Sunday, December 25, 2016

Lessons from Christmas Flower Legends

While legends may not be historical in nature, they communicate truths that are deeper, more life changing, more sustainable, and more capable of capturing our hearts and inspiring our dreams.

The legends of the Christmas flowers teach us the most important two truths of life:  first that God is in love with us and that He came to earth to dwell among us, and secondly, God desires only one gift from us, the simple gift of our heart which in God's "Parent" eyes is the most beautiful of gifts.

Blessings at this Holy Season and may your garden spring anew!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas

May Jesus find a warm and loving haven in our hearts this Christmas!  

In the presence of the infancy of Jesus we are restored to
the image of God.  Now, most wonderfully, we search our
own hearts and learn of God's care for us.

The father and mother within us is but a faint image of the
Father and Mother in God.  He is the Father and Mother whose
heart never sleeps.  He is the One who has numbered the hairs on
 our heads...He is our food and our drink, our shade in the heat, our
 comfort in sorrow, our healing when we are wounded, our light in darkness.

The Christ-life in us, the infant Christ in our
soul, is the only begotten Son in the hands of God.

Caryll Houselander



A Leader With A Dream

Earlier this month Resurrection College Prep High School had an unbelievable experience, a live concert by Shawn Mendes.  Who would have ever thought an average size, midwestern, all girl's school could have won this contest?  One young woman believed it could happen.  One young woman dared to dream boldly, had confidence that the dream could be achieved, had the ability to develop a strategy to accomplish the dream, had a fire inside her that inspired others, and had the stamina and perseverance to see the work to completion.  These are truly traits that define a leader.

The concert was a wonderful experience for everyone at Res:  students, staff and faculty.  But, it is also a testimonial to young women like Shannon Borner who are willing to step forward and use their leadership skills to accomplish something great for their community. 

Of course leaders can accomplish very little without the support and commitment of a strong and supportive community and that truly describes the Resurrection Community!  Keep reaching for your dreams.

 God bless you!

Congratulations Shannon, you are a leader.  We are proud of you, grateful to you and inspired by you!

Shannon Borner

Monday, December 19, 2016

Scrub Club Members Help Brighten Christmas

On Wednesday, December 15th, four members of the Scrubs Club accompanied by Kristin Even and Sister Donna Marie visited residents at Presence Resurrection Life Center.  
Cherryshe Sinfuego, Shannon Shipman, Amy Talley and Kayla Vargas spent time with several women residents, listening to their stories and helping them prepare for Christmas by painting their finger nails.  The residents enjoyed selecting their own favorite color or trying something totally new.  For most of these women it had been years since they had their nails painted and they commented on how special this made them feel.     

Cherryshe Sinfuego with a resident

Amy Talley with two residents
Shannon Shipman with a Sister

Kayla Vargas with a resident

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Advent and the Heart of a Father

Reflection shared by Joseph Lascon

I remember vividly, right before we walked into house with newborn baby Gianna for the first time, we decided to introduce her to our dog Cleo.  We had read that it was very important to introduce your newborn to your dog on neutral ground.  This was one of a million different things that we had read about or watched in preparation for our first child.  After this introduction, we walked into our house, sat Gianna down in her carseat, and looked at each other with exhausted, nervous, but happy and hopeful eyes.  After a few moments of brief silence, I remember saying to my wife, “Sooo, what now?”.

It is amazing when you think about it:  here we are, two naive young adults, and the hospital has just let us leave with this other human being for whom we are now responsible!  It was all so surreal.  We had spent months dreaming and preparing for this very moment.  Books had been read, videos watched, crib assembled and the room prepared.  As we awaited the joyous day, we would talk about what Gianna would look like.  Would she have my wife’s eyes?  Would she love sports like we did?  How tall would she be?  Anything and everything was discussed.  While these moments were fun and hopeful, we also had our moments of anxiety and doubt.  Would I be a good dad? What do we do when she gets in trouble? How do I handle the first time she experiences heartbreak?  I thought about this stuff quite a bit.  I was so excited but also a bit afraid.  For the first time in my life, my ability to do things right would affect someone else, someone who is innocent and has put their full trust in me.

I imagine that Joseph thought about some of these things and experienced these same emotions as he and Mary prepared for their child’s upcoming birth.  While I am sure that he spent time trying to wrap his head around what both Mary and the Angel had told him about this pregnancy, I believe that most of his time was spent simply thinking about the things that each of us do during this time of our life.  We spend these crucially important months preparing for our child’s birth, but equally importantly, we spend those months reflecting on ourselves in preparation of who we are prior to our child’s birth.  

While I am sure Joseph experienced moments of doubt or anxiety about their situation, his trust in both God and Mary would certainly have helped to sustain him during these moments.  Like Mary, he allowed his faith to both guide him and fill him with hope.  Joseph’s role in the Nativity stories can sometimes be overlooked, but one can imagine how his presence, faith and support would have been crucially important to Mary as they prepared for the birth of Jesus.

While preparation is important, hope is what sustains us.  When the time came for us to go to the hospital, I focused on supporting my wife and assuring her everything was going to be all right.  My wife is a strong woman and I knew she would be just fine, but we all like to be encouraged and reassured from time to time!  And while I wanted to be strong for my wife, secretly I was just praying for God to make sure that I didn’t get dizzy or pass out during the birth!

When that moment comes and your child is born, there really are no words to express the emotions that you feel.  In Religion 4 we teach students about the aesthetic experience.  This is the concept that teaches us how we can experience God through nature, beauty and moments.  As you look at and hold your child for the first time, it truly is a spiritual experience.  As I looked at Gianna, and then Kennedy, for the first time, I never realized that I could love something so much.  Those doubts and fears that I had experienced during the months leading up to this moment were temporarily replaced with all the hope that I had for my children.  As for their mother, as I held my children and looked over at her, exhausted and crying, I was never more proud to call her my wife.

As Joseph looked upon Jesus for the first time, I have no doubt that he, too, was overwhelmed by the love that he felt for both Jesus and Mary.  Tradition teaches us that Jesus was brought into this world in a truly humble setting.  Surrounded by the most basic of conditions, at that moment I am sure that Joseph and Mary were only thinking about what an amazing gift they had been blessed with.  While they had already faced so many dangerous challenges in their young marriage, they held onto their faith and each other and persevered.  I’m sure that Joseph’s resolve was further strengthened to do whatever he could to protect and support his family moving forward.  

This Advent, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, I am focusing on the lessons that Joseph taught me during the first Advent.  If we prepare, remain filled with faith and hope, and support one another, we can transform our lives and the world around us.  This Advent, I will renew my own call to be a person of hope!  

For those of you who are curious, introducing the baby to the dog outside did nothing.  To this day, they still drive each other crazy!  Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Congratulations Samantha Crump

Today WGN Radio named Resurrection's own Samantha Crump as the "Kid of the Year". 
Several young people were nominated but as Steve Cochran said:  "The candy cane smoke was for Samantha".

Samantha has shown super resilience in her ability to work through her own health challenges and at the same time find time to volunteer her services to help children with cancer and senior citizens in  nursing homes.  Samantha is committed to making a difference in the lives of others and she aspires to be a nurse and work with children.

Samantha, we are all very, very proud of you.

Samantha Crump

Listen to the Steve Cochran show and see photos from the studio, click on website below:

Visit the Resurrection College Prep High School Facebook for more information. 

3rd Week of Advent & the Heart of a Mother

One of the most sacred experiences God has shared with humans is the call to participate in the creation of new human life.  For Mary the conception of Jesus was by the power of the Holy Spirit.  But, the development and growth of God's Son in Mary's womb took the same nine months that all babies take.  Jesus grew beneath her heart like all babies do.  Mary felt Him stir within her and with her hand she caressed the outline of her tiny child whom she would hold in her arms very soon.

For this third week of Advent I have a beautiful Reflection to share from a young mom on our staff who understands and identifies with the tender and awesome feelings of Mary as Mother.

From the heart of a mother, Mary Bridich: 

Mary Bridich

To this day, I still feel incredibly lucky I was blessed to bear a child.  

Over the course of my two pregnancies I felt so many emotions: excitement, joy, love, worry, anxiety, pride, and fulfillment. It was incredible to know a new life was growing inside me.  A bond was formed even before my children were born. I knew this would be the most important role I would take on. Although I had my doubts, I knew I was called to be their mother.  

Its interesting to reflect on how Mary, the Virgin Mother, must have felt during her pregnancy. To bear the Son of God is no small feat. I imagine she felt a lot of the same emotions I felt, but also so many more mixed emotions. The worry and scrutiny from society would have weighed heavy on her. Yet the awesome responsibility to have served God as she did must have been so fulfilling. I admire the sacrifices she made to answer God's call. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Photo of Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Did you ever wonder what Mary looked like?  Did you ever wish you could see a real photo of the Mother of Jesus?

Well, today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a feast when God answered the wish of everyone who ever whispered in their heart or in their prayers, "If only I could see the face of Mary."

Here it is, a picture of Mary, the Mother of Jesus!  This is a picture that miraculously appeared in the cloak of a poor man named Juan Diego.

Juan Diego was blessed to meet the Virgin Mary on the mountain called Tepeyac.  Not only did God leave a picture of Mary on the cloak of Juan Diego, but Mary herself gave Juan Diego a messasge to share with all of us.  She gave Juan and all of us a message to remind us of her deep motherly care and love for us:

Listen and let it penetrate your heart...
Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief.
Do not fear any illness, anxiety or pain.
Am I not your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Are you not in the folds of my mantle?
In the crossing of my arms?

There are many unusual and inspiring messages contained in this picutre.  One is the fact that Mary is about three months pregnant in the image.  Mary bears Christ and lovingly shares him with all of us.

To learn more about the appearance of Mary to Juan Diego in the hills of Mexico, and to learn more about the symbols in the painting click on either of these websites:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Second Week of Advent and HOPE

The liturgical readings and prayers of week two of Advent convey an ever growing impatience and unquenchable thirst for God to answer the longings of our hearts.  HOPE is key to this cry of the human heart!

And what is HOPE?  St. Paul defines hope as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).  Advent HOPE is not wishing but expecting!  So let's hear what Advent/Christmas HOPE means to some members of our Resurrection family and what some members HOPE for.

Mary Claire Weber '19
Mary Claire Weber '19 says: "what I hope for this Advent and Christmas is for Peace in the World."

   Ms. Carol Marchetti
Ms.Carol Marchetti describes Advent Hope in the following way:  "Hope is always one of the blessing of faith, but Advent is a special time to rekindle that hope.  All of the Christmas preparations with lights, nativities, music, generosity and family helps fill our hearts with anticipation of God's greatest gift, His Son, Jesus as an infant, the ultimate expression of God's love, hope and the faithful fulfillment of His promises." 

Kaitlyn Ryan '19

Kaitlyn Ryan '19 believes "hope is about people coming to
realize that everything is not horrible but rather to realize how much good there is in the world.  Hope is realizing
we can get through every challenge."

Jessie Surridge '17

Jessie Surridge '17 hopes that "once it gets colder
people who do not have shelter or food find help,
 and that others will care about them and for them."

Ms. Vanessa Wheatman

Ms. Vanessa Wheatman's hope for Advent and Christmas "is to share a spirit of relaxation, peace and joy with and with family and friends. "

Mary Quinn '18 states her hope for Advent and Christmas
is that her family will continue this year as they have in
the past the "beautiful tradition of gathering together on Christmas morning. 
This family gathering has been a special time to share the real meaning, the
love and the joy of Christmas."

Mary Quinn '18

Ms. Mary McAndrew

Ms. Mary McAndrew states that the greatest
Advent and Christmas gifts she hopes for herself
and for everyone else is,"that all are blessed in
2017 with health, the wealth of much love, and the
gift of wisdom."

Ms. Lana O'Brien



Ms. Lana O'Brien hopes for "unity, peace and harmony in our country and in the world.  That we can all find healing from our differences and work together for the good of all."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Count Down to a New Year and to Sam's Return to Res

Everyone awaits a New Year with excitement.  And for all of us at Res there is a special excitement as we await the return of Samantha Crump.  As an extended family we have closely followed Sam's  treatment plan and we have shared in the joyful results of her post treatment progress.  

We have united in prayer and cheered Sam on during her treatment and now we eagerly look forward to having Sam back at Res this January.  Now Sam and her Mom have provided me with some great information and happy news to share with you. 

Sam wants us to know that while she was recovering she was also keeping very busy.  Sam  kept up with her school work through online courses.  She also visited classes and club meetings at Res via a robot, and she attended the Res Homecoming this past fall.  Most recently she has begun working at Norwood Crossings as a Dietary Aide.  In additon Sam has also been making blankets for other kids.

Sam has also become somewhat of a celebrity, having two live interviews on WGN Radio in September and November.  She is also scheduled to appear as a guest at the WGN Radio Station on December 13th because she is in the running for "Kid of the Year."  Good luck Sam!

Sam's dream is to become a nurse and work with children.  Having spent much time in clinics and hospitals over the past year, Sam understands the importance of clinical excellence but also the vital importance of the human touch and faith.  What a great foundation for a nurse who will make a difference in the lives and hearts of all whom she will serve.

See you soon Sam!

 Here is the link to Sam's November interview on WGN.

Samantha Crump