but I did bring a wooden box of my Mom’s recipe cards and newspaper clippings faded and shaggy. I was determined to organize and enjoy them. And it was an adventure! Besides sorting them into categories (there were 45 cake recipes!), smells and stories brought me back to her table and kitchen. I laughed and cried and peppered by friends with her presence throughout the weekend.

Have you ever looked through family recipes? What memories did you discover in this cake or that bread or in a special Christmas cookie? Food is a meaningful part of our lives, in particular during the holidays.

During December and possibly into 2023, The Seasoned Franciscan invites you to: send in a favorite Christmas cookie or other celebration recipe. We encourage you to share a story of the memories the recipe evokes. Send it to ecopact@fspa.org or bring it to the SRC reception desk.

Let’s explore how food brings us together. How favorite dishes help create community, make memories and carry the stories and values of people in a unique way. We saw this in recipes from the heritage of American Indian people. How do food and memories create a connection in your heritage?

Also, on November 28th at 7 pm, PBS will air a special called “Food and Memories” by Jerry Apps and his daughter Susan Apps-Bodilly. Check your local listings for the station if you get PBS Wisconsin OR go to pbs.org and watch live on your computer.

Jerry is an author, storyteller and historian who has other specials on farm life and more. In this special, the Apps trace the food memories of their family that might spur a memory in you. Whether we grew up in town, in the city or in farm country, we can all relate to his memories around the table. Jerry says: “Food is so much more important than merely nutrition, so much more than something to eat.” Food can connect us to a much bigger story.

Learn more about food and culture:

Unless we descend from Native Americans, we all come from immigrants, right? We can look back at how food expresses our origins. To learn more about immigrant food cultures other than white European, check out another favorite PBS series called No Passport Required.

In this series, Chef Marcus Samuelson goes to major US cities to explore how immigrant populations keep culture and values alive through food. An Ethiopian adopted by a Swedish family, Chef Marcus has a unique sensitivity to how food expresses identity. He visits Philadelphia’s Italian American sub-culture through delis, food “clubs” and restaurants. In Houston, he explores Nigerian and West African food traditions. He does all of this with great questions, respect and a sense of fun.

Here are some of his travels for surprising cultures and food traditions. Go with him to Boston for Portuguese, Brazilian and Cape Verdean food, Las Vegas for Chinese, Chicago for Mexican, LA for Armenian, Seattle for Filipino, New Orleans for Vietnamese, Detroit for Middle Eastern, Queens, NYC for Indo-Guyanese, Miami for Haitian, and Washington, DC for his own Ethiopian foods. Marcus shows us the connections between food, culture and identity in an educational and fun adventure: no passport required.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Uncooked Cranberry Relish

Monday, November 14th 2022 6:00 am

Blossoms

Uncooked Cranberry Relish

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce bag of whole fresh cranberries, washed and patted dry (remove any bruised or unripe fruits)
1 thin-skinned, seedless orange
1 C sugar

Directions:

  1. Wash the cranberries and orange and pat dry. Remove any bruised or unripe berries. 
  2. Cut the oranges into quarters. Remove the seeds and then chop them up roughly.
  3. Either in an old-fashioned meat grinder or food processor, chop the raw cranberries and oranges.
  4. Transfer to a glass or ceramic serving bowl and add the sugar.
  5. Cover with plastic and let stand for 24 hours. Refrigerate after that; this will keep for 2 weeks.
  6. Leftovers can be used as a dressing for leftover turkey sandwiches.

Story: 
The recipe above is an old-fashioned salad for holiday tables. What canned, cooked, or other cranberry recipes are in your food heritage? Cranberries or Mashkiigimin in Ojibwe have been used by American Indians for many purposes. The berry has immense medicinal properties. It is high in antioxidants and many other nutrients. Its juice can be used as a dye to brighten the colors of blankets and rugs. English settlers thought the cranberry flower resembled a Sandhill crane and gave it the name “cran” berry as you can see in the photo above from the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers. The site also has some great recipes!

Today, cranberries are farmed. They don’t grow in water, but on land. Wisconsin cranberry marshes are flooded when the fruit is fully ripe to help in the harvest. Inside each berry are small air pockets that allow them to float so modern harvesting machines can easily pick them up. Cranberries are the leading fruit crop of Wisconsin, its official state fruit. Sauce, dried and fresh cranberries make up 95% of its use. Because of their tartness, only about 5% are consumed as juice. Cranberry information is from the American Indian School Nutrition toolkit.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Italian Biscotti

Monday, November 28th 2022 6:00 am

Italian Biscotti

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 C plus 2 T sugar
1 stick (1/2 C) butter or margarine, softened
1 T brandy
1 – ½ T anise seeds
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray.
  2. Beat the eggs by hand or in a mixer. Add sugar and beat together.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat softened butter and combine with the sugar/egg mixture. Add liquid flavorings.
  4. Gently stir dry ingredients into the egg/sugar/butter mixture.
  5. Form dough into 2 loaves on a large parchment paper lined or sprayed cookie sheet. Loaves should be about 3/4” high x 4” wide x 8” long. Space the loaves at least 2 inches apart to allow for rising during baking.
  6. 1st Bake: Bake at 350 degrees for 15–20 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Check frequently. Remove from oven and carefully move loaves to a cooking rack until cool. Increase oven heat to 375 degrees.
  7. Transfer loaves one at a time to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. This can be done straight across the loaf or at a 45-degree angle.
  8. 2nd Bake: Lay each biscotto on its side on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and toast at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, turning each one over after 5 minutes.
  9. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Serve with coffee or wine for dunking!

Story: 
Biscotti means “twice baked.” Some historians believe that these semi-sweet biscuits traveled on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria because they were dry, did not mold and tasted better than the tradition fare of hardtack and dried meat. Today, they can be found with every flavor and ingredient imaginable and vary from tender, like in this recipe, to very hard.

In many Italian families, biscotti are a celebration cookie made for Christmas, Easter, Weddings, and Baptisms. I remember that one of my brothers-in-law took such a liking to the biscotti that my Auntie made for our wedding that for years he asked for “those good hard cookies” at every Kaley Christmas. And he got them! We think he liked to dunk them in wine as was our custom!

Many wedding preparation folks say, “You do not just marry your spouse, but you marry the family.” Food can carry family stories and make the blending easier. I love making biscotti to honor and remember my family and their values. We like the traditional biscotti and a great double chocolate variety, but we have also literally made room for contributions of other Christmas cookies that join the family parties as our circle widens.

As families bend and grow, it is good to honor those who came before us. Even the smallest food traditions or customs, help us remember where and who it is we came from! Celebration foods can hold memories to share with all those around the table.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Switchel - Refreshing Summertime Drink

Friday, August 26th 2022 6:00 am

Switchel - Refreshing Summertime Drink

Ingredients:
1/3 C sugar
2/3 C water
1/4 C mint
1/4 C lemon balm (or substitute with more mint!)
1/2 C fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 C orange juice
2 quarts ginger ale

Directions:

  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil and set aside. Squeeze citrus juices and finely chop mint and lemon balm.
  2. Add orange and lemon juices to the hot sugar syrup. Remove from the heat, add chopped herbs and cover. Let steep for at least 1 hour.
  3. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer or sieve. Add ginger ale and serve chilled.
  4. Note: All mint may be used instead of lemon balm.

Story:
Meg Paulino got this recipe from an herb farm in Seattle many years ago and it is her favorite summertime drink!

This drink was often served to farmers at hay harvest time to quench the thirst of parched field workers and is sometimes called “haymaker’s punch”. Lemons are rich in electrolytes and Switchel sounds more refreshing than Gatorade on a harvest time day.

Switchel dates back to colonial times when products like maple syrup would have been used for sweetener. Vinegar and ginger juice were common ingredients in the absence of acidic lemon and modern ginger ale.  Stories are told of gatherings of the Constitutional Congress where a punch bowl of Switchel was served sweetened with cane sugar or molasses and spiked with rum all from the West Indies.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, and food stories so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Double Zucchini Recipes!

Friday, August 12th 2022 3:29 pm

Zucchini Waffles

Depending on the size of your waffle baker, this recipe should yield anywhere from 4 (large) to 8 waffles.This recipe can also be used for pancakes.Have leftover waffle batter? Use all of the batter to make waffles and freeze the leftovers! Homemade frozen waffles! Just for fun: add in some chocolate chips! Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 cup milk any: whole, 2%, almond 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
1 cup plain yogurt
1 heaping cup grated zucchini squeezed in a dishtowel or cheese cloth

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, yogurt and the grated zucchini. Fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until somewhat smooth and combined.
  2. Preheat your waffle baker and spray with non-stick baking spray or wipe down lightly with butter to grease the waffle baker. Cook waffles (using about 1/2 cup batter per waffle) until golden and crisp. Every waffle baker is different so cook according to waffle baker instructions. Mine takes about 2 1/2 minutes per waffle. Repeat until all of the waffle batter has been used. Serve with fresh fruit or maple syrup if desired! Enjoy!

Notes:
If freezing the waffles, they freeze and re-heat better if they are smaller so, with my waffle baker, I break/separate my waffles into the little triangles and freeze those.

Story:
It's zucchini season! This over-abundant veggie is a form of summer squash, and I've always found it hard to use it all up without freezing it. But I also have a deep love for breakfast foods, especially pancakes. I'll be trying the pancake version of this recipe soon, I think! Recipe submitted by Vicki Lopez-Kaley.


Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable oil or applesauce
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups zucchini, shredded
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat together the oil and sugar.
  3. Add the egg and mix well.  Add the vanilla and shredded zucchini and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl and beat until combined.
  6. Use butter or oil to grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.  Spread mixture into prepared pan (batter will be thick) and smooth into an even layer.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center of the brownies springs back when gently touched.  Cool on a wire cooling rack.
  8. Frost brownies once they are completely cooled, if desired.

Notes:

  • Cut granulated sugar in half (3/4 cup), and use 1 cup wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour (instead of 2 cups all-purpose flour) for a healthier version of this recipe!
  • You can also add nuts, caramel, marshmallows, chocolate or peanut butter chips, or whatever you'd like to the top of the brownie batter right before putting it into the oven.

Story:
Remember being a kid? The other day, the FSPA garden hosted the Boys and Girls Club for a weeding extravaganza. Sister Lucy also had the kids try store-bought veggies versus garden-harvested ones, and she made these brownies to go with it. The kids could almost always tell which veggies came from the garden! And when it came to the brownies, they preferred the ones without nuts. I wonder if I could have told the difference between veggies when I was a kid? Recipe submitted by Sister Lucy Slinger.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Pasta Fresca

Monday, September 26th 2022 6:00 am

Pasta Fresca

Ingredients:
4 C chopped ripe tomatoes
6-8 large fresh basil leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound butterfly (bow tie) or fusilli pasta
½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes (The block type, can be substituted.)
grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (optional)

(Fresh Mozzarella comes in a large white ball sealed in plastic or in other sizes. It is sometimes packaged in a slightly salted liquid. Fresh is creamier and softer than block cheese, and worth a taste! Try Belgioso brand, an award-winning cheese made in Denmark, WI near Green Bay!)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil.
Set aside 1 cup of the chopped tomatoes and 2 of the basil leaves. In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining tomatoes and basil with the garlic and olive oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When the water comes to a rolling boil, stir in the pasta. Return to a boil. Cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Cut the reserved basil leaves into thin strips.
Drain the cooked pasta. Toss it immediately with the mozzarella cheese cubes. Add the sauce and mix well.
Top with the reserved tomatoes, basil, and grated cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Per 8 oz serving: 273 calories, 11.7g protein, 9.2 grams fat, 36.2 grams carbohydrate, 173 mg sodium, 63 mg cholesterol

Story:
Summer abundance. It pours forth richly and wonderfully in oh so many ways. Including tomatoes! Making quick and easy meals gives us more time to enjoy summer abundance. This is one of the Margaret Bluske family's favorite quick and easy recipes, made all the more delicious by the fact that it is strictly for this time of year when the tomatoes are vine-ripened and the basil is fresh. Enjoy, courtesy of The Moosewood Collective and Margaret Bluske.

Buying local can be as local as our own garden tomatoes, basil and garlic. It used to mean foraging in the nearby forest or hunting and fishing, too.  In our day, buying local is a discipline that can do wonders for the earth. Buying from local storekeepers, farmers, and industries honors people who work the land and support the community through goods and services. When a household, workplace or any institution to which we belong buys local, the connection we have with our neighbors grows stronger.

Consider these local sources: farmer's markets, local food co-op, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), bartering, regional farms and businesses like Belgioso Cheese noted above.  Although we may sometimes enjoy the convenience of shopping online or at a big chain, the effort to buy local protects the earth and all who inhabit Our Common Home all year and in this Season of Creation.

The photo above was taken at Pedal Pushers’ Café in Lanesboro, Minnesota. They buy fresh and local organic food – Farm to Table - as much as possible, saving fuel, pesticides/herbicides, local jobs and the family farm economy.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Sister Sarah's Unbelievable 3-ingredient Vegan Chocolate Pie

Friday, August 19th 2022 12:31 pm


Sister Sarah's Unbelievable 3-ingredient Vegan Chocolate Pie

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce bag of vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-ounce block of silken tofu, drained (see more about Tofu below)
1 vegan graham cracker pie crust

Directions:

  1. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips for 45 seconds. Mix with a fork until smooth. (If the chocolate is still lumpy, microwave for 20-second intervals, mixing in between, until the chocolate is completely smooth.)
  2. In a blender or food processor/blender, blend the melted chocolate and tofu, until creamy.
  3. Pour the tofu-chocolate mixture into the pie crust and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until the filling solidifies. The pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  4. Top it with whatever you like..bananas, coconut, nuts, a pinch of sea salt, a little red pepper...or eat it in its delicious simplicity.

Notes:
Some folks add a little vanilla to the mixture.

Story:
This recipe was submitted by Sister Eileen McKenzie, who says: "Sr. Sarah Hennessey introduced me to this amazingly delicious and unbelievably simple chocolate pie recipe. Enjoy!"

I'm always ready for chocolate, and it's even better when I find something easy to make! I hope we all enjoy this recipe; just reading it is making my mouth water for a yummy, creamy cool chocolate pie. It sounds perfect for these dog days of summer!

More about Tofu: Tofu is made from soybeans. The beans are cooked and the remaining liquid (soymilk) is coagulated. The resulting curds are pressed into solid white blocks of varying softness; it can be silken, soft, firm, extra firm or super firm.

Silken tofu is tender and prized for its smooth texture. It’s made with a coagulant which produces a jelly-like texture. In contrast to the traditional style of tofu, also known as “regular” tofu, “block” tofu, or “brick tofu”, silken tofu does not have holes visible to the naked eye. is a common egg substitute for vegan baking recipes. Because precise measurements are more important in baking than in cooking, excess water can negatively affect your baking recipe.

To drain Tofu: Place your silken tofu on a plate and let it sit for a few minutes. The tofu will weep. Once the excess liquid pools on the plate, you can easily pour out the water.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe!  You will then receive an email after each new post.  Remember, we're always looking for new recipes,  and food stories so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Peach Cobbler

Wednesday, July 27th 2022 10:30 am

Peach Cobbler

Ingredients for peach filling:
5 peaches (peeled, cored, and sliced)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for batter:
6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
Ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Add sliced peaches, sugar, and salt to a saucepan and stir to combine. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes, until sugar is dissolved and juices are coming from the peaches. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice butter into pieces and add to a 9x9 inch baking dish (or baking dish of similar size). Put dish with butter into the oven and allow butter to melt while oven preheats. Remove the dish from the oven once the butter is melted.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk until just combined. Pour the batter mixture into the dish on top of the melted butter and smooth it into an even layer.
  4. Spoon the peaches and juice over the batter. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, to taste.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 38-40 minutes. Serve warm with maple nut ice cream, if desired.

Notes:

  • If you use canned peaches, then do not use the 3/4 cup white sugar or 1/4 teaspoon salt in “Ingredients for peaches,” and skip step one. Make sure to keep the juice with the peaches, do not drain it out.
  • You can substitute any ice cream for the maple nut, but that’s my favorite with this recipe!
  • For an extra kick, add some ginger to the cinnamon sprinkled on top. Or omit the cinnamon/ginger altogether.

Story:
Every time summer comes around, I start craving peach cobbler. I know the peaches are ripening and perfectly juicy, and just waiting to be baked up and served with ice cream. This is a recipe that I've adapted over the years and one that I hope to pass on to my daughter!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Three Sisters Harvest Bowls

Monday, October 10th 2022 6:00 am

Three Sisters Harvest Bowls

Ingredients:
For the squash:

2 C butternut, Seminole pumpkin or kabocha squash, peeled and cubed
pinch of salt
1 T balsamic vinegar (other vinegars will do)
1 T olive oil

For the beans and corn:
1-2 T olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, diced (other mild onion will do)
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 T chopped fresh parsley (1 ½ tsp dried)
1 T chopped fresh sage leaves (1 ½ tsp dried)
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves (1/3 tsp dried)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (1/3 tsp dried)
2 ears corn (about 1½ C)
1 1/2 C pre-cooked or canned beans
salt and pepper, to taste
Serve with: wild rice, quinoa, arugula, or kale

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the squash cubes with salt, vinegar, and olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until tender all the way through when you poke them with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in a large Dutch oven for a few minutes, stirring. Add celery. Cook until both are soft and translucent. Stir in the red pepper and herbs.
  4. Slice the corn off the cobs and stir into the pot. Gently fold in the beans. Simmer, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Build your bowl with wild rice, quinoa, kale, and/or arugula as the base. Top with the corn and beans mixture and roasted squash. Garnish with some fresh herbs, as you like.
  6. Learn more about peeling, cubing and roasting squash here and learn more about how to substitute dried herbs with fresh here.

Story:
Indigenous People's Day this week (see below) invites us to explore native culture and foods. Native American languages do not use the pronoun "it" when referring to the natural world. "It" is for items made by human hands. Trees, animals, rocks and water are "he" or "she." How would humans treat the earth if we spoke of creation as brothers and sisters? If we saw in each creature the presence of the divine? Saint Francis of Assisi did as he prayed "Laudato Si'" or "Praised be the Lord through Sister Air." Would we listen to earth’s wisdom before imposing our ideas and consumer mentality on members of our family? How should we treat our relatives, the soil, plants and rivers? The ore and oil and gas deep in the earth? 

The companion planting technique devised by indigenous farmers called "3 Sisters" is still practiced today. Planted in the same bed, corn provides a trellis for the beans, beans add nitrogen to the soil, and large squash leaves shade out the weeds around all three. This companion planting allows all three sisters and the whole community to thrive. Something for humans to imitate!

Columbus Day (October 12) acknowledged Christopher C. and other explorers who came to the western hemisphere in the 14 and 1500's. Indigenous People's Day (around October 12) is new in some communities to acknowledge and celebrate the original people who lived on land we now occupy, whole nations who were often displaced or destroyed along with their language, food ways, spirituality. We can work for justice. See: htpps://www.fspa.org/content/ministries/justice-peace/privilege-racism. We will explore more in November, during American Indian Heritage Month with recipes and stories. Share your favorite recipe for squash, wild rice, berries and cranberries!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

The Season of Creation

Thursday, September 1st 2022 6:00 am

Season of Creation 2022

Earth has distinct seasons, each with unique gifts, wisdom and challenges. In faith communities, we observe seasons of fasting, feasting, quiet listening and high holy ceremonies, public and private.  A person’s life and the life of a community are made up of seasons as we mature and hear the signs of the times.

This year – from Sept. 1 to the feast of St. Francis on Oct. 4 – Pope Francis invites us to enter deeply into “The Season of Creation.” It is a time to reflect on how we cultivate our relationship with creation. The food we eat is one aspect of that relationship, but there is so much more to ask ourselves.

When we show up as part of the natural world, how do we listen? When the Earth community is stripped of its dignity by human attitudes and actions, how do we bring about justice? Do we honor creation as we shop, cook, eat, and spend money and time? How will the voice of the natural world inform our choices as we give our time, our money and our vote?

We can’t fully honor creation on our own. When it’s hard to be optimistic about the future we can build communities of hope to strengthen us for action. Let us pledge to listen more closely to creation and to what is ours to do. Let’s read, discuss and learn not only how to love creation, but how she loves and cares for us. We can be more grateful for Creation’s gifts and live so that earth may be grateful for us because we continue to do and be different because we listened to God’s voice speaking through hers.

Season of Creation Opportunities:

Explore this ecumenical site for various opportunities: seasonofcreation.org.

Although the events below are local to the La Crosse area, watch for more ways that the Integral Ecology Office will promote the Laudato Si Action Platform throughout this next year.

Taize Prayer Service: Welcoming the Season of Creation | Thursday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. | FSPA Prayer Garden across from chapel
Click here
for a link to the service.

Care for Creation Mass | Tuesday, Sept. 20, 11 a.m. |  Mary of the Angels Chapel

Canticle of the Sun Prayer Service | Tuesday, Oct. 4, 11:50 a.m. | FSPA Prayer Garden across from Chapel

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, and food stories so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Seed to Skin Squash Sage Pasta

Friday, August 5th 2022 5:46 pm

Seed to Skin Squash Sage Pasta

Ingredients:
5–7 sage leaves
(or 1 tbsp dried sage)
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped (keep the skin and seeds)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled (save the skins for your vegetable stock or compost them)
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp paprika
3/4 Cup milk
1 pound pasta
Salt and pepper

To serve:
Handful of shredded kale

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 390 F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the sage, squash seeds and skins with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15–20 minutes. Remove from the tray once roasted and lightly crisped. Separate the sage, seeds and skins for later.
  3. Put your butternut squash, garlic and onion on the same baking tray with a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and the paprika. Roast in the oven for 40–45 minutes, until the edges begin to brown and crisp and the flesh is soft. Once ready, leave to cool on the baking tray.
  4. To a blender or food processor, add your roasted garlic and onion and half of the milk. Give this a good blend until smooth and creamy. Add the roasted butternut squash, a few leaves of roasted sage and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until thick and a bit chunky still – if you blend at a high speed continuously you’ll end up making a soup.
  5. Cook the pasta until tender (or cooked to your liking), then transfer to a serving bowl with heaping spoonfuls of the sauce and toss to coat evenly. Serve with the roasted pumpkin skins and toasted seeds. Adding a bit of leafy greens like shredded kale can really give this dish more nutritional value (we musn’t forget our greens).

Story:
While looking for new food scrap recipes, I came across this yummy-looking pasta. I haven't had a squash yet in order to try it, so if you do please let me know how it turns out! I'm really looking forward to fall and an end to summer's heat this year, so I wanted to post a fall recipe a little early. I think this one is intriguing since I'm used to eating squash seeds (I love roasted pumpkin seeds in the fall) but I've never thought to eat the skins. This recipe is adapted from Chef Max La Manna, and the picture comes from his website.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Lentils Mexicanas

Monday, August 8th 2022 6:22 pm

Lentils Mexicanas

Lentils don’t need to be soaked in water to rehydrate them like other legumes so they are quick to prepare. Consider cooking extra lentils when you make this recipe and freezing the rest in a freezer bag. They are quick to thaw in a sink of hot water and you'll have a last-minute meal or appetizer in a hurry.

Ingredients:
1 Cup dried lentils (any variety)
2 Cups water
1/2 Cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs olive or vegetable oil
Pinch salt
One 2.5 oz can green olives, sliced OR one 4 oz can diced green chilies
One 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
2 Cups grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbs chopped parsley OR cilantro
3 Cups tortilla chips, tortillas or cooked rice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash and sort lentils in a strainer, removing dirt and any stones you may find. Simmer lentils in water, covered for 30 minutes.
  3. Sauté onions in oil until translucent. Add a pinch of salt and spices. Stir in garlic and sauté for a minute. Reserve 2 Tbs olives. Stir in remaining olives, tomatoes and chilies.
  4. Add lentils and spread mixture in a 9” X 9” dish or casserole. Top with cheese. Sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Bake uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped olives and parsley. Serve with chips, rolled in a tortilla, or over cooked rice.
  7. Optional: Sprinkle cheese over mixture and serve right from the pan with extra cheese at the table!  Discover your own way to enjoy this dish!

Variations:
Lentils Greccio: For a Greek variation, use Green or Kalamata olives; change spices to 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp ground coriander, add a pinch of chili flakes. Change cheese to 1/2 to 1 Cup crumbled feta.

Lentils Italiano: For an Italian version, use green, black, or Kalamata olives; change spices to 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil and add a pinch of chili flakes. Change cheese to 2 cups grated Mozzarella.

Story:
This is one of the first recipes Vicki sent for this swap, and she's not the only one to recommend it to me so it must be good! This is a main dish that can be eaten with rice or tortilla chips, and as you can see it is very versatile. Today's picture comes from The Spruce Eats. I didn't know much about lentils, but their website is very informative!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

What Does "Food Scraps" Even Mean?

Wednesday, August 3rd 2022 5:16 pm

Hi there, Iggy here! Last week’s recipes were all under the seasonal category, and I talked a lot about what eating seasonally meant in my first post. This week, I’m changing focus to present food scrap recipes! I got an interesting question the other day about what “food scraps” means, so I thought I’d try to clear it up with a short post.

The woman I was talking to thought food scraps meant what you scrape off your plate after a meal, and she seemed a little disgusted by the idea. I can’t blame her! Luckily, that’s not at all what I’m talking about. What you scrape off your plate is called post-consumer food waste, and that should almost always be dumped. This is different from leftovers, or what you save to put in your fridge to eat later, although leftovers can sometimes be great for repurposing (I’m thinking about those turkey sandwiches from Thanksgiving, yummm!).  

No, what I mean by food scraps is pre-consumer food waste. This is what you might generate while prepping your meal, things like potato peels, squash seeds and (in the case of Monday’s recipe) broccoli stems. A lot of pre-consumer waste is still edible and often more nutritious than the parts we normally eat. For instance, apple peels have a lot more vitamins and minerals in them than the white flesh of the apple. Maybe if we include those skins in our apple pies, we could call it a healthy meal? I wish, haha.

Now that you know a little more about what I mean by food scraps, what kind of recipes do you have that call for them? I’m posting up my recipes for broccoli stems and squash extras this week. Maybe you have a special casserole or a bone broth soup? I’d love to see them and share them for you!

P.S. I didn't have a good clear picture of food scraps to share, so I hope you enjoy this one I took the other day of a pair of sunflowers up at the FSPA gardens!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Wild Rice Soup

Monday, November 21st 2022 6:00 am

Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients: (makes 8 servings - 2 cups each)
3 C water
1 C wild rice (manoomin)
6 C butternut squash: peeled, seeded, cubed OR 2 1/2 lbs
3/4 C diced onion
3 T olive oil
4 C vegetable broth
1 C milk
2 C home-cooked or canned Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in wild rice and simmer, covered, for 40-45 minutes or just until kernels puff open.
  3. While rice cooks, put squash on a baking sheet. Stir in 1 T oil and 1 tsp salt. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. In a medium saute pan, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add onions. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent, but not brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. When squash is tender, set aside one-half of it. Cook the remaining squash for another 15 minutes or until mashable. Add to a large soup pot and mash.
  6. To the soup pot, add broth and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Uncover rice, fluff with a fork, and simmer an additional 5 minutes, if still wet.
  8. Add rice and the squash you set aside to the soup pot. Add beans, onions, pepper and ½ tsp salt. Mix and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. Stir all ingredients together. Taste and adjust for seasoning before serving.

Variations:  add sausage, chicken, turkey or mushrooms. Substitute nut milk, carrots for squash.

Note:
Black pepper was brought in by European settlers. It has been added to this recipe to accommodate common tastes. One pound of uncooked wild rice measures about 2 2/3 cups and will yield about 8 to 10 cups cooked. When cooking wild rice, plan on using 3 to 4 cups of liquid for every cup of uncooked rice. Rinse the rice first to remove any debris. 1 cup uncooked wild rice = 3 to 4 cups cooked wild rice. Wild rice can be served hot, warm or cold; for breakfast, in salads, stuffing, breads and more.

Wild rice is a wonderfully balanced food, providing protein and fiber. A serving of wild rice contains fewer calories and double the protein content of brown rice. It contains the micronutrient Manganese, an antioxidant,and plays a role in keeping your cells healthy. Quinoa (another indigenous grain native to South American Incans) is similar to wild rice in terms of nutritional benefits.

Story:
Wild Rice (Manoomin) has been used within American Indian communities, such as the Ojibwe (or Chippewa) and Menominee, for thousands of years. Menomonee  in Algonquin means “people of the rice.” It was and continues to be a staple in traditional diets and its harvest is full of gratitude, reverence and ceremony. American Indians continue to nurture the crop, a sacred food. Today’s Ojibwe descend from the Algonquins of what is now the eastern US and SE Canada who faced troubles with European settlers. Legend says they were told go west to find the “food that grows on water.” The discovery of the “good berry” or wild rice was the answer to prayer and sustained their people in a new land.

Wild rice is actually a grass native to North America, mainly in the Great Lakes region. It grows in shallow lakes and streams. When processed by traditional ways, it lasts for many seasons, providing food security. There are now 70 major rice fields around Wisconsin alone.Today, traditional rice fields are challenged by warming waters and contamination by mining and other industrial run-off. The fight to stop oil pipeline 3 near the Bad River Reservation is an attempt to save the manoomin and other species vital to tribal members.

Videos: 
Watch a fascinating 33-minute video on the harvest and processing of Manoomin: Dancing the Wild Rice.

A very short PBS video Manoomin: Food that Grows on Water follows Fred Ackley Jr. from the Sokaogon Chippewa Community of Mole Lake as he harvests and processes manoomin, or wild rice which he calls "medicine". He explores the importance of prayer and tradition for cultural survival.

The information above comes from the American Indian Traditional Foods Wisconsin Farm to School Toolkit produced for use in USDA School meals programs by the Wisconsin State Department of Instruction.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) has an informative Manoomin-Goodberry brochure about its nutritional value, detailed description of harvesting and how to find tribal retailers for traditional verses “paddy” grown manoomin.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Broccoli Stem Stir-Fry

Monday, August 1st 2022 6:09 pm

Broccoli Stem Stir-Fry

Ingredients:
2 cups carrots, sliced into rounds or in ribbons
2 cups peeled broccoli stems, sliced
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
1/4 cup broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broth and heat it briefly.
  2. Add the carrots and a few drops of soy sauce. Cook and stir for a minute or two.
  3. Add the broccoli stems. Cook and stir for another minute or two.
  4. Add the remaining soy sauce, scallions, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Cook and stir for a minute. Cover and cook for a few more minutes. Continue cooking to your desired tenderness. Depending on how long you cook this, you may need to add a splash of water or more soy sauce to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan. If needed, adjust seasoning to taste by adding a little more seasoning.

Notes:
Don't have scallions on hand? Substitute a small onion (or half of a large one) and slice it thinly so that it cooks faster.

Story:
This morning in the FSPA garden, someone was dared to eat a piece of broccoli straight off of the plant (I know, I'd do this without a dare in a heartbeat too!). Of course he ate it, but just as he was about to toss the stem we onlookers stopped him. The stem of the broccoli is the sweetest part! "That's just a matter of opinion," he said, rolling his eyes, but he took a bite anyway. Those same eyes widened as he realized we were right! I was planning on waiting to share this recipe, but this seemed like a sign that this is the right time for it. This recipe was adapted from the website Natural Kitchen, and the picture also came from that website.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Monday, August 15th 2022 2:27 pm

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:
3 cups riced cauliflower (see notes for how to rice it)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, or unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice, or juice from one fresh lime
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil or butter. Once hot, add the riced cauliflower.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is tender, but still has a little bite, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove from heat, add the lime juice and chopped cilantro, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  • There are a few options when ricing cauliflower. Regardless of which approach you choose, start with clean, dry cauliflower florets and peeled stem.
    • Chef's knife: On a large cutting board, chop the cauliflower until the size of large grains of rice.
    • Grater: Use the medium-sized holes of a box grater to grate the cauliflower.
    • Food processor: Pulse the florets until the desired size is reached. Don't over-process.
  • If you’re one of those people who can’t stand cilantro, try this recipe with just the lime, or substitute chopped parsley, mint, or even epazote.
  • For a heartier variation, try red Spanish style cauliflower rice. Add minced garlic and tomato puree.
  • Or if you prefer, try cauliflower with just butter and salt.

Story:
Cauliflower is one of those veggies that I only seem to like when I don't realize I'm eating it.  But since someone gave me a few heads the other day, I've been looking for ways to use it.  I found this recipe that includes not just the florets (the parts you get in a veggie tray) but also the stems.  And to top it off, it's an easy and quick recipe that I used as a side-dish this weekend.  I used the food processor option to rice it.  This recipe and photo was taken and adapted from The Spruce Eats.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Easy Corn, Beans and Salsa Main Dish

Monday, August 29th 2022 6:00 am

Easy Corn, Beans and Salsa Main Dish

Ingredients:
2 C fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed in a bowl of hot water
2 C or 1  16 oz jar salsa
1 can or (2 C homemade) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T corn oil or your preferred salad oil
1 T lime juice or vinegar of your choice. (The tang of red wine vinegar is good!)
1 package of Taco seasoning OR
   - 1 tsp ground cumin
   - 1/2 tsp chili powder
   - 1/2 tsp garlic powder
   - 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
3 T chopped fresh cilantro, optional
1 sliced avocado on the side, optional
4 C cooked brown or white rice (or cooked grain of your choice) cooked according to package directions (see note below)

Directions:

  1. Combine thawed corn, salsa, drained beans in a large bowl
  2. Add spices and acid.  Stir, tasting for salt or other spices
  3. For a cold salad, mix with the cooled grain
  4. For a hot meal, heat in a skillet and serve over your warm grain. Add lime juice or vinegar as you prefer

Note:
A rice cooker is a great investment! You can cook a full batch and put the remainder in freezer bags to freeze for quick recipes like this. Couscous and quinoa also cook quickly. Cooked bulger works well in this recipe. Find them in the rice or pasta or natural foods aisle. Bulger lends itself to freezing. Use the other half in bread dough or in Greek salad like Tabouli when cukes, tomatoes and parsley are in season.

Story:
Commercially frozen vegetables are typically processed within hours of harvest which preserves their nutritional value. For me, fresh flavor is a great reason to eat seasonally. Local fresh sweet corn is tastier and juicier than frozen or any shipped in from a distance. So, how do we “put up” fresh sweet corn? Don’t let the following 10 step process overwhelm you. Remember, you can thaw a bag of corn in hot water and have sweetness of summer for chowder, salads, salsa, loaded muffins and cornbread for months!

For a complete guide to blanching vegetables, see the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, and food stories so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Fall Apple Salad and "Picking Your Own"

Monday, October 17th 2022 6:00 am

Fall Apple Salad

Ingredients:
Salad:

1 large bunch kale
2 apples that are crisp
1/3 C dried cranberries
1/3 C toasted pumpkin seeds
¾ C goat cheese, crumbled.  (Feta is a good alternative, if you prefer.)

Dressing:
1 small shallot, minced
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
3 T vinegar, apple cider vinegar is best!
1 T local honey or maple syrup 
2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Remove tough ribs from kale. Tear or chop leaves into bite-sized pieces. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with half the extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and use your hands to massage kale leaves until tender.
  2. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the remaining extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Core 1 apple. (Peeling is optional as the peel contains good nutrition.) Chop it into bite-sized pieces. With the second apple, core and quarter it. Use a cheese grater to make apple "snow." Add to the salad bowl.
  4. Add dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds (see note below). Drizzle dressing over the ingredients.Toss to combine and thoroughly coat each item with dressing.
  5. Crumble cheese over the top and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Optional: Add shredded carrots, broccoli or cauliflower flowerets, leftover chicken, etc. to the salad if you are in the mood to clean out the fridge!

Story:
In September and October, local Apples are at their peak in most of North America and non-farm kids of all ages (like our grandkids!) can enjoy markets for "pick your own" and bagged apples. To find a pick-your-own farm for apples and much more near where you live, check out pickyourown.org. Then learn to can and freeze!

Freezing apples:
Years ago, I acquired an apple peeler-corer-slicer that earns its place in our tool drawer when apples are in season. Your great-grandma may have had one. Most orchard shops and hardware stores sell them. Here are some apple freezing tips.

Prepare what is called "acidulated" water: a fancy name for water plus acid. Use about 1/4 cup lemon juice to 1 quart of cold water. As soon as you clean, peel, core and slice your fruit, with a gadget or by hand, let the slices swim in a bowl of lemon water to prevent them from browning. At this point, you could can them, but since freezers came on the scene in the 1950s, it is another simple way.

Strain (do not rinse) and pack apples tightly in freezer bags and label. It's a very good practice to keep records of what, when and where any food goes in your freezer (and your fridge and pantry) to reduce waste and aid in meal planning. Plan on wintertime apple crisp, applesauce, apple bread or pie!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Easy Homemade Salsa and How to Can It

Friday, September 2nd 2022 6:00 am

Easy Homemade Salsa

Note the amounts listed for 2 pints to eat right away or 8 pints to can for later. Seven jars fill a typical canner!

Ingredients:                                        2 pints               8 pints
Fresh tomatoes, peeled                       2 C                     8 C
Diced onion                                         1 medium           4 medium
Finely minced garlic                             2 cloves             8 cloves
Green Pepper, diced                            1                        4
Diced green chilis                                 4 oz can            4 - 4 oz cans
OR diced Jalapeno Peppers                2                        8
Chili powder                                         1/4 tsp               1 tsp
Wine vinegar                                        1 T                     1/4 C  (4 T)
Salt                                                       1/4 tsp               1 tsp
Tabasco sauce OR dried chili flakes    1/8 tsp               1/2 tsp

Directions:

  1. Wash tomatoes and green peppers in cold running water.
  2. To peel tomatoes, fill a large pan with water and bring to a boil. Gently lower fresh tomatoes into the water and boil for about 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put cold water in your sink or into a large bowl. Gently lift tomatoes out of boiling water and place them in the cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Add ice cubes, as necessary to cool the tomatoes. Briefly strain the cool tomatoes and place in a clean bowl.
  5. Use a paring knife to core them and remove the peels. Chop or break into smaller pieces.
  6. Mix tomatoes and other ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Put in a blender if a smoother mixture is desired.  Bring to room temperature before canning.

This recipe from a friend Karen Imholte is great with chips, as a base for chili with beans, or in Mexican dishes.  Canning it gives you “summer in a jar” all year long!  Heat the salsa before putting in hot jars for water bath canning. More info below.

Story:
We once bought a house with a large basement lined with wooden shelves against one wall. Labels still designated places for jars of peaches, tomatoes, beans, sauerkraut, relish and more. It brought memories of my NaNa’s basement! If you have memories of canning, or a recipe, share it with The Seasoned Franciscan. Here’s a tune called “Canned Goods” from Greg Brown to spark some memories.

Canning:
Learn to Can tomato products and other seasonal vegetables and fruits from experts at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They get credit for this post’s photo, too. Use good ingredients, the right tools and food safety facts. Work with a trusted cookbook or the NCFHC. It also calls for a communal effort. Call a friend or your Grandma!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Iggy's Tortellini

Wednesday, August 17th 2022 3:37 pm


Iggy's Tortellini

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, cut into slices or strips
2 portabella mushroom heads, washed and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound cheese-filled tortellini
2 jars alfredo sauce
1 pound of fresh baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
Grated parmesan cheese to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan, on medium-low heat. Add onion, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Let them cook on low to medium-low heat.
  2. In a separate pot, cook tortellini as instructed. For me, this means bringing water to a boil, adding my tortellini, and cooking for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain tortellini once it's done cooking and set aside.
  3. Add garlic to onion mixture, bringing heat up to medium. Let cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring.
  4. Add alfredo sauce, thyme, and baby spinach to onion mixture. Stir until baby spinach starts to wilt.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in tortellini. Serve hot with grated parmesan on top.

Notes:

  • This recipe is adaptable in many ways. Add whatever vegetables you'd like to the onion mixture. I like to add broccoli if I've got it.
  • If you like asparagus, add that when you would add the baby spinach.
  • My family prefers a lot of garlic, so I frequently use a head or more in this recipe. Use more or less as you prefer.

Story: 
This meal is a favorite in my household, and it comes together quickly. It’s requested often enough that I just keep tortellini in my fridge, and it's always a relief to me as far as cooking since the hardest part is chopping an onion and always brings a smile to my fiance's face when we're eating. Here’s hoping our daughter likes it as much as we do when she’s old enough to eat solid foods!

P.S. I didn't have a picture of this "Dinner at Iggy's House," so I've sent one of my favorite flowers instead. I think morning glories are beautiful, but be careful to keep them contained if you plant them!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

I'm Passing the Baton!

Friday, August 19th 2022 12:37 pm


Hello again, Iggy here, in what will be my last update on The Seasoned Franciscan. But worry not! The recipe swap will go on with Vicki Lopez-Kaley taking the lead as of Monday (Aug. 22, 2022). Vicki will be slowing the pace of recipe posts to once per week, but may also include posts about how to can and preserve food, among other things, so be on the lookout for that!

It's been a journey getting this recipe swap up and running. I've learned so much about what goes into setting up a webpage. Even on an established site like fspa.org, it's a lot. Also about promotion and getting the word out. I talk about The Seasoned Franciscan frequently, saying I've posted this or that or that someone should check out our recipe page, and sometimes I get curious questions and sometimes I don't. And both of those are ok, this isn't for everyone.

I do have some final thoughts I'd like to share. We're starting to get off the ground with people sending in recipes, and I hope we keep gaining momentum! Remember, the categories do not have to overlap (there's not a lot about that tortellini recipe that's seasonal or foraged), and we're very interested in sharing the different ways people like to eat. I hope in the future we see more indigenous, ethnic, and heritage recipes. I know I'll be sending in my Austrian Kaiserschmarrn (a spin on pancakes) recipe as soon as I find it since that part of my heritage is incredibly important to me. I think it's incredibly important to explore not just our own heritages but also the ethnicities we share this earth with in order to grow as a healthy society. So please, share recipes you may have found that your grandmother made for you, share the ones that you've found that your friend taught you years ago, and share the ones that you've learned through your travels and experiences. And share recipes that are new to you, too, since the world of food continues to be exciting and innovative!

With an emotional heart, it is time for me to say goodbye. I'll still send recipes in, but since I will no longer serve with FSPA after today I will no longer be creating posts. But I'll be following along, and I'm excited to see and try what you like to eat! Happy cooking to you all!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Pumpkin Soup

Monday, October 24th 2022 6:00 am

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:
2 whole pie pumpkins, washed OR
3 15 oz cans “pure” pumpkin puree (see note for more about canned pumpkin)
1 qt. (4 oz) vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 C heavy cream or evaporated milk
1/3 C maple syrup (local to your region, if possible)
dash of nutmeg
salt to taste
extra cream and toasted pumpkin seeds, for serving
 
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. If using fresh pie pumpkins, place them on a cookie sheet and roast them until slightly shriveled and soft. Allow to cool slightly, then slice in half and carefully scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop flesh into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a pot, heat up the pumpkin flesh (fresh or canned) with the stock and maple syrup until simmering. If using fresh, you will need to mash out the big chunks, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and puree until velvety smooth. Add cream and nutmeg and completely combine. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Reheat if needed. Garnish with a drizzle of cream and pumpkin seeds, if available.

Note:
Small sugar pumpkins have denser, meatier, more colorful, sweeter flesh than the large ones we use as decoration, so if you do want to make pie (or other pumpkin) recipes completely from scratch, use those. Canned “Pumpkin Puree” is a mixture of squashes, bred for their resemblance to the smaller pie pumpkin. In contrast, canned “Pumpkin Pie Filling” includes added spices, sugar, salt, and water.

Story:
Many scholars use food as a means of tracing history and culture. What can we learn from the simple pumpkin? For example, the first Thanksgiving in 1621, is not likely to have had pumpkin pie on the menu since there were no ovens for baking in America at the time, no European wheat or enough sugar to make this dessert.

But, some Native peoples made pumpkin porridge with milk, honey, and spices poured into hollowed-out pumpkin shells, which were roasted whole in hot ashes until blackened, soft, and steamy. Later, with the use of metal pots brought by the colonizers, they had more cooking options. Don't I take my oven for granted!

Pumpkins and squash are believed to be native to Central America. The very first wild pumpkins were probably extremely bitter and small, but once they began to be cultivated by indigenous farmers for their flesh, they grew sweeter and more palatable. As tribes established extensive trade routes, many seed varieties traveled north, including this nutritious “sister” and its siblings tomatoes, potatoes, chilis and more. Once Europeans came to America, they began growing pumpkins as a staple food crop. European explorers as far back as the 1530s brought pumpkin seeds home with them, which explains why French and English cookbooks in the 1600s contain pumpkin recipes. Today, even China and India are among the largest pumpkin growers in the world.

Some of these details come from Jen Wheeler at greatist.com.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Tomato Upside Down Cornbread

Monday, September 19th 2022 6:00 am

Tomato Upside Down Cornbread

Ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3-5 T grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
several grinds black pepper
1/2 C fresh dill chopped OR 4 tsp dried
3/4 C medium grind cornmeal
1-1 1/4 C milk
3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt (less if using regular salt or if using salted butter)
6 T melted butter
1 T sugar
3/4 C plain yogurt or sour cream
2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut out a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of a 10-10 1/2-inch cast iron skillet. Lightly oil the upper side of the parchment with oil.
  2. Place tomatoes in a single layer, cut side up, on the parchment to cover the entire skillet. Top with a grind or two of pepper, most of the dill (reserving just enough for garnish), and a generous layer of fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese- between 1/4 and 1/2 cup.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine the milk and cornmeal over medium heat. Cook, stirring or whisking constantly, until it is the consistency of the batter and completely lump-free, about 3-4 minutes. If it gets too thick add 1 or 2 T. of milk. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper together in a large bowl; set aside.
  5. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar, and add to the cooked cornmeal mixture. Next whisk in the yogurt. Make sure the cornmeal mixture isn’t so hot it will cook the eggs and then whisk in the eggs until thoroughly combined. Fold in flour mixture until thoroughly combined and the batter is very thick.
  6. Pour the batter into the skillet, then smooth it into an even layer over the tomatoes. Bake until the top is golden brown, and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the skillet, 22 to 25 minutes.
  7. Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edge of the pan. Invert onto a large plate and carefully remove the layer of parchment.
  8. Garnish with remaining fresh dill and an additional sprinkle of grated cheese.
  9. Slice into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.
  10. Can be covered and stored at room temperature for one or two days.

Story: 
At this time of year, tomatoes couldn't be more gorgeous! This recipe celebrates them. One of the healing secrets of food is that when we slow down, we can more intensely appreciate the beauty of what Mother earth produces! Use all your senses to take in the color and shape, fragrance, and intricacy of the fruits of creation!

Try this exercise at meal or snack time soon: Take time as you shop and look around at the beauty of fresh food. Take it slow as you prepare food and before you eat. Touch and smell a fresh fruit or vegetable. Break it open. Look for the colors and patterns of seeds, juice, flesh and skin. Consider it as an artist in awe of his or her creation. Become aware of the God who made food just to please us, to offer what earth’s creatures need.Take a small taste and notice how it feels in your mouth, individual flavors and textures. Be mindful as you slowly chew and swallow each bite. Let yourself sense what this product of soil, wind, water and hands has brought to your table and to life. Continue to eat slowly as you honor our brother and sister plants and animals who heal and nourish the world.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Summer Squash Casserole

Monday, August 22nd 2022 6:00 am


Summer Squash Casserole

Here’s an easy Summer Squash Casserole with roots in the southern U.S. Read on to meet southern chef Vivian Howard, view her “Old School Squash and Onions” recipe and hear her stories.

Makes 8 - 10 side dish servings. If you don’t need 8-10 servings, you could make two casseroles and share one with a friend!

Ingredients:
3 lb. yellow squash (4 small), cut in 1 / 4” thick slices
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2  large eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 C mayonnaise
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1 T  chopped fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp dried) OR 1 tsp dried dill weed
3 T butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 1/2  sleeves round butter crackers, such as Ritz, broken (about 3 C)
1/4 C  grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Combine squash and onion on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Toss well to combine. Cook for 25 minutes, until squash is slightly softened and has released its liquid. Drain the mixture through a colander. Press gently with paper towels to remove some extra moisture. Let cool a bit as you prepare other ingredients.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, thyme and black pepper and stir together. Fold in warm squash and onions (You don’t want them to be hot from the oven.). Transfer mixture to buttered 3-qt. baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes (You can do the recipe this far and store in the fridge to finish later. If doing so, add topping (step 3) and cook (step 4) in the microwave for about 15 minutes!).

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, cracker pieces and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle in an even layer top on top of the casserole. Return to the oven for 25 to 30 minutes more, until crackers are golden brown and the edges are bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Story:
Most produce is available year-round when shipped from warm climates. But, foods in their season are most delicious! Flavor is only one benefit of seasonal eating. The Seasoned Franciscan will explore them all.

In the Midwest, summer squash and onions are in season in late July/early August. Native to Central and South America as far back as 10,000 years ago, summer squash (from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means “eaten raw or uncooked) is a staple in Native American and Mexican cuisine.  Summer squash come in many varieties, shapes and sizes.  Smaller ones have a better texture, fewer large seeds and more concentrated flavor.  Larger ones are better suited to baking and stuffing.

Learn more:
Restaurant owner and cookbook author Vivian Howard is one of my favorite PBS chefs. She honors seasonal local foods and the African American and Indigenous roots of many southern soul food dishes, the connection between culture and food. Vivian makes this northern girl want to explore more food and culture stories of the south. When describing summer squash she says, it’s “not boring!” “She is elegant, feminine and delicious!” What a beautiful image! Find her Squash and Onions Recipe below or watch her make it herself. You might get interested in other southern foods that do well in northern gardens!

View Vivian’s recipe here or visit youtube.com to watch her make it herself. (I used oil and butter instead of bacon fat and to make it a main dish added cooked ground turkey with Mexican spices. Any leftover meat will do!)

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, and food stories so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Discerning Religious Life? Consider the power of a good question…

Thursday, June 21st 2018 12:30 pm
Sister Amy Taylor

 

We learn by asking questions…lots and lots of questions.

Recently, I was on an airplane across the aisle from a young child traveling with his parents. He was about four years old and bursting with questions. One after the other he would ask questions of his dad and, with great interest and patience, his dad would answer each of them.

Airplane in sky

Photo credit: Pexels

At the end of the flight another passenger turned to the father and remarked how he enjoyed hearing his conversations with his child. Then the passenger turned to the child and said “I think your new name should be ‘Why,’ because you have a lot of ‘why’ questions.” The parents laughed and we all went our separate ways. I walked away impressed by how this four-year-old was already navigating the vast world around him, even at 30,000 feet! 

The value of questions you have in discernment

When someone wants to learn more about membership with our congregation, we receive and answer some common questions time and again. Let’s take a look at the most common questions to arise during discernment of religious life.

What are the sisters’ ministries today?

I remember asking this question of congregations I wanted to research further, during my discernment of religious life. The goal was to see whether my interests and areas of expertise would fit within the congregation’s ministry. It was a way for me to prioritize potential congregations. My hope was to shrink the list from hundreds of congregations down to a few, so that I could research them in depth. It helped, but over time, I discovered there were other aspects to consider.

Now as the Director of Membership, the information I offer includes more about the congregation’s spirituality, mission, prayer life and community living. Many congregations have similar ministries, but each of these particular aspects affect how ministry is conducted. For example, Franciscans, Dominicans and Ursulines are rooted in education, yet how they teach is different. To see evidence of this, just ask former Catholic school students to describe the congregation of sisters who taught them. You will hear how the type of congregation influenced their education. Differences also arise in the celebration of patronal feast days and core values. Each congregation has its own “sub-culture” in the wider scope of religious life within the Catholic Church. If you have a relationship with a few congregations and they have similar ministries such as education, ask about the different ways they serve that field. Here are some examples.

 

How does this congregation define educational ministry?

As you discern religious life, you want to make sure you are aligned with the congregation’s philosophy of educational ministry.

 

Is it possible to observe or volunteer with a sister for a day, to witness ministerial life?

Spending a day with a sister is a valuable way to get a sense of what it is to be a member of that congregation.

 

High school students spend day volunteering with Sister Lucy in organic garden

High school students spend the day volunteering with Sister Lucy in the FSPA organic garden.

 

Do women religious in this congregation serve outside the U.S.?

If you are interested in a ministry abroad, you may want to seek out congregations with sisters who serve outside the U.S. If, however, you would prefer to stay stateside, this question enables you to hone in on communities that focus on serving in the U.S.

 

Do sisters from this congregation work in public or private school settings?

Perhaps you have a preference on what kind of schools you’d like to serve. This will allow you to find the appropriate fit for your personal calling.

 

Do these sisters work in bilingual classrooms?

If helping immigrants, refugees or other students who speak English as a second language, you may want to ask this question to find a community that works in bilingual classrooms.

 

Asking the right questions will help you find the right community for your religious life

 

Each answer will show how congregations differ. Consider how these nuances will play a role in your ministry. Is there room for your own growth over time? Can you transition to a different grade level or into a different ministry with education experience? Is there flexibility?

 

We should all be as curious and brave as that little boy on the airplane, asking questions of his father. Questions bring clarity to what, on paper, looks simple. You may be surprised to discover that a congregation you weren’t sure about is the better fit.

 

How will you know if a vocation to religious life is a call for you?

Reserve your complimentary copy of “Discernment of Signs Along the Way: Your Story of Service in the Catholic Church,” a 24-page reflection journal with guides, questions and connections. Email membership@fspa.org or call 888-683-3772 for more information.

 

Listening with a discerning ear

Thursday, May 26th 2016 4:05 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


Brick house
Photo credit: Flickr

This is the time of year that many people move into a new house or apartment. Winter has passed and spring is slowly giving way to summer. I have noticed the abundance of moving trucks on the roads. Each time I have moved into a new home I spend the first night aware of each bump, clang and creak as I am not yet familiar with the sounds in my new environment.

After a few weeks I become quite accustomed to the sounds and somehow block out what was once so startling. Only when guests arrive and mention some of the sounds do I realize how comfortable I have become.

  stacked moving boxes
Photo credit: Flickr
In discernment, sometimes the clangs and creaks we hear are distractions that easily lead us away from focusing on what is in front of us. It is a gift from God to be given the grace to listen for the guidance we need to lead us to the next steps on our discernment journey.

The passage 1 Kings 19: 1-18 has served as a touchstone for me in discernment. It is the story of Elijah listening for what he is to do next. Sometimes we have to wait in a state of contemplative silence to really know what it is that we are to do next. Rushing after something that makes a lot of noise? Remember, it may just be a big noise without substance.

As you walk in discernment this week, consider the noises in your life that lead you away from God. Are you chasing distractions?     

A Revolution of Goodness has begun

Wednesday, August 29th 2018 1:51 pm
FSPA Mission Assembly 2018 empowered more than 300 revolutionaries to kindness
They gathered, gloriously, around goodness. They weren’t classified as sisters, affiliates and guests but as equal discerners of goodness. They weren’t segregated as individual observers...

It's where I pray

Thursday, January 25th 2018 10:00 am
Sister Maris Kerwin, FSPA

 

window-pigeons-St.RoseChapel

Image by Sister Amy Taylor

One of my favorite places to pray is in my recliner in my room at St. Rose Convent. It sits in front of a window from which I can see the Adoration Chapel behind a variety of trees. The chapel mirrors stability in my life, and the trees as well as the shifting seasons remind me of change. All are important, and God helps to remind me that I need both. The occasional bird flying from one place to the other helps me to see that connection.

Franciscan Way is a series featuring prayerful reflection by Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

What did you say?

Thursday, November 2nd 2017 3:15 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


drinking-fountain-by-morguefile.com

Image courtesy morguefile.com

Amidst the world news articles online I recently came across the lighter read “50 Unique Words and Phrases From Each State That Only Locals Understand.” As an avid traveler, I was curious to see if I had encountered any of the words and phrases. I clicked through the first few slides, finding some familiar, but most were words I’d never heard before.

The article triggered a memory of experience I had while visiting La Crosse, Wisconsin, when I was first discerning religious life with FSPA. A few sisters took me down to Riverside Park, along the Mississippi River, just a few miles from St. Rose Convent. They pointed out the various attractions including the friendship garden, fountains and statues; where to buy tickets to ride on the big paddle boat. One sister pointed across the park and said “Over there is the bubbler.” All I saw was a drinking fountain. We both had a good laugh and “bubbler” was formally introduced to me as Wisconsin-ease for “drinking fountain.”

Evangelical councils: “These are the vows and practice of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They are evangelical because they were taught and practiced by Jesus Christ in the gospels.” At the end of the novitiate period and formal acceptance, women in the incorporation process first make temporary vows of poverty, consecrated chastity and obedience. 

Charism: “Each religious community has a charism which is a purpose, mission, and spirit inspired by the community’s founder.” The charism of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration comes from distinct eucharistic reference and devotion, inherited from St. Francis and our founders.

Novice: “A novice is a person who is formally admitted to a religious institute to prepare for eventual religious profession.” For FSPA, the novitiate period is two years in length and incorporates learning about religious life, vows, theology, church documents, Franciscan studies and many more pertinent topics for this time of vow preparation. 

Perpetual vows: “… the final vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience a person takes in a religious institute.” Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration who make perpetual vows do so during Mass — a public witness of consecration to God through their commitment of poverty, consecrated celibacy and obedience for life lived out in the context of FSPA community. 

Further traversing into a specific religious dialect — like that of the Franciscan family — vocabulary expands with terms like

-- Transitus: an annual Franciscan celebration marking the passage of St. Francis of Assisi from life on Earth to a life with God;

-- Pax et Bonum: Peace and All Good; and

-- common good: choosing action based not only on your own preferences but also taking into account the whole group or groups that will be affected by the decision.

Religious life is full of its own unique words and phrases, its own social dynamics that you’ll encounter because, as I did, you are journeying into a new culture. Also present are the plethora of cultures that many members of the community may have been raised in or ministered in.

Diversity is a gift, especially when we are willing to be curious and try to refrain from quick judgements.

This week, ponder how discernment is leading you to the edges of new cultures.

What are some of your cultural influences?

How does understanding some common definitions in religious life help you in your discernment?

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation. 

Tuning in to God, discernment

Thursday, September 21st 2017 2:30 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Often when I am looking for inspiration in my writing, I go to places that feed my soul. Recently, I was sitting in the back row of our adoration chapel, pondering what to share in my next blog, while the piano in the main chapel was being tuned. My thoughts were punctuated with the same note sounding over and over again. I could hear slight adjustments with each stroke of the key. Occasionally, a scale would plunk out. 

piano-tuning

The piano in Mary of the Angels Chapel undergoes the tuning process.

Curious, I went to investigate and had a short conversation with the man tuning the piano. I asked him a few questions about the process and was fascinated to learn that he begins by striking a tuning fork. He then plays one note on the piano, listening as he adjusts the tension on the piano wire to match the pitch, then tunes the entire piano by ear. He listens not only to the single pitch but also how it sounds in relationship all the other pitches too. He shared how the environment around the piano, like climate and season, also effects the process. There is never a perfect time to tune. 

This resounding experience inspired me to ponder how discernment has similar elements. We are all influenced not only by our own gifts and talents but also where we find resonance with others. Often in discerning religious life, questions arise like “How will I know which congregation is best for me?” or “What if the congregations I’m interested in minister in similar ways?” 

These are great questions. Even when connecting to congregations with like-minded missions, there are steps to take to learn more. Ask any of your friends or family members how they chose significant others.  A list of characteristics does not tell the whole story. Two people could have the same job, live in the same city, look similar physically and enjoy the same hobbies, but there are thousands of idiosyncrasies that define differences when you get to know them more deeply. Sometimes there is more mystery than explanation but, at some level, these couples have found compatibility with one another.   

It was the same way for me when I was exploring discernment. Each community carried individual tones and music of life. From all the possibilities, it took time to learn about the differences between apostolic, evangelical, monastic, cloistered and missionary congregations for women, not to mention the different rules of life each follows (like Franciscan, Dominican, Benedictine). Then throw in ministries similar, if not the same. 

And so I visited different congregations, finding similarities and also distinctions. Some congregations I liked and others I was ready to leave almost as soon as I arrived; not because the congregation was unpleasant but because my gut instinct let me know immediately that our views of the world were too polar opposite. 

There was a combination of factors as to why I chose to be a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. The more time I spent with FSPA I found that my goals, philosophies and beliefs coincided with many of theirs, and the viewpoints that didn’t exactly align invited more exploration as to why or why not. FSPA engaged both my mind and heart.  Although it was a mystery as to why a congregation several states away resonated more with me than those near to where I lived, I had to undertake my own pilgrimage of discernment. 

It reminds me of Abraham, having to make a journey to find his own home as he does in Genesis 12. God called him to leave the land that he knew and as he traveled he learned more about who he was. St. Francis of Assisi, our congregation’s founding inspiration, had to learn about his own journey of faith by first pursuing glory and honor through seeking knighthood but, along the way, learning his true call was to rebuild the church and be a champion for peace. It took both Abraham and St. Francis their lifetimes to live into the depth of their call from God. But they also had to take a step towards their calling and learn as they went. 

I can say that what first attracted me to my congregation is still present but what means more to me is the relationships I’ve been blessed with; the deepening of my own spiritual life, the ministry experiences that I never would have planned and the excitement that each new day brings. It was both exhilarating and daunting to take initiative that first visit but had I not my life would not be what it is — a completely, always surprising gift — today. 

This week a few question for you to ponder …

In what ways are you discovering that your discernment is not a simple, quick decision but a pilgrimage? 

How do you know when you resonate with someone or something?

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation. 

Listening, exploring and discerning like Francis

Friday, October 4th 2019 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

"God will be with you each step of the journey to guide, to listen and to offer continual inspiration ..."

icon-st-francis-assisi

Icon of St. Francis of Assisi by Sister Maryam Gossling

Today’s Gospel acclamation, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart,” is timely as we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. 

If you are familiar with the life of St. Francis of Assisi, you may recall that while he was out one day, roaming the countryside near Assisi, Italy, he stopped at a church to pray. Praying before the San Damiano Cross in a deteriorating church — Portiuncula — Francis heard God say to him “rebuild my church ...” 

After hearing these words, Francis had to decide whether or not he was going to listen to the request. It took him a while to figure out what exactly those powerful words meant. He didn’t understand what God was asking of him. Thinking it was a literal task, he gathered stones to rebuild by hand the crumbling chapel. In time, Francis realized the call was much deeper. His search for clarity led to conversations with his family, friends, the bishop, the pope, the local mayor, and many others. Men saw his joy and flocked to join his way of life, a pathway that lead to the establishment of a new religious community with a new rule of life approved by the pope. It all began with a few words he heard in prayer, his inclination to trust God and to begin searching. Francis was by no means perfect: he made mistakes and learned throughout his life journey. Conversion is one of the values of Franciscan tradition!

Like Francis, you may receive inspiration or a call from God in prayer. Moving from the idea of discernment to actually living into it requires motivation to discover its true meaning. For example, feeling called to religious life offers much to explore throughout religious communities: evangelical, apostolic or monastic orders, Franciscan, Dominican, Benedictine spirituality (among others), geographical locations and ministerial opportunities. Simultaneously delving into your own gifts and talents helps to discover where you feel a connection. The opinions of family and friends also provide fodder for reflection. Each new discovery leads to next steps and bigger questions. 

No matter where discernment takes you, carry today’s Gospel acclamation, Psalm 95:8, as you journey forth: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” God will be with you each step of the journey to guide, to listen and to offer continual inspiration, no matter where the exploration leads.  

Are you willing to listen and explore?

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

"Yes" to God's invitation

Thursday, June 22nd 2017 3:05 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Over the course of the last several weeks our congregation has celebrated the commitment of “yes” to God with the vow renewal of Sister Laurie Sullivan, profession of perpetual vows by Sister Kristin Peters, and Golden Jubilee celebration for Sisters Romana Klaubauf and Esther Leis. We all experienced religious life unfolding before our very eyes; witnessed what it means to walk on the Gospel-centered journey of life as a religious sister—all on different stepping stones marking the way.  

Sisters-Karen-Lueck-Laurie-Sullivan-renewal

Sister Karen Lueck (left) calls forth Laurie Sister Sullivan (right) to renew her vows. 

Sister Laurie opened our season of celebration by renewing her vows for three years at Villa St. Joseph surrounded by FSPA community members, many of whom she ministered among during her early formation days volunteering in spiritual care. For her prayer service she chose a Gospel reading about love. Sister Laurie has shown love to others guided by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy by accompanying patients in hospital rooms, feeding the hungry at food pantries, visiting the elderly in their homes, and nurturing spirituality as the coordinator of youth in a parish—each new place and ministry a reflection of her deepening commitment to religious life and her “yes” to God. Sister Laurie is following in the footprints of Jesus and St. Francis, moving to serve where she is needed. For her the Franciscan Gospel life has been eyes and ears open for the call to where God invites; feet ready to move. 

Sister-Laurie-Sullivan-food-bank

Sister Laurie, pictured here serving those in need at a food pantry.

 

Sisters Laura-Eileen-Katie-Kristin-Julia-El-Camino

From left to right, Sisters Laura Nettles, Eileen McKenzie, Katie Mitchell, Kristin Peters and Julia Walsh stand together on their Camino pilgrimage (photo courtesy of Sister Katie Mitchell). 

The open road has also been a call to Sister Kristin Peters who just returned from a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. As on some legs of her journey she was accompanied by her FSPA companions and on others she hiked alone, she discovered that her Camino experience mirrored religious life: you may walk with others but you also have to walk your own journey. Each step reveals insight. No one can walk for you, live for you. Sister Kristin's “yes” to religious life over the past 10 years has taken her to discover diverse paths to serve those with substance addiction and mental illness; to deliver, in ministry, help and compassion. She has ministered to many who others step over, walk past. It is no surprise that the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd inspires her and is what she chose to guide her final vow liturgy. Sister Kristin listens and reflects the knowledge each person gains as they find their own way back into the sheepfold of our civic communities.

Sisters-Kristin-Peters-Blanche-Klein-ring

Sister Kristin receives her FSPA ring from Sister Blanche Klein. 

 

Sisters-Romana-Klaubauf-Karen-Kappell-corsage-pinning

Sister Romana Klaubauf receives her 50th Jubilee celebration corsage from Sister Karen Kappell.

A bit further down the road of religious life, Sisters Romana Klaubauf and Ester Leis shared their travel stories—their individual ministries—at a pre-jubilee pizza party. We watched a slide presentation of the sights they saw along their professions of 50 years, glimpsing decades of serving God's people and meeting new challenges in the changing landscapes of religious life. Mary of the Angels was filled to capacity as community members, family and friends gathered to witness their ongoing commitment. The readings they chose (Isaiah 43:1-10Micah 6:8 and John 10) tell their stories of faithfulness to God.

Esther-Leis-flower-procession

Sister Esther Leis processes into Mass held in honor of her Golden Jubilee.

These three celebrations were each unique in time and experience yet all pointed to the goodness revealed through the faithfulness of “yes.” The song “I Say ‘Yes’ Lord/Digo ‘Sí’ Señor” by Donna Peña and Marty Haugen has been moving in my heart and mind as I ponder the blessing each of these celebrations have been. They are witnesses to our world of faithfulness and commitment in good times and challenges. We all walk terrain smooth and bumpy; mountainous and flat. God is with us in each step, and every breath of life. 

This week as you consider your own location in discernment ask yourself ...

What are the celebrations marking my journey?

Is there a theme to my experience so far?

How am I relying on God?


Tour Chapels
Explore our Ministries