Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rockin Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

It's great to have a 16-year-old son, who is not only a young man with exemplary moral character, a hard worker, an athlete and great competitor, but he loves to cook and bake! I mean, what more could a mother want.

My husband and I are in awe of his interest in crafting delectable gluten free entrees, breakfast foods, and lunches. But, by far, his heart is melded with mine in his love for baked goods.

Recently, with very little assistance from me, he made some "cinnabun-ish" cinnamon rolls and with the yeasty aroma emanating from the oven, it was difficult to know the difference between the Mall-aroma or the home made version. Upon sampling, we realized that his were 'oh so much better.'

Here are the ingredients, if you want to give them a try

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup millet flour (or rice or brown rice or oat) 
  • OR SUBSTITUTE 1 1/2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE GLUTEN FREE FLOUR for the above flours and starches
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened


  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. Dissolve the yeast in large mixing bowl with warmed milk. Let bubble for a few minutes.
  2. Add sugar, butter, oil, and vanilla to milk/yeast mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. Add egg and combine thoroughly.
  4. Mix together salt, flour(s), baking soda, baking powder, and xanthan gum.
  5.  Slowly add flour mixture to mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. If the dough appears too sticky or wet, add more flour as needed.
  6.  Remove dough from mixing bowl and place in a greased container and put in a warm place to rise for 45-60 minutes. The dough will be extremely sticky--don't worry, this is all part of the gluten-free experience!
  7. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  8.  Roll dough to 1/4" thick 13 x 13 square between 2 pieces of well floured plastic wrap--and I mean well-floured! You will see why.
  9.  Remove top sheet of paper from rolled dough and spread softened butter on top of dough.
  10.  Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough surface.
  11.  Using bottom sheet of plastic wrap to grip, roll the dough into a log. Start at the end opposite of that which you left uncovered.
  12.  Carefully cut into 8 equal pieces using a long piece of dental floss crossed and pulled to separate the rolls. Place rolls in a greased baking dish, leaving about half an inch between rolls to allow for expansion. Put any remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of the rolls.
  13. Let rise for 30 minutes
14.  Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes until tops are golden brown, but not too done! 
   15. While the rolls are baking, combine frosting ingredients until soft and creamy--frost. 
Just try to eat just one!

Thanks Erin! 

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 30-final day

When I began the process of reinvention, I did so feeling like the grit scraping off the sides of craggy shale.
My anger rolled and boiled, threatening to burst forward into a cataclysmic eruption, and I planned to take no prisoners. 
It incensed me that I was not given the respect that I felt I deserved for an 18+ year writing career.
It upset me that my 16-year-old son was bringing home a larger paycheck for less hours worked.
I was dismayed that despite my frank discussions with a couple of editors, nothing was going to change.
I sought to find a new career, but none came to me.
The initial days were rugged, disappointing and demeaning to me as I pounded the pavement in search of another direction that might garner a larger paycheck.

Nothing happened.

Or did it?

Along the way, tears weakened my hardened shell, my soul cracked wide and I began witnessing my writing as a ministry--simply, gracefully and mercifully given to me by God.

I began a renewed relationship with Our Blessed Mother Mary and implored her for guidance, and she so lovingly, provided it.

Throughout these 30 days, a new world of blessings began appearing--small things, a bargain here, a smile, a sympathetic glance, an unexpected check, and comments from those whose lives were positively affected by the words I put to page.

I had no clue.

Yes, I know now the course that God has called me, and until He says otherwise--this is where I will stay.

My reinvention continues and while the theme may change, God's work will not and I am humbled to follow His most perfect path.

And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols. Ezekiel 36:25

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 29

So with just one day left of my 30 day personal challenge to reinvent myself, look at life in a new way, be happy and grateful for what we have and where we are.......well, I blew it.

Big time.

Not sure what happened, perhaps it was the lack of sleep, the stolen wallet and credit cards yesterday, the haste to meet deadline on a few stories...I don't know, but I had a major meltdown.

I got angry. I cried. I stomped around. I felt sorry for myself and wallowed a bit.

Then, I just surrendered and prayed to the Blessed Mother for grace and mercy.

Slowly, gently, it came. My problems were not solved, but I felt a bit calmer, resolute and determined to stand up and continue the good fight.  Somewhere along the way, I realized that this is no short term project, it is my lifelong journey and I will never really 'get it' until I am in the arms of Jesus. 

The encouraging words from my friend Terri gave me great comfort--especially considering we have traveled a similar path much of our lives. She reminded me that Mother Teresa would smile despite her suffering so no one knew she was suffering. What a fantastic lesson she continues to give to all of us.

I love this quote from her as well:

"The important thing, is not to waste suffering. Join it to the suffering of Christ; offer it up with his suffering. Don't waste suffering ."

So my inconsequential suffering is offered up today for others and I got outside to smell the flowers and felt much better.

“See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls.”-Mother Teresa

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 28

Had the wonderful opportunity to spend an evening with some of my college friends.
It's surprising what a night out with those you used to spend hours eating with, laughing with, and hanging out in the music department can do to the soul.

Despite the fact that it has been nearly 30 years since we have gotten together, time seemed to be a mystical division that despite a few wrinkles and grey hairs, evaporated into blissfully happy memories of the best time of my early adult life.

Carefree, selfish, exciting days of being cut loose from parental restrictions into the world of almost being independent. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted and with whom I wanted with few responsibilities other than my papers, exams and juries..

For much of the evening as I grooved to the sultry tunes of my 50-something jazz friends recounting the likes of John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Spyro Gyra and other charts of my era, I left aside the worries over my husband's wallet being stolen, the work left undone on my desk, the interviews coming up tomorrow. I was able to relax, smile and turn back the clock for a while........and despite the frivolity of the night, it almost felt like a few worries were lifted, a few wrinkles softened, and God's OK to have fun!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 27

While most of the material in my life is gone
many of my family has passed away or left my life
things I found necessities are no longer important
vacations that I used to think just reward for a year of hard work, suddenly mean little when putting food on the table has become challenging.
Going to fancy dinners, concerts or movies has changed to quiet nights at home, reading, watching Tv or playing games.

Am I a failure?
Is my life meaningless?
Did I do something wrong?

On the contrary, my husband and I are surviving through difficult times
not only surviving, we are thriving because He is within us
Each day, he gives us the grace and mercy to continue along and despite the bumps in the road--they are little in comparison to the suffering He endured for me.

Although we have little left to offer to each other or to others, we have compassion and we have integrity and perhaps that is the greatest lesson of all. For when it is all said and done, I long for the heart of Jesus and if the suffering we are enduring is to mold our hearts into His, then it all the suffering is worth it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 26

After having a back procedure today that required sedation, I spent the remainder of the day in a fog. It reminded me of the fog that encompassed the majority of my first 40 years of my life. I rarely felt valued or real--much of the time, I felt like a chameleon that blended into the expectations of what others wanted me to be.  Hiding behind dysfunction, pain, abuse and depression, it was as if a dark veil covered my eyes and weighed down my soul.

Years of healing made me into a new person, but I continue to be a work in progress---which requires daily prayers, daily devotion and reinforcement from the Holy Eucharist.

Often, the evil one works on my mind, threatening to drag me down to that foggy place, but he doesn't realize that my secret weapon is Jesus who reinforces who I am and gives me the strength to continue.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38

and Philippians 3:13-14 tells me:

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.

Thanks be to God--I mean, who thought I could learn a lesson from a medical procedure?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 25

I have so much to learn. Each day that I am on this journey of reinvention, I realize how much I have changed and how much I need to change.

In my shallow view of familial history, I remember what was done to me, what was expected of me and what a failure I often felt like. I did not realize until recently, that what was done to me was only a fraction of the entire picture and that each sibling in my family suffered their own personal histories, which, although distinct, were often equally as horrific.

As the child grows into the adult form, the mind, heart and sibling relationships remains in infancy, unless given the proper tools for growth. If a child has no parental guidance to transform into the adult mind--is there any hope of overcoming the pattern of dysfunction?


In my situation, I give all credit to Jesus Christ for pulling me out of extreme dysfunction into a new way of thinking and it all began with forgiveness. It was not easy; and often, I had to remind that inky voice welling up inside and bringing up former resentments, that I have forgiven that person for what they have done to me. Admittedly, there were occasions that required audibly repeating the action of forgiveness in order to go on. Without Jesus and the guidance of Our Blessed Mother, there would be no way that I could have forgiven these individuals and changed my self-destructive behaviors. It helped to understand that Jesus willingly stretched his arms on the wood of the cross and gave up his life for me, a sinner..... how humbling to know that He who was without sin, died so I could be forgiven.

For those members of my family choosing to remain in that narcissistic darkness of resentment and loathing, I feel very sorry for them.

But I understand.

After all, trusting in a loving God the Father and Mother Mary are incomprehensible to children who lived with spiteful, abusive and hurtful parents. So why trust? Because our heavenly Father and Mother define an unconditional love that no person in their human and flawed state can possibly do. But if we can just take a small step and reach out--grasp the fingers of Jesus and allow him to pull us out of the mire and into his warm embrace. Then the healing will come.

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you

My prayers continue for the healing of all who were harmed by dysfunctional upbringing and I thank our Lord for the work He is doing in my heart--the freedom is a miracle

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 24

Someone is clearly messing with my head and wanting me to fail. The enemy is alive and well and trying to steal my peace and my personal progress. Not only does the evil one place roadblocks, setbacks and people in my path to rob me of my joy--he also finds new and ingenious methods to really push me to new levels of insanity.

Take the check I received today for an entire month of writing for a certain publication. A mere $358 for hours of interviews, dozens of phone calls, and so many pages of research that my eyes failed to focus. This does not even begin to graze the time it took to scrawl the wordy feature length stories.

Excitedly, I ripped opened the mail today, hoping for a miracle. Hoping that they finally listened to my requests and realized that after nine years, it was time to raise my pay--time to give me a bit more respect, time to put social justice into action.

Fat chance--
I wanted to scream
I have bills to pay, a son's tuition is due, more than a dozen medical bills are past due, I have groceries to buy.......and $358 won't even cut the food bill.

I sunk to the floor--struggling to make sense of the knowledge that, although I take my job and my dedication to this publication very seriously, the relationship is far from reciprocal. Basically, their concerns are solely bottom line focused and all I am is a means to that bottom line.

What a slug to the gut.

This is where I struggle with many issues:

Am I in the right profession?
Should I quit and just work on my books?
Go back to school?
Deliver newspapers?
Find another job.......and if so, where?
After all, who wants a 51 year old woman who has spent 27 years at home raising five children and working as a freelance writer for 18 of those years?
Honestly, I would make more money doing pretty much anything than what I am doing now.
The problem is, how to quit what I am doing and find another profession that is lucrative?

On and on, I wrestled with this and felt less important than the slug crawling unnoticed under my tomato plants.

But through it all, I keep hearing Our Lord's voice speaking to my spirit:

"For I have great plans for you," "

Be still and know that I am God," and

"Not even a sparrow, worth only half a
penny, can fall to the ground without your
Father knowing it. And the very hairs on
your head are all numbered. So don’t be
afraid; you are more valuable to Him than
a whole flock of sparrows."
Matthew 10:29-31

So, until He instructs me otherwise, I will continue to work and not falter, be still and pray, and continue to trust that "he, who hath begun a good work in me, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:6

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 23

All around, the barren land screamed to heaven for deliverance.
Waves upon waves of agitating heat rose from the asphalt like putrid incense
Corn stalks, once flourishing, drew roots downward to the earth in search for moisture, leaves like arms begging to mother for a cup
Wasps, bees and hornets robbed the birds of water for their daily bath, huddling together to corroborate mock domination
Flowers, wilted, browned and parched, bowed their heads as if on their knees in prayer
Taking refuge beneath shady evergreens and overgrown brush were feral cats, squirrels and other crawling creatures seeking shelter from the relentless sun

Tempers flared, farmers worried, families escaped to malls and theaters, construction workers struggled to stand for yet another unbearable day of soaking humidity and sweltering heat

And then, the skies, as if preparing to give birth, moaned and wailed, offering crescendos of thunder and the brilliance of lightening.

Finally, the skies broke forth and the water flowed in abundance, soaking the planet.

Quiet whispers emanated from the earth to the Lord above......thank you for this gift.
As if the rain were the fountain of youth, the flowers quickly offer thanks by restoring their primal elegance

Philippians 4:19But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Matthew 7:11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
 We need not worry, for He is in control--thanks be to God

Countdown begins

I am looking at the calendar in shock this morning! It seemed like yesterday that we brought Erin home from St. Lawrence Seminary High School for summer vacation. Now it is less than a month before he returns for his Junior year. To me, this is the most pivotal year of high school--colleges are chosen, vocations are investigated, grades really matter and life as an adult is peering and beckoning from the corner.

It is amazing to me, just how busy we all are--living in the same home for a couple of months, but all racing into different directions--working, preparing the yard, visiting doctors, attending to the needs of our parish. While these are all necessary aspects of life--something has disappeared.


Today we are playing hooky, and workaholic that I am--we are making time to play together as a family. Yes, I see that dark storm clouds are beckoning--but like I said yesterday, we are learning to dance in the rain.

Have a blessed day

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 22

As I maneuver through each day--some with noticeable highs and others with clandestine lows, one thing towers above all--attitude. With tragedy encompassing many portions of the globe-- my daily struggles seem miniscule in comparison. Through my work as a writer, I am privileged to see the best of humanity, the worst, those who are provided plenty and those who do without the simplest elements for survival. A common thread among those who have suffered great loss, is the great appreciation for the tiny blessings, such as an innocuous kindness, a gentle smile, an unexpected letter in the mail.

Through my own tragedies and loss--I have learned to rely on Jesus and Mother Mary for support, guidance and love. It matters little where I sit on the popularity poll or economic ladder--what does matter is my attitude and how I muddle through difficult times.

Today I was discussing some social justice issues prevalent among Catholic freelance writers and found myself reaching  a boiling point. An hour later, I was speaking with a woman volunteering her time to save young children from the diabolical practice of child trafficking in Thailand, and I wept. Remarkably, this young missionary explained, the people are cheerful, grateful and happy despite living with the after effects of ethnic cleansing and human disrespect. My problems seemed so ridiculous in comparison.

My personal lesson for today is to dance in the midst of the storms--for if I can't appreciate the small blessings gifted to me from God than I am telling him that I am ungrateful for the life He has so freely given.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 21

Oh to be as carefree and happy as my canine companion

For the better part of an hour, Argyle, our Bichon Frise dismantled a stuffed blue monkey while I tried to work on some assignments.

Without fanfare, without whining or seeking praise for his accomplishment--he opened the back seam and methodically pulled white clumps of stuffing from the monkey's belly and head. By the time he was finished, a large mound of stuffing covered the carpeted floor, the monkey was deflated..and Argyle lay content at my side.

A way to handle frustration, perhaps? Or just having some much needed comic relief?

I think I could learn a lot from my dog as far as how to unwind.

Now, I doubt that I will be ripping the stuffing out of a blue monkey anytime soon, but perhaps I could call my sister back and laugh with her on the phone a little more, run around the yard with the dog, or read the comics in the newspaper.

I understand my job is often serious, and I take my Catholic faith very seriously, but I sincerely doubt that God wanted me to be this serious. For my next task, I'll try to have a bit more fun---but don't drive by looking for me carrying a stuffed toy in my teeth.....

Starry Sky Ranch

As a devoted Catholic mother of many children--I lost count at 10! Kim Fry writes simply, with beauty and elegance. She captivates all that is right with staying home and being a mother through carefully thought out photographs and touching comments. Reading her daily blogs gives my heart a needed boost and is like a breath of fresh air to my soul. Hope you check out Starry Sky Ranch and allow Kim's words and photos to change your life.

Thanks to Holly @ A life size Catholic Blog  for paying it forward, and for such a great idea!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 20

So many things to be grateful for today:
air conditioning
my inhalers
enough food to eat
a dog who is happy to see me no matter how my mood swings
an adoring husband who would do anything for me
a teenage son with the compassion of a saint
successful interviews
helping a technically challenged friend and watching him smile when he got it
a roof over my head
great friends,
the gift of Faith which surpasses all my understanding
and a heart overflowing with thankfulness 

Paying it forward

So I got this cool button for my blog and somehow I am supposed to use it to promote another person's blog--however, I am a bit techno-challenged here and have to figure out just how to make it work. I am hoping that the originator, Holly at A Life Sized Catholic Blog will step in and help me out!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 19

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6)

In the midst of my own personal quest for reinventing my heart, I've had to reconcile myself with the truth of my own lack of faith in God's providence. It is so very easy to rattle off esoteric and rehearsed comments to others who struggle with difficult situations, and it is so simple when life is going well, to be a cheerful Christian. 

But what do we do when the rug is pulled from under our chairs, our homes, or our very beings? Do we have the same trust and faith in our loving God? Over and over, we have gone through trials of estrangement, health, jobs, finances, and spirituality. I would love to stand up and say that I have suffered bravely, but the truth is, it has been a challenge. 

However, despite what the evil one wants, we have managed to keep our eyes on Christ, and walked towards the light--and He has not released us from his grasp. Our lives may be considerably different than they were six years ago, but our faith has grown stronger. 

Did we need suffering to boost our faith? I don't know, perhaps so. He knows much more the pattern of the finished tapestry, when all I can see are loosely tangled threads. What I think no longer matters, all that matters is Him and remaining faithful and faith filled. 

What path is he leading me? I have not seen the end of the chapter, but page by page, I continue and believe that the best is yet to come.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 18

Today was spent in the company of friends; relaxing, and enjoying our friendship. It was one of those rare days when I just got to be. Nothing else, just be. That alone is a valuable lesson

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 16 & 17

For those of you following my personal reinvention project, you will notice that today's post is the culmination of two days.

Am I becoming slothful in my writing?

No, but I will offer this single clue to you-a 22 month-old granddaughter who we babysat for a couple of days. Got the idea?

Witnessing her vigor, spunk and high energy permeating our home and yard has given me much pause to think on a couple of very important questions.

1. Am I getting old?
2. Why am I so tired?
3. How did I manage to take care of the house, the cooking and cleaning with five children who were all very closely spaced?

If someone has the answer to that one, I am all ears.

Anyway, this whole project of mine began in frustration as I felt as if my writing was going nowhere. The pay I receive for my work, especially in one specific market is so paltry that I truly could earn more flipping burgers at the neighborhood fast food establishment. Therein lies the dilemma--I made up my mind. I was going to quit taking assignments from them. It was time to dig in my heels and say 'no more!' It was time for the social justice wheel to land on my doorstep for once, and I was so serious that I began to tell everyone.

Of course, I had not anticipated a few things having to do with: the best laid plans, and telling God what I was going to do.

Have you ever heard God laugh?

Yeah, I have and I don't think He was laughing with me.

As soon as I made this announcement and began to divest myself from this arena, I began to receive compliments from innocuous sources, was completely snubbed by these fast food and coffee joints after spending hours writing applications, and suddenly, the assignments began pouring in. I mean pouring in. "What does this mean?" I ask the Big Guy.

All I heard was the snorting of His contagious, but hefty sniggering.

Yeah, I got the picture. Just go ahead and tell God your plans and see what happens.

Now, I am still not sure what His plans are for me. I do know that I cannot continue to write at this pace and for this meager sum for long.  Burnout has often visited this muse, leaving a charred and barren wake. But I can ascertain, that I am right where I am supposed to be.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Perhaps this whole reinvention was not in changing WHAT I do, but how I am on the inside. I do know one important fact, gratitude is imbued within it all.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Former parishioners recall man of deep faith

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Hying_Law03Bishop Don Hying poses with Don and Anne Lawinger at St. Aloysius Parish, West Allis in November 1997, following the baptism of their son, Thomas. (Submitted photo courtesy the Lawinger family)Larry Davis jokes that as a newlywed, the last thing he felt like doing when he came home from work, was attending a Bible study at St. Anthony Parish, Menomonee Falls, run by a transitional deacon. However, looking into the eyes of then-Deacon Donald J. Hying, he could think of no reason to decline, so he and his new wife, Kathy, signed up and never looked back.
“I felt obligated at first,” he said. “But Kathy and I went to one and then another and after that, didn’t miss one for three years. He was able to explain things so well and has this gift, in that he would take what I might think is a dumb question, extract the essence of the question, and put it into understandable terms.”
After his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Hying remained at St. Anthony Parish for five years, inspiring crowded pews of spirit-filled Catholics to hunger for a deeper meaning of their faith. His homilies strengthened struggling hearts and infused souls with an overflowing sense of confidence in their faith, as well as joy and love for the Eucharist. Like many others, his appointment as auxiliary bishop did not surprise Davis.
“I always knew he might be a bishop, but it happened much sooner than expected. I still think of him as a young person,” he said. “I was surprised and pleased for him, and since he has such a great sense of humor, I sent him a really obnoxious congratulations card.”
After leaving St. Anthony Parish, Fr. Hying became a missionary priest at the archdiocesan sister parish, Sagrada Familia, in the Dominican Republic, and Davis paid him a visit.
“He was basically the pastor of this huge area filled with many churches – I wasn’t prepared for all the squalor and poverty and, truthfully, I wanted to come back as soon as I got there,” Davis admitted. “But I got used to it; the people were so friendly and would literally offer you their last meal.”
On Thanksgiving Day, Fr. Hying obtained access to the prison in the area to say Mass for the inmates. The experience reminded Davis of a gruesome scene from the 1973 movie, “Papillon.”
“They were mostly political prisoners, but were living in indescribable conditions in this jail cell,” he said. “It was as if no one had been in there for a long while – and that experience changed me. Fr. Don said Mass and told us he was thankful for the opportunity to pray with them. Then we left; they had to stay and we got to leave.”
‘Destined for great things’
Early on, Terry Baudhuin kidded Fr. Hying about becoming a bishop, but beneath the surface jesting was Baudhuin’s belief that this was no ordinary priest, but one that was destined for great things.
Hying_02Bishop Hying, holding raffle paddles for sale, poses with accordionist Mike Schneider at the Our Lady of Good Hope Parish festival on June 13, 1999. Bishop Hying witnessed Schneider’s wedding, baptized his children and is godfather to one of his children. (Submitted photo courtesy Bishop Donald J. Hying)“My wife Barb and I traveled with him on many pilgrimages and often, at the end of the day, we’d sit and have a beer together and I would often tell him that one day we would be traveling with a bishop,” said Baudhuin, a member of St. Anthony Parish. “He has this special holiness about him, and when he left to serve the Dominican Republic, we kept in close touch with him.”
Baudhuin recalls numerous efforts to support Fr. Hying’s missionary work, but most of the money collected went instead to help the members of Sagrada Familia.
“He always traveled with just one shirt, one pair of pants and a pair of shoes,” said Baudhuin. “He gave all the money away that was given to him.”
Years later, after Fr. Hying was pastor of Our Lady of Good Hope, Baudhuin and his wife accompanied him on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The missionary team was not prepared for the outpouring of love toward their priest friend.
“It was the late 1990s and when we walked into the church, the people applauded him,” said Baudhuin. “They hadn’t seen him for three years and the rest of us missionaries just waited for hours while he blessed all the people and talked with them. He was very much loved.”
‘What you see is what you get’
Active in the pro-life movement, the Baudhuins often prayed with Fr. Hying in front of abortion clinics, and both were amazed at his dedication to the cause.
“What you see is what you get with him,” said Terry Baudhuin. “There is no hidden agenda. He will be a great servant to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He recognizes that this appointment is God’s hand at work and will guide us. He is a pastoral guy with a wonderful approach to Catholicism. He is not a theologian, but a bishop-pastor and will be a very good one.”
While their newly ordained priest stood at the altar of St. Anthony Parish, Don and Anne Lawinger examined him from their pew and knew immediately there was something different about Fr. Hying. They saw not only a faith-filled servant, but also a man who, they later learned, held a special connection to Pope John Paul II.  When the pope’s biography, “Witness to Hope” was released, Fr. Hying read the 960-page book in just two or three days, including the footnotes.
“He tried, during several trips to Rome, to get a private audience with John Paul II, but he never was able to pull enough strings,” explained Don Lawinger. “My two oldest daughters and I went to World Youth Day in Toronto with Fr. Don’s group. We knew how much he wanted to see the pope, so we got as close as we could to his motorcade route, but we were still about five rows back. A couple of us guys hoisted Fr. Don up onto our shoulders just before John Paul II passed by. He said the pope looked right at time, and you could tell it really affected him.”
Parishioners’ spirituality is primary concern
Of primary concern to Fr. Hying was the spirituality of the members of his parish, and receiving the sacraments often.
Hying_15Bishop Don Hying accompanies a group of travelers from the Milwaukee Archdiocese on a train heading to an event in Toronto during World Youth Day, July 23 to 28, 2002. (Submitted photo courtesy Bishop Donald J. Hying)“He would preach about confession and encourage people to go to daily Mass,” said Don. “We had Masses at 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. every day. He would regularly celebrate a Mass on his day off and two Masses on the pastor’s day off. A lot of people would go – but he always wanted more.”
Don and Anne are convinced that Bishop Hying will serve the archdiocese well.
“You know, as amazing as this is, the more amazing thing is that he is a saint in our midst,” said Anne. “He is just very close to God and he really brings God — Jesus Christ — to all of us and through himself. When my husband went to the Dominican Republic with him, he came back and said that Don is a living saint because they all saw how much he sacrificed and how much he did for the people. He is a very hands-on priest.”
Don visited Fr. Hying in the Dominican Republic twice, and no matter where they traveled in the area, each time the layman came away feeling blessed, and with a newfound appreciation for the dedication of their beloved priest.
“Once we drove to a little village and we went door to door, letting the people know that he was there and would soon start a class in the church,” explained Don. “The church was a broken down, little shed with a single light bulb hanging down. Fr. Don started to teach the few who showed up, but gradually, more and more people came until the church was full and then they gathered outside the open windows so that they could hear him. “Eventually, there had to be over 100 people there, and they all listened intently. As I watched this, I thought, ‘This must be the way it was when Jesus taught the people.’ It was amazing.”
He’s ‘everyone’s friend’
Everyone was a friend to Fr. Don, insist Lil and George Roohana, members of Our Lady of Good Hope Parish. He was compassionate, outgoing and intelligent, and involved in nearly every parish activity during his years as the parish priest.
“He made good changes for the best with the parish and school, and ended up with a younger, more involved group of parish members,” said Lil. “Throughout it all, he made us all feel special – even to the point of calling me Saint Lil – which, of course, was a little far-fetched.”
Lil expects that Bishop Hying will be more present in the lives of all Catholics in the archdiocese.
“He will be a wonderful bishop and the people will respond to him positively,” she said. “They will want to work with him in all facets of our religion.”
Often led by example
Hard working and devoted, Fr. Hying’s effect on parishioners was so great, that when it was time for him to transfer to another parish, often parishioners moved as well, according to Our Lady of Good Hope members, Norb and Dorothy Whittle.
Hying_07Friends surprised Bishop Don Hying with a 40th birthday party in August 2003. Pictured, left to right, are Bishop Hying, Lisa and Tim Kelley and Paul Schramka. (Submitted photo courtesy Bishop Donald J. Hying)“He led by example,” said Norb. “Our parish grew while he was here. If you heard him speak, you were hooked. When he got transferred, the people that followed him here left the parish. If he had gone to another parish instead of the seminary, the whole parish would have followed him there. He was the hardest working priest I have ever been associated with; he didn’t know how to say no, was up early and stayed up late. He had time to exercise and still make almost every evening meeting.”
A friend to the Knights of Columbus, the youth, and the unborn, Fr. Don regularly participated in the Life Chain for the Unborn. He worked the parish festivals, attended the fish fries and still had time for each person.
“Father will be a very hard working, conservative bishop,” Dorothy said. “He will be honest to a fault and he will be a leader. You can’t say ‘no’ to Fr. Don, and he was always full of compliments.”
A ringing doorbell startled Donna Ruelle one morning as she was struggling through a difficult day. She was dealing with the ups and downs of caring for her special needs son, Randy, and spent the morning near tears; when she opened her door, she was shocked to see Fr. Hying on the other side of the threshold.
“He was in the neighborhood and just decided to stop by to see how I was doing,” she said, choking back tears. “I looked at him, put my arms around him and just started sobbing. He held me as I sobbed for the longest time. I know he was sent to me for a reason that day – God knew I needed him at that moment.”
Wonderful rapport with all ages
Ruelle believes he will carry that sensitivity to the rest of the archdiocese.
“He is spiritually oriented and just has this way of presenting himself in doing things – in his homilies and everything else,” she said. “I don’t know anyone who didn’t love him while he was here. No one wanted him to leave – but now we all get to enjoy him. He will be very good as a bishop, and part of it is due to the wonderful rapport he has with all ages, young and old.”
Through the intercession of prayers from those on earth and in heaven, Mary Ann Poole believes that God listened and called Fr. Hying to become an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
“I know my mother, Bess, has been watching over him,” she said. “My mom had macular degeneration and couldn’t be left alone. Fr. Don would often come over and sit and have a beer with her so I could go for a walk, or run some errands.”
When Bess suffered a stroke at 93 and died, Fr. Hying celebrated her funeral Mass at their parish, St. Anthony.
“He had the most beautiful funeral for her and I was so happy that day because she had such a wonderful celebration of her life,” said Poole.
When Fr. Hying’s appointment as auxiliary bishop was announced, Poole admitted that while she was not surprised, she was a bit disappointed.
“I thought he should start much higher up, but I guess you have to start at the bottom,” she said, laughing. “He is a marvelous man with so much talent, warmth, compassion and always seems to take care of the ‘lessers,’ and my mom was a lesser. He will bring all of that to his new position in the church.”

To friends, appointment welcome, but not surprising

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Hying_20Bishop Donald J. Hying poses with his close friends, Anthony Corcoran, left to right, Jeff Bloechl and Michael Wick following his Mass of Thanksgiving after his ordination in 1989. Corcoran is now a Jesuit priest and is regional superior for the Society of Jesus in Russia; Bloechl, now married, is a professor of philosophy at Boston College, and Wick, now married and the father of four, is executive director of the Institute of Religious Life in Libertyville, Ill. (Submitted photo courtesy Bishop Donald J. Hying)She always knew he was destined to become a bishop. When the pastor of St. Peter Parish, East Troy, was recuperating from an injury, Fr. Donald J. Hying stepped in to fill the void for a few months in 1998, and frequently crossed paths with parish volunteer, Sue Healey.
“I was on every committee and showing up for everything at that point in my life, and Fr. Don was coming to all of the meetings, too,” she explained. “After about the third meeting, he recognized me and said, ‘Well, hello again.’”
With a flexible home sewing business, Healey volunteered often while her children attended the parish school, and although she jokes about the many hours volunteering at church, she recalls that time fondly, as it was the start of a close, 14-year friendship with Fr. Hying.
“Within months of knowing him, I said that he would become a bishop someday; I am not sure why I said that, but I just had this prophetic feeling that it was a matter of time,” said Healey. “He had so many wonderful characteristics and I saw in him a very humble person, filled with humility, sincerity and knew that he truly cared for his flock. He was humorous and had a very good and delightful sense of humor.”
Through the years, the friendship between Bishop Hying, Healey and her husband, Dale, grew; and often their home served as a quiet sanctuary for the young priest needing a brief respite from a harried schedule.
“We still try to get together a couple of times a year,” she said. “Our home is open to him at all times.”
From Fr. Don to ‘Your Reverence’
The morning that Bishop Hying’s appointment was announced, Healey was doing something unusual: the normally early riser was getting a few extra winks of sleep.
“I never sleep in, but that day, my husband, who was such a sweetheart, got up and let me sleep a while,” she said. “When I got up and came down the hall, Dale was smiling and said, ‘Well you will never get to call Fr. Don ‘Father’ anymore; it will have to be ‘Your Reverence,’ he said. He asked me if I was surprised, but I said no, because I knew it for years. I just thought it was the most wonderful news. Besides my sleeping in, the day was even more unusual in that we rarely watch the morning news – but I am so glad Dale watched it that day.”
According to Healey, the Milwaukee Archdiocese will be getting a genuine, selfless and caring bishop.
“He is the epitome of what Christ asked us all to become,” she said. “He has been a wonderful mentor for me, for my husband and our three sons. He has always been someone you looked to, who gave you the hope to strive for that holiness yourself. Fr. Don is this person. He will not show pious behavior as a bishop, but will be a wonderful all-around person who encourages a yearning for holiness.”
Seminarians were fast friends
As classmates at Saint Francis Seminary in 1981, Mike Wick and Bishop Hying became fast friends. While Wick would not enter priestly formation, he never once felt as if Bishop Hying disapproved of his choice.
Hying_21Mike O’Loughlin, left, helps close friend, Don Hying, right, celebrate his 11th birthday, Aug. 18, 1974. The two became fast friends in fifth grade while riding the bus to Immaculate Heart of Mary School together, and have remained friends through the years. O’Loughlin, brother of Fr. Patrick O’Loughlin, is marketing and communications director for the School Sisters of St. Francis. (Submitted photo courtesy Bishop Donald J. Hying)“We had several of us that didn’t continue on to the priesthood, and he performed our marriages, baptized our children and buried some of us,” said Wick, executive director of the Institute of Religious Life, Libertyville, Ill. “He never once acted as if he made it and we didn’t; we were always all in it together.”
Whether due to the death of his brother as a young child, or an inherent compassion instilled by the Holy Spirit, Wick believes Bishop Hying carries a special connection to God that he shares with others.
“He is a servant priest and very much aware of his call to holiness and to serving the spiritual needs of others,” said Wick. “He recognizes that we are all called to be saints, and always has time or will make time to respond to personal and pastoral needs. He is very human and will show it with joy, sadness, strength and his own human limitations. He is truly open to who he is and who he is called to be as a priest – and that is to imitate Christ.”
Deep love for Eucharist
When Fr. Hying served as pastor of Our Lady of Good Hope Parish, he felt the Lord placing it on his heart in prayer to share his deep love for the Eucharist by constructing an adoration chapel. According to Wick, his deep trust and intuitiveness to God led him to act on this calling to lead others to the Eucharist.
“He sort of marked this place in the church to put it in and knew he needed about $10,000-$20,000 to create a safe place that would be a powerhouse of prayer within the parish,” explained Wick. “When he got to the rectory that day, a woman came and said that the Lord placed it on her heart to make a donation for a eucharistic chapel and made out the check for the exact amount needed.”
Focus is on others, not self
Quick to poke fun at himself and his own shortcomings, Fr. Hying understands his own humanness. According to Wick, he would be first to scoff at any pomp or monuments in his honor, but rather, focus on servitude toward others. His appointment as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese was joyful, but not surprising to his longtime friend.
“I didn’t get to my phone in time, but was wondering who on earth would be calling me at 5:30 in the morning,” exclaimed Wick. “But it was Don, leaving me a voicemail and sharing the good news. I was crying and my wife, Bianca, said that she had only seen me cry one other time. I just felt such joy that the Lord chose the right person for the job. It was a great moment and having been friends with him since college, I know he is the real deal. He is sensitive and grounded in deep spirituality and he calls us to a life of holiness, beginning with himself.”
Friend of 38 years remembers ‘good kid’
Since the boys were fifth graders living in the same neighborhood, Mike O’Loughlin and Bishop Hying rode the bus together to Immaculate Heart of Mary School in West Allis. They quickly became best friends, and their parents developed a close bond as well.
As young boys, the thought of one of them becoming bishop was the furthest thing from their minds, admitted O’Loughlin, marketing and communications director for the School Sisters of St. Francis.
FirstMassCelebrationwithFormerSeminarians_2Bishop Donald J. Hying celebrates with former seminarians and friends after his first Mass of Thanksgiving after his ordination as a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in May 1989. (Submitted photo courtesy Mike Wick)“I think both he and I would have cracked up laughing at the suggestion that one day he would be a bishop of Milwaukee,” he said. “After all, those were the men who had buildings named after them at the seminary. But having seen the man that Don has become, and the admirable way he has lived his priestly vocation, I am not surprised – but I am delighted.”
Respectful to adults and other schoolmates, Fr. Don often found creative methods to diffuse playground conflicts and would speak out against any type of bullying tactics.
“He was never afraid to speak up, speak out or share his faith with other people, even at an early age,” said O’Loughlin. “While that just made him a ‘good kid’ in my mind at the time, today I look back with great admiration and can appreciate how fortunate I’ve been to call him a friend for so many years.”
Parents instilled Catholic values
O’Loughlin credits Fr. Hying’s parents, Albert and Catherine, with instilling great love and Catholic devotion in their children.
“They were two of the kindest, most devout, and loving people I have ever met, and they lived their Catholic faith every day, in every facet of their lives,” he said. “Whether it was through participation at daily Mass, their outreach in many ministries, or their family devotions at home, they truly shaped Don and his brothers. I feel most fortunate to have been touched by their friendship and loving examples.”
Throughout their 38-year friendship, both men have participated in a variety of milestones together. O’Loughlin attended Fr. Hying’s ordination and served as lector at his first Mass, and Fr. Hying was there when O’Loughlin married his wife, Donna.
“He was lector and assisted the celebrant at my wedding,” he said, adding, “He had just started seminary at the time.”
Sharing his joy for the Christian faith and bringing it to others will be the foundation of his service to the archdiocese as bishop said O’Loughlin.
“He is gifted at articulating and sharing that joy with others, whether it is one-on-one, with a congregation, or with the community at large through the media,” O’Loughlin said, adding, “His love for the sacraments and his devotion to supporting others in their faith journeys is something that stands out above everything else.”
Always seeks the positive
O’Loughlin believes that Bishop Hying will shine through his sense of humor, intelligence, priestly experience and pastoral nature. He has served as a priest, and understands each of the challenges placed before the priests in the archdiocese – and will seek the positive, no matter the situation.
“He understands and appreciates all they do as teachers, preachers, administrators and missionaries,” he said. “Also, Don has always had a great love of learning, so I expect he will seek out opportunities to continue to learn from his brother priests, and to share what he has learned to encourage and support the clergy in their ministries.”
Friendship began at seminary
On his first day attending Saint Francis Seminary in the winter of 1985, Fr. Hying was one of the first people Jeff Bloechl met as he was navigating his way around the campus. The two hit it off immediately, and have maintained a close friendship for the past 25 years.
“When I met my future wife, Catherine Cornille, about six years later, Don quickly became a close friend of hers, too,” he said. “She is Belgian, and we were married in Belgium. Don flew over to concelebrate.”
Despite living in Boston, where Bloechl is a professor of philosophy at Boston College, the two friends see each other frequently.
“Our paths have crossed all over the world, sometimes for a day or several days,” said Bloechl. “I was able to be at his ordination, and he is godfather to my youngest daughter, Julia.”
Modestly ‘wears’ his priesthood
Fr. Hying exhibits a deep sincerity for others by the simple and modest way he “wears” his priesthood, an attribute that Bloechl admires.
“People love Don so easily,” he said. “But I know he also has a very deep devotion to the Eucharist. Among the many unforgettable things he has said to me over the years, I remember him once saying, long after his ordination, that each Mass he celebrates ‘still gives me a sort of electric shock of joy.’”
His sense of humor and penchant for teasing and allowing to be teased by others is an attribute that Bloechl particularly enjoys, especially when the two are visiting with another close friend, Tony Corcoran.
“Our conversation is often animated by a constant quick teasing in which it is very, very difficult to get the best of Don,” he said. “Don can also laugh with nearly anyone – and laugh at himself, and as I am sure he will agree, there is no lack of material from that source. Of course, like nearly anyone who knows Don well, I have about 9,000 unrepeatable funny stories.”
He believes the archdiocese will get an enthusiastic and hands-on bishop who places his love of Christ and the Catholic Church above all else.
“I have long thought that Don would be a good bishop, but somewhat surprised that the institutional church saw this and acted on it,” said Bloechl. “He will make a good bishop because his life is rooted in prayer and the love of the church.”

Lesser-known facts about Bishop Don Hying

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Excessive snoring can nearly drive Bishop Hying to the brinksttheresewall1One wall in Bishop Donald J. Hying's office at Saint Francis Seminary, St. Francis, is dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux, a saint to whome he has a special devotion. (Catholic Herald photo by Maryangela Layman Román)
When Sue Healey accompanied Fr. Hying on one of her many mission trips to Haiti, a number of them shared a small room separated by a thin, cardboard wall.
“Basically, we had a couple of people in our group that snored really bad,” explained Healey. “It woke a few of us up during the night and it was hard to fall back asleep.”
When morning arrived, Healey admitted that a few of the noisy culprits endured a bit of ribbing, especially from a bleary-eyed Fr. Hying.
“He came out and said, ‘For the first time in my life, I contemplated murder and suicide at the same time,’” she laughed, adding, “He always has had such a great sense of humor and can find the joy in just about anything.”
A photographic memory Although he triple majored in college, Fr. Hying kept just one notebook throughout all four years at Marquette University. According to Mike Wick, despite his superior intelligence, Fr. Hying’s humility was such that no one knew the extent of his giftedness.
“He has this phenomenal memory and carried a very high GPA, but kept all of his notes in only one notebook,” he said. “He had this incredible photographic memory, and while he studied and hit the books, he never gave you the air that he was cramming for a test. He just assimilated information quickly, and articulated everything profoundly.”
He cannot turn a somersault While he exhibited nearly superhero ability in achieving three majors in college in just four years, according to good friend, Jeff Bloechl, Fr. Hying is still is unable to do a somersault, despite frequent encouragement to try.
He’s a closet crooner In addition to Fr. Hying’s inexhaustible source of knowledge about things as diverse as English history, Christian mysticism, and the entire Kennedy family, he is known to croon when he thinks no one is listening.
“When he thinks he is alone, he often sings Kemper Krabb songs (Kemper Krabb mixes contemporary folk music with medieval themes), aloud to himself, said Wick. “I imagine that Don will squirm when he reads this, but it seems to be a good thing to let people in Milwaukee know that they are getting someone truly extraordinary.”
Country music buff and more! The Rolling Stones and other rock and roll groups didn’t hold a candle to Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Tanya Tucker; according to childhood friend, Mike O’Loughlin. Fr. Hying is an “old school” country music lover, through and through.
“He also enjoyed watching the old Errol Flynn swashbuckler movies, and is a lover of American history. He was a voracious reader of the ‘Signature Series,’ autobiographies published in the 1950s,” said O’Loughlin. “I don’t know if he read them all, but he read all the copies that were in the Immaculate Heart of Mary and New Berlin public libraries.”
If he looks nervous, play along In his eagerness to visit his friend, Larry Davis was in a giddy mood while watching a few armed men speaking in Spanish with Bishop Hying near the rectory at Sagrada Familia. An excited visitor, Davis, armed only with a camera thought it might be a great opportunity to snap some pictures.
“So I went up to these guys with the automatic weapons and began joking around with them, and moving them around so I could take their pictures,” explained Davis, unaware that the armed men had been sent by the government to intimidate Bishop Hying and prevent him from working for land ownership rights for the people. “It wasn’t until later, that I learned Bishop Hying was talking them out of arresting him. Here I was, joking around and didn’t understand the gravity of the situation and there Don was, sweating bullets. They finally left, and he didn’t say too much after that, other than he was thankful they left.”
Fr. Hying’s shoelaces once sold for $75 each! As Bishop Hying prepared to leave St. Anthony for his ministry to the Dominican Republic, he boxed up things to give to charity, some to give away and some to keep. According to Terry Baudhuin, a parishioner decided to have a bit of fun at Fr. Hying’s expense at his farewell party in the church hall.
“This one guy was an auctioneer and held up a statue and got one lady to bid $300 on it,” said Baudhuin. “Then he held up Fr. Don’s old tennis shoes and someone was going to bid, but this dentist from our church said he would bid $75 for one shoelace. Then someone else bid on the other shoelace. By the end of the party, we had raised $1,200 to send with him to the Dominican Republic. It shows you the impact he had on people in just a few years.”
Bishop Hying enjoys a good movie … again and again! The 1963 movie, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” is one of Bishop Hying’s favorites, according to Don Lawinger, who sat through the epic length flick with him on a couple of occasions.
“He can probably quote every single line in it,” he said. “I’ve watched it with him twice, and each time he nearly rolls on the floor with laughter throughout the whole movie.”
He could sell paddles without a raft better than anyone! Summer festivals at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish were always fun, but Bishop Don managed to make the events a greater success with the annual paddle raffles.
“A paddle raffle is where Fr. Don would sell 10 paddles at $1 each for different prizes, and after every 10 paddles sold, a number would be drawn,” explained Lil Roohana. “He would sell them until there were no more prizes. The prizes were sometimes just a six-pack of beer, but it was fun. It’s been a while since we have done this – but it was always a huge success.”
He has an affinity for ‘sporty’ cars “He had this little red Volkswagen that he just loved,” said Dorothy Whittle
He would give you the shoes off his feet Mary Ann Poole remembers Fr. Don sitting in her garage, sipping a beer with her mother, Bess. Her mother would sit in the chaise lounge and he would sit, legs crossed in the camp chair. It was then, that Poole noticed the shoes.
“He always used to look like he was wearing someone else’s shoes,” she said. “But it was because he always gave his shoes away because someone poor needed them. He did this all the time.”
Bishop Hying makes a great warmup catcher About a year ago, Bishop Hying told your Catholic Herald that he was invited to a meeting with Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki at the archbishop’s residence, the Brothers’ House, on seminary grounds. The two discussed issues related to Saint Francis Seminary, but after the discussion, Archbishop Listecki asked Bishop Hying if he’d go outside with him and play catch. Somewhat bewildered, Bishop Hying agreed.
The two went into the backyard and tossed a 16-inch softball back and forth. After several throws, a confused Bishop Hying, wondering if Archbishop Listecki had reverted to his childhood, finally asked, “Why are we doing this?”
Matter-of-factly Archbishop Listecki responded that he had been asked to throw out the first pitch at an upcoming Milwaukee Brewers game, and he needed to practice.
Special devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux (can run with stthereseshrine photos in symbols photo folder) Bishop Hying has a special devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower. Bishop Hying read a biography of the 19th-century saint when he was in his mid-teens and strongly considering priesthood. As he explained, she is an unlikely person to be elevated to sainthood, as she died at age 24 after becoming a nun at age 15. While her accomplishments were not huge, she did “little things with great love,” said Bishop Hying, who has a small shrine to her on the wall of his seminary office.
“She’s also a powerful intercessor,” said Bishop Hying. “Never have I prayed to her where I didn’t receive an answer almost sometimes an abrupt, unbelievable answer,” he said, describing how the saint is called the Little Flower as shortly after her death roses unexpectedly appeared. Bishop Hying noted that on the day of his announcement as bishop, he received four dozen roses from various people.
An odd couple? Two years into his priesthood, Bishop Hying was involved with two organizations not often discussed in the same sentence: Casa Maria (the Catholic Worker movement) and Opus Dei. He volunteered weekly with Casa Maria and attended formation events at Opus Dei. Looking back on that time, Bishop Hying said “both movements have something to say to the broader church and maybe if there’s a gap that needs to be healed in the church today, it’s that gap that maybe has been called traditional and liberal, where working with the poor should not be seen as liberal and going to Eucharistic adoration shouldn’t be seen as conservative, it should just be that both of those are Catholic extensions of the faith. It seems to me that that’s the divide that should be healed in the church today.”

The Reinvention project-day 15

Be nothing solicitous; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

I’d love to be the kind of believer who exudes spirituality, but the real me is a scattered, disorganized, bumbling Catholic. My life is filled with to-do’s, deadlines, shoulds, should nots, quick meals, Facebook, and email. With all these distractions, is there any reason to think I could ever be good at prayer? Of course! And if that’s something you’ve ever pondered, you can too. The reality is, despite our self-induced busyness, we don't need to ignore the mystical gift of prayer.

For me, the only real way to see continuous, intimate, profound prayer is to make prayer a breath, a time, a space, and accompaniment to the ordinary.  Prayer should be a melody from the Holy Spirit working through our day. It’s a continual relationship--a silent, quiet conversation between you and Jesus. He longs to spend his day with us.  He wants to know our weaknesses, our highs and our lows.

 To those who feel that they have THE SECRET, the reality is, that it isn't in wishing or imagining an outcome, but rather in knowing that God is our secret. He is always available, whether on our knees in the pew, or crying for help huddled behind the rolled windows of our vehicles on the way to work.

As we might have tea with an old friend, we can visit with Our Lord, or we can breathe His name vocally or within our souls. We can offer our household chores, shopping, employment, or any situation to God as a sacrifice for others. 

As I journey, I am learning that rather than beat myself up for not spending a designated hour or two in prayer or reading Sacred Scripture--that it is perfectly OK to make my entire day an offering..........and that, like my faith is a gift. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 14

Trying to reinvent myself when I am sick and can barely breathe seems a daunting task indeed. Just as I began feeling inner turmoil and insulted by God for sidelining me as it seems He has done, a slight revelation pierced my heart.

Actually, the piercing thing was the pleurisy--but nonetheless, God did send a message; and one that was loud and clear.

Slow the heck down!

Not in a chastising or shameful manner, but in quiet, gentle tones of a loving Father concerned for his daughter. "Slow down, allow yourself to rest and allow Me to work on healing you inside and out."

But I don't sit still. I can't. I am too obsessive compulsive to do such things, I whine to Him.

"Exactly," which is why I can speak to you now, because you have no choice, but to rest.


I am a slow study for sure, and oftentimes need it all spelled out in colorful pictures.

My lesson for today is just to Be.
Be content
Be patient
Be still
Be restful
Be watchful
Be aware
Be at peace.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 13

So today's task, should I care to accept it, is: How to make the most of pleurisy

Well, I am thanking God for cough medicine with codeine, thankful for antibiotics, thankful for a husband and a couple of friends who forced me to see the doctor today so I didn't have to have my pleural sacs drained.......gee, now that sounds like a fun way to spend a summer vacation.

I am also grateful that i finished six stories before 6 a.m. today, and got a few more assignments added on. Now I just have to feel better in order to do them.

This is about all I can handle today--this who reinvention thing is probably going to take a while

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Reinvention project-day 12

Trying to find the positives for today as things have gone totally upside down and sideways. I am running on nearly empty, physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. On top of that, my asthma flare up of last week has incited an extremely painful lung infection.
 the positives:
still have shelter
still have food
no noticable storm damage
power is on
angelic granddaughter is sleeping on my bed next to my husband who is recovering from surgery
and Erin made it home safe from work--albeit 4 hours early as they closed Six Flags due to the storm.
The words I hear from within: Be Still and know that I am God
Yes, I am a work in progress

What is the future of Catholic education?

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KENOSHA — Memories of the traditional uniform, lunch box, book bag and religious sisters in habits often bring smiles to the faces of reminiscing adults who grew up attending their neighborhood Catholic schools. Those same adults assumed their children would attend their parish schools and learn Catholic values as part of their academic formation.
Between generations, those schools, the parishes of which they were a part, and the parishioners themselves changed. Collectively, children and grandchildren of those reminiscing adults had fewer children. Rare is the parish-based school that is not challenged by decreasing enrollment and increasing costs for personnel. Rarer are habit-clad religious in those schools – religious whose predecessors helped keep the personnel costs low.
According to Wayne Thompson, a professor in the Department of Sociology at Carthage College, there are major obstacles to Catholic schools flourishing. He discussed his research and its findings in a March 1 seminar at Carthage College, and included information from two surveys with Kenosha parishioners and Catholic school parents about Catholic schools. He compared that data to what he discovered in an identical study in Marshfield.
Issues such as parental cost of a Catholic education, the lack of access to child care, higher cost of paying lay teachers in contrast to years of service by religious,  as well as the desire for special education, computer courses and extracurricular activities are often reasons parents choose to send their children to public schools.
Additionally, in the Kenosha area with the recent school mergers, Thompson learned that the traditional parish schools are disappearing due to a lack of scholarships, declining parish subsidies and declining enrollments.
“Parents are the frontline in the battle over Catholic schools, since a ‘choice’ orientation spills over from the general culture, and the more blatant discrimination and prejudice against Catholic immigrants has somewhat declined,” he said, pointing to the fact that with school choice, Hispanics are increasingly choosing Catholic schools for their children. In the Milwaukee Archdiocese, from the 2000-01 school year to 2010-2011 school year, there was an increase of 2,946 Latino students in the elementary schools and 489 in the high schools.
“For Latinos, the concerns are twofold: are they committed to Catholic education for their children and who would pay the costs since Latinos are less able than whites to afford Catholic schools.”
His Kenosha study included 310 Spanish speakers who appeared to be less committed to Catholic education, younger than the overall Catholic adult population in Kenosha and less economically able to afford Catholic tuition and related costs.
After interviewing administrators, staff/faculty, parents and priests, he found that the more traditionally minded Catholics supported the K-8 parish model; however, that model is vulnerable to enrollment declines due to the inability of the parish to support the school.
“This indicates a rift in the Catholic community with moderate Catholics more supportive of consolidation and more traditional Catholics committed to the K-8 parish-based model,” he said. “In Marshfield, consolidation occurred in 2002 when one parish K-8 school was closed and remaining grades were divided among two other parishes. Similar to Kenosha’s consolidated school (St. Joseph Academy), the junior high school in Marshfield was combined in the same building as the high school.”
The two communities differ in that Kenosha has a population of 165,382 and draws about 100 students from Illinois, while the size of Marshfield – 18,148 – limited the opportunity for competition between the consolidated approach and the traditional parish based K-8 school model.
Despite the financial aspects of Catholic education, Thompson learned that the education of Catholic women might be another factor in their offspring not pursuing a Catholic education. In Fr. Andrew Greeley’s 1982 book, “Angry Catholic Women,” he argued that Catholic baby boomer women, especially those who are college educated, send mixed signals about their Catholic identity to their children.
“He was my mentor and wrote four books and numerous articles about Catholic schools,” said Thompson. “Pursuant to the 1968 encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae,’ many Catholic women in North America ignored Catholic teaching about birth control. This ‘choice’ orientation results in selective perceptions about Catholic identity and authority in private, moral decisions. Fr. Greeley suggested in that book and others that young, educated Catholic women would send mixed messages about their Catholic identity to their children and might be less eager to choose Catholic education for them as well. Since Catholic school enrollment since the 1960s has fallen from five (million) to two million, he may have been right about that study, although his evidence was correlational, and causal links were not well established in that study.”
The future for Catholic schools may be an elitist one, according to Thompson, who admitted that while Fr. Greeley didn’t like that prospectus, with escalating costs and loss of parish identity, the Catholic schools may become the province of higher social class families, including the 10-15 percent of students nationwide who are not Catholic.
As an example, Thompson is a Lutheran who attended Catholic high school in 1973 and was the only non-Catholic in the school. In some cities, school choice allows a variety of Catholic and non-Catholic students of various races to attend Catholic schools using government money. However, in some of these schools and academies, 70 to nearly 100 percent of the students are non-Catholic, especially when (primarily Baptist) African Americans are the key enrollees.
“There are also ‘new paradigm’ Catholic parishes sprouting up in suburban locations, but often they don’t have their own parish-based schools,” said Thompson. “As the Catholic population continues to shift from ethnic neighborhoods of immigrants to the suburbs, Catholic schools are not following them.”
When they do, tuition costs, especially for consolidated Catholic high schools, become prohibitive for Latinos and Catholics of modest means, and when the suburban schools do thrive, it is generally at the high school level.
“Inner city students must find transportation and scholarships to attend these elite suburban academies,” Thompson said. “That paints a bleak portrait for fulfilling the ‘preferential option for the poor’ that is a cherished value at a premium for many Catholic educators in Catholic education.”
While Catholic schools are perceived to be of high quality, Thompson’s study also finds that when public schools are of seemingly reasonable quality, Catholics are more willing to consider transferring out of Catholic schools for their children.
“There is a major concern in Marshfield where the local tax base is solid, supported by the Marshfield Clinic with over 500 physicians, and the local schools are perceived to be excellent, offering advanced placement courses,” said Thompson, adding, “And the remaining 600 students in Marshfield Catholic schools are seen as ‘targeted’ by the public schools.”
Thompson’s next research projects include ecological analysis of populations of all types of Catholic schools in a variety of resource environments, additional study of stakeholders embedded in local community systems of Catholic parishes and schools, and more study of religious motives and factors in Catholic education, including non-school religious education and its impact on Catholic identity and loyalty.
While Thompson and his family attend a Lutheran church in Racine, their two daughters, 11 and 5, attend St. Peter Catholic School, which closed at the end of the school year. Thompson said the closing was an unexpected turn of events as he completed his study. He had done the research before the school closing was announced, but it became more personal for him when he experienced the changes in education first hand. His children, who will enter first grade and seventh grade in the fall, will continue their Catholic education at St. Joseph Academy, Kenosha.
“There’s no crystal ball regarding the future of Catholic education,” said Thompson. “No one knows what the future will bring - not researchers, not people engaging in conversations in the parking lots after Mass, and even when predictions are made, they are often wrong,” but he explained his goal in researching Catholic education was to hear the voice of the parents who make the decisions regarding education for their children.