Sister Michelle Germanson, Oak Park, admits to having been a rebel when she was a teenager. "When I was a young nun," she recalled, "I rebelled more than I cooperated." The energetic, effervescent 68-year-old president of Trinity High School in River Forest has retained a great deal of that adolescent energy and has tried to channel it, during the 20 years she's been at the school, into creating a culture at Trinity in which young women discover their own unique identities and embrace who they are.
Fr. George Omwando stepped to the microphone at St. Catherine-St. Lucy Catholic Church on Sunday, July 1, and looked out over the pews at the black, tan and white faces who were waiting to hear their new pastor give his first homily. He began by saying that, since he was born in Kenya, he was going to teach them how to say something in Swahili and asked the parishioners to repeat after him, "Hakuna matata."
With years of deferred maintenance put on hold as it considered a move to Forest Park — a prospect that sank with the slumping economy four years ago — the West Cook YMCA has spent $500,000 so far this year renovating its six-decade-old building. The money has gone toward expanding the Y's wellness center, which has received new equipment costing roughly $250,000.
L'Arche — French for "The Ark," as in Noah's Ark — is, according to the organization's website, "a place of safety and refuge, a place in which we share our lives in mutual relationship and do our small part to renew the world." The L'Arche movement began as a Catholic ministry in 1964 in Trosly, France when a French Canadian named Jean Vanier invited two men with disabilities to live with him.
Many who participate in the House of Worship Walk this Sunday, June 24, may evaluate the six buildings on the route by asking themselves, "Do I like it?" That's legitimate, of course, but the walk also offers participants an opportunity to observe how the interior architecture of a church building both reflects and structures the religious beliefs of those who sit in the pews.
Explore the history, architecture and faith traditions of six Oak Park houses of worship on Sunday, June 24, from 2 to 5 p.m. This first-ever Sacred Spaces House of Worship Walk is co-sponsored by the Oak Park-River Forest Community of Congregations and the Historical Society of Oak Park-River Forest. The six churches were all dedicated between 1902 and 1921.
When Dr. Bob Stannard received his medical degree from Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine in 1984, working and living east of Austin Boulevard was not on his radar screen. His whole life to that point had been, literally and figuratively, lived west of that boundary line. Raised in both the Oak Park and River Forest area, he was told as a boy to exit the Eisenhower Expressway at Harlem instead of at Austin and not to take the el down to the Loop.
When Mary Ziegler heard that the Vatican was cracking down the largest organization of American Catholic Nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), she called a meeting after one of the Masses at St. Giles Catholic Church, where she is a member, to discuss how those interested might respond.
LaNell Mahler Koenig was attending a grief support group meeting in Wilmer, Minn., in 2009, a short time after her husband of nearly 47 years had died, when she heard a speaker say, "Look beyond what you're going through now. Don't automatically say 'no' if the possibility of getting remarried comes up."
In 2008 Camellia (surname withheld at her request) hit a very bumpy stretch in her life. The 22-year-old was not only engaged in a nasty custody battle for her 2-year-old son, but she also faced the prospect of becoming homeless, which if it were to happen, surely would mean losing her son as well as her home.