Sisters say goodbye to Clare’s Well

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Kristi Anderson
The Visitor

For 27 years, weary travelers have ambled down the dusty dirt road leading to Clare’s Well, a retreat farm just southwest of Annandale owned and operated by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls.


Franciscan Sister Jan Kilian, right, greets Kathleen Olsen at the transition celebration May 16 at Clare’s Well in Annandale. Kristi Anderson / The Visitor

Franciscan Sister Jan Kilian who has lived on the farm for 17 years, has seen guests come tired and burdened “and they leave looking relieved and happy,” she said.

Sister Jan lives on the 38-acre farm in a country farmhouse with Franciscan Sisters Paula Pohlmann and Carol Schmit. The three women welcome guests, share meals, tend the land and pray together there. Several buildings dot the grounds — a barn, a wellness center and quaint hermitages nestled in the woods, on a grassy knoll and atop a hill, all with views of Sabbath Pond.

On Saturday, May 16, the sisters said goodbye to their haven and welcomed new owners, Dan and Joan Pauly Schneider, during their annual spring clean up day. A ritual of gratitude and transition with song, prayer and stories marked the day.

As for the sisters, they will make their new home in Annandale, just miles from the farm, where they attend St. Ignatius Parish.

“We hope to reflect on and become more aware of God’s work that has been done as we take time to come away from our work,” Sister Jan said. “Seeing the difference in people that have visited us and then seeing the difference in myself helps me to know that God is so present in this universe. It has strengthened my faith and given me a deepening joy.

“To share this experience together has also strengthened us a community,” she continued. “Pope Francis, in this Year of Consecrated Life, has said we should be a ‘school for communion’ and I believe that is what we have been here.”