WBEZ | Lynette Kalsnes http://www.wbez.org/tags/lynette-kalsnes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Latina lesbians facing terminal illness celebrate life, love in wedding http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/latina-lesbians-facing-terminal-illness-celebrate-life-love-wedding-110272 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/wedding_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It was about 30 minutes before Carol Boyd was going to tie the knot Sunday. She was upstairs at the Chicago Urban Arts Society in Pilsen, touching up her makeup, while her two daughters fluffed up the skirt on her wedding dress.</p><p>&ldquo;Thank you,&rdquo; she told them. &ldquo; My daughters are giving me away, I&rsquo;m like the proudest mom on earth.&rdquo;</p><p>She took photos, then headed downstairs with her daughters and friends running lookout. She was trying to avoid even the briefest glimpse of her bride-to-be. The couple wanted to honor the traditional custom and be surprised.</p><p>&ldquo;Now we get to take exactly what everybody else gets to take, a marriage certificate, a marriage license,&rdquo; Carol said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m excited, I&rsquo;m happy, and I&rsquo;m proud to be able to do this today and make history.&rdquo;</p><p>In a hallway off to the side of the reception area, her future bride, Mae Yee, was pacing. She has a shaved head, and was sporting a white brocaded vest and a red bow tie.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a little nervous,&rdquo; Mae said, laughing. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m getting married for the first time for real, I mean &lsquo;real&rsquo; real, this is like federal real.&rdquo;</p><p>They were about to join three other lesbian couples in a ceremony called &ldquo;A Big Queer Latina Wedding.&rdquo;&nbsp; They were among dozens of couples -- gay, lesbian and straight -- who took part in various mass weddings across Chicago to celebrate June 1, the first day same-sex marriages became legal in Illinois.</p><p>May and Carol Yee both hope the state&rsquo;s new same-sex marriage law leads to greater mainstream acceptance, but their particular wedding vows go even deeper than that.</p><p>Carol&rsquo;s a colon cancer survivor, and Mae has stage IV breast cancer. She&rsquo;s going to chemo every 21 days, hoping to prolong their life together as much as possible.</p><p>Mae said marriage means she can take care of her family financially, even if she&rsquo;s not here anymore.</p><p>&ldquo;I get sick, I can say, &lsquo;This is my wife, and these are my kids, and please let them in,&rsquo; and they have to abide by that, so I&rsquo;m very, very happy about that.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Oh my goodness, today is amazing, &ldquo; said Jessica Carillo, who organized the Latina event, which was sponsored by United Latino Pride and Lambda Legal. &ldquo;Today is a day closer to sort of being seen more equal in the eyes of our families, in the eyes of our community. For Latinos, marriage is a huge milestone. Marriage is, sort of what you&rsquo;re meant to do, to build a family.&rdquo;</p><p>Carillo said many Latinos face the twin challenges of Catholicism prohibiting same-sex marriage, and having parents who grew up in another country.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re bringing the ideas from back home, they&rsquo;re bringing whatever those biases in the way they grew up,&rdquo; Carillo says, adding the younger generation is growing up here with new ideas. &ldquo;And so when you mix those two things, there&rsquo;s a clash.&rdquo;</p><p>Carillo said she hopes same-sex marriage becoming legal will lead to more acceptance by Latinos and society.</p><p>But even though this was a day of celebration for LGBT people across the state, Evette Cardona said there&rsquo;s work to be done. She co-founded Amigas Latinas, an organization that seeks to empower and educate LGBT Latinas, with her wife, the city&rsquo;s Human Relations Commissioner, Mona Noriega.</p><p>&ldquo;While today we celebrate these four couples, tomorrow there&rsquo;s 10 times the number of families that won&rsquo;t accept their lesbian daughters,&rdquo; Cardona says. &ldquo;In the communities of color, if you are rejected by your family, and you also experience rejection by the mainstream community, where do you turn?&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, the parents of one of the brides, Juanita Gonzalez, didn&rsquo;t attend the wedding. But she found support in her aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as the family she&rsquo;s formed with her wife, Janet Cecil. Janet has two daughters, and a granddaughter, and they all stood by as the couple spoke their vows and exchanged rings.</p><p>When Juanita broke down midway through, one of Janet&rsquo;s daughters reached out to pat her back, and her little granddaughter did the same.</p><p>The couple, grandmothers now, were best friends in high school. Juanita says she knew she loved Janet at 16. But Janet thought it was wrong for her to feel this way about a woman. They moved in other directions, but said they kept finding their way back to each other, until they finally became a couple. Janet&rsquo;s friends and family&rsquo;s reaction? Essentially, &lsquo;Finally.&rsquo;</p><p>Like the other couples, Carol and Mae Yee shared their vows with laughter and tears, the promises to care for each other in sickness and health, deep with meaning.</p><p>&ldquo;...I vow to love you with every being, even after my last breath,&rdquo; Mae said. &ldquo;I promise to cherish each moment God has given us together for the rest of our lives &hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I love you whether you&rsquo;re fat or fit, and when you&rsquo;re hurt, and when you&rsquo;re sick&hellip;&rdquo; Carol vowed.</p><p>The couple runs a charity together in their spare time called Humble Hearts, providing the homeless with food, clothing and furniture.</p><p>Carol said that didn&rsquo;t leave much for a fancy wedding with a reception, so she was grateful for the all-volunteer event in Pilsen, which was free for everyone attending.</p><p>Before the ceremony, a tearful Carol said of her bride, Mae: &ldquo;She&rsquo;s here today to live long enough to actually be married. It&rsquo;s my gift to her, it&rsquo;s me committing to her for better or worse, sickness and health. She&rsquo;s got a lot of sickness right now, but I&rsquo;m not going anywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>On this, their wedding day, there was no sickness in sight, only joy.</p><p>When the music started, they jumped out onto the dance floor with the three other newly married couples. And their first dance?</p><p>The song made famous by Etta James, &ldquo;At Last.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a WBEZ producer/reporting covering religion and culture.</em></p></p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 07:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/latina-lesbians-facing-terminal-illness-celebrate-life-love-wedding-110272 Chicago's Polish Catholics express renewed pride after canonizations http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicagos-polish-catholics-express-renewed-pride-after-canonizations-110087 <p><p>Red and white flags are waving from cars across Chicago as Polish Roman Catholics continue to celebrate the canonization of the first Polish pontiff.</p><p>Pope Francis declared Popes John Paul II and John XXIII saints Sunday in Rome in a solemn ceremony attended by millions. Many more watched on TVs and Internet streams around the world. It was the first time two popes became saints on the same day.</p><p>It was an especially big deal for Polish Catholics in Chicago: Pope John Paul II was both the first Polish pontiff, and the first to visit Chicago.</p><p>Poles came out by the thousands Saturday and Sunday for special masses, vigils, concerts, museum exhibits and marches across greater Chicago.</p><p>At Five Holy Martyrs Church on the South Side, people started gathering more than four hours before the canonization ceremony, which began at 3 a.m. Chicago time. They prayed the rosary and listened to performances by several Polish Highlander groups, including excerpts from an opera about Pope John Paul II.</p><p>Karolina Nowobilska, 14, sang a solo in front of the packed church. She said she was calm until she finished.</p><p>&ldquo;When I got back into the pew, I went by my parents and I just started crying because I got so emotional that I got to sing,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a huge event that won&rsquo;t happen in my lifetime or maybe ... generations to come.&rdquo;</p><p>Nowobilska said she&rsquo;s already been praying to Pope John Paul II for help with things, including homework</p><p>Maggie Strzelec, 22, said she felt Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff to reach out to young people around the world, and it changed how people viewed Poles -- and how Poles viewed themselves.</p><p>&ldquo;There was no more embarrassment, or no more comments or stereotypical comments,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I think it made everybody so proud to be Polish.&rdquo;<br /><br />Hundreds of Polish Catholics marched up Milwaukee Avenue Sunday, from Holy Trinity Polish Church to St. Hyacinth Basilica, praying and singing. They arrived at their destination, waving Polish and Vatican flags, as church bells rang. Several people carried images of Pope John Paul II as they filed inside for mass.</p><p>Natalie Gebala of Mount Prospect attended an overnight vigil in Des Plaines, then marched in the pilgrimage. She got about three hours of sleep between events.</p><p>&ldquo;It was very tiring, and I have blisters on my feet. My muscles ache,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But it was so worth it because it was such a beautiful unifying experience, and I feel like it was unforgettable. I feel like he brought religion and goodness together. I feel like that&rsquo;s going to maybe deepen people&rsquo;s faith.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/pope%20saints%201.JPG" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Roman Catholics march about five miles between two Polish churches to celebrate the canonization of two pontiffs, especially Pope John Paul II, the first Polish pope. (WBEZ/Lynette Kalsnes)" />Pope John Paul II visited Chicago in 1979 and held a huge mass that filled Grant Park. He also held a service at Five Holy Martyrs. An estimated 10,000 came, spilling out of the church parking lot and onto nearby rooftops. The church still has both the wooden chair he sat in and the altar, which they&rsquo;re restoring as a shrine.</p><p>Mark Wojciechowski from the Back of the Yards neighborhood was just a kid at the time, but he remembers that day well.</p><p>&ldquo;Waking up, your whole family being so proud, and no matter what, whether it was going to rain or shine, you were going to be there. It&rsquo;s just one of those things that&rsquo;s beautiful, you can always say you lived to be a saint.&rdquo;</p><p>Like many Polish Catholics gathered this weekend, Wojciechowski said he already knew in his heart that Pope John Paul II was a saint, and the ceremony just made it official.</p><p>Jozef Bafia, a Polish radio host who helped organized the vigil at Five Holy Martyrs, had a third row seat at that Holy Martyrs mass. He met the pope several times.</p><p>&ldquo;When he was here first time in 1979, Poland was behind the Iron Curtain, communism rules: You can&rsquo;t do this, you can&rsquo;t go there,&rdquo; Bafia said. &ldquo;Poland got free without bloodshed, without shots. I know Pope John Paul II, holy father, he was that big fire for that. Now he&rsquo;s a saint. Saint John Paul II. He&rsquo;s going to be with me for the rest of my life.</p><p>Not everyone was satisfied with the focus on John Paul II. Barb Smith, who attended mass Sunday night at Holy Name Cathedral, thought the occasion was exciting and historic. But she&nbsp; wanted Pope John XXIII, known as a progressive who worked to modernize the church, to get equal billing.</p><p>&ldquo;I just thought he was the best,&rdquo; Smith said, adding Pope John XXIII had an &ldquo;unblemished record.&rdquo; She said she felt Pope John Paul II&rsquo;s record was tarnished by his conservatism and the priest sex abuse scandal.</p><p>But Smith said she also thought Pope John Paul II had cleared those &ldquo;blemishes&rdquo; with the way he reached out to people, especially the young, and the way he so publicly suffered Parkinson&rsquo;s disease late in life.</p><p>Smith had visited Rome to see Pope John Paul II. She brought his photos with her Sunday, hoping to show her priest.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a WBEZ producer/reporter covering religion and culture. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@LynetteKalsnes.</a></em></p></p> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 12:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicagos-polish-catholics-express-renewed-pride-after-canonizations-110087 Fish fry dinners bring food, community to Catholics during Lent http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/fish-fry-dinners-bring-food-community-catholics-during-lent-110029 <p><p>Roman Catholics are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent. They view it as a small act of penance to honor Christ&rsquo;s death.</p><p>So churches across Chicago and the nation are carrying on a time-honored way to skip the meat, and gather as a community. It&rsquo;s the Friday fish fry, and it is growing in popularity here again.</p><p>One of the biggest and longest-running fish fries in Chicago -- and, volunteers claim, the only one here with a drive-through -- is at St. Ferdinand Church on the far Northwest Side.</p><p>Father Jason Torba stood in the church basement last Friday evening among a circle of volunteers. Many wore bunny ears and orange name tags shaped like fish.</p><p>&ldquo;We ask God for his blessing tonight and especially for the people, they will come and will serve,&rdquo; Torba said, adding it is even more important to serve during Lent. Then he led the group in an &ldquo;Our Father.&rdquo;</p><p>The volunteers were about to serve nearly 600 fish dinners ... in three hours. And the crowd started lining up 45 minutes early.</p><p>St. Ferdinand&rsquo;s fish fry has been going on for something like 25 years now. Organizers said other churches are coming to them now, asking how to start fish fries of their own.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/fish%20fry%201.JPG" title="Signs point the way to St. Ferdinand’s fish fry. (WBEZ/Lynette Kalsnes)" />Professor Michael Murphy, director of Catholic Studies at Loyola University Chicago, said church dinners like this were popular in the middle of the last century. Then, the tight parish structure made the local church a central part of life, resulting in women&rsquo;s and men&rsquo;s clubs, and many other events.</p><p>&ldquo;The parish was for so many years the place to be,&rdquo; he said, adding parishes served as a social outlet.</p><p>Murphy said fish fries merged theological teachings and practicality. If Catholics could not eat meat on Fridays, they might as well have fish and get together. He said that need to gather is central to the philosophy of the faith.</p><p>Murphy said these church dinners waned in popularity in greater Chicago after &ldquo;older parish things broke down&rdquo; following Vatican II, combined with the loosening of social structures in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s.</p><p>But he sees them coming back in style over the past few decades. Murphy said some of his students want to start at fish fry at Loyola. He credited this partly to the &ldquo;Pope Francis effect,&rdquo; which has Catholics longing for community again.</p><p>&ldquo;This is not just to come to eat fish, but it is to build community,&rdquo;&nbsp; said Rich Wenzl, who has helped run the St. Ferdinand event with his wife Pat for 19 years. Their main goal is not to raise money. They hope to attract people from the parish and the larger neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;Our world is very hungry for getting out of our houses and having a place to go that&rsquo;s correct, and that&rsquo;s safe, that feels good to be with each other and that we can share ourselves with one another,&rdquo; Rich Wenzl said.</p><p>Pat Wenzl, who is the lead organizer of the fish fry, said it is especially important to recruit young people to volunteer to keep them in the parish and in the faith.</p><p>&ldquo;If we groom them well and make them feel comfortable and make them feel like it&rsquo;s an important part of them, it only serves to help the church in years to come,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The couple created the process for running the event, and it is pretty much an assembly line. Friday, four men stood over designated fryers. Four women lined up next to each other to dish out fish, coleslaw, dinner rolls and condiments.</p><p>Teens stood right outside the kitchen, ready to run out orders to two packed dining halls. The operation is so big now, it takes more than 100 volunteers a night.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/fish%20fry%202.jpg.JPG" style="float: left; height: 358px; width: 275px;" title="Volunteers run the fish fry like a factory line to make and serve about 600 meals in three hours. (WBEZ/Lynette Kalsnes)" />Mary Clemente, who headed the line of women, did not slow down for even a minute ... not until her 4-year-old grandson popped by.</div><p>&ldquo;Give me a kiss, hey, love you,&rdquo; Clemente told her grandson.</p><p>&ldquo;Grandma, why is people wearing Easter bunny ears?&rdquo; he asked.</p><p>&ldquo;For Easter,&rdquo; she said with a laugh.</p><p>Then she went right back to work. Clemente has been volunteering so long, &ldquo;My son was 3, he&rsquo;s now 21, so that&rsquo;s how long, 18 years.&rdquo;</p><p>Another woman chimed in: &ldquo;Last year was her birthday, we made her kitchen queen.&rdquo;</p><p>Many of the volunteers have stories like this. Volunteering eight, 10, even 20 years is common. Even though it is hard work, Clemente said it is fun, and volunteers become like family.</p><p>That sense of community was visible among diners, too. Anne Marie Castiglioni came with her children and her mom. She does not attend St. Ferdinand&rsquo;s, but lives nearby. She said her son could not wait to see the Easter Bunny, who appears here the last fish fry of the season.</p><p>&ldquo;(He) had the biggest smile on his face to see this guy because he&rsquo;s known him since he&rsquo;s been like 3 years old, he&rsquo;s kind of grown up knowing this Easter Bunny here,&rdquo; Castiglioni said.</p><p>Her mom, Pat Zwick, said coming here has become a family tradition.</p><p>&ldquo;And the Easter Bunny brings you more into the Easter spirit,&rdquo; she said, as her granddaughter, who was sitting in her lap, excitedly pointed out that the Easter Bunny was right across the room.</p><p>On the other side of the crowded hall, Vincent Clemente -- Mary&rsquo;s husband - ate fish dinners with their grandson. Clemente&rsquo;s been a parishioner since he was 1.</p><p>&ldquo;Some people now, they don&rsquo;t go to church as often,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Some people that live in the neighborhood don&rsquo;t attend church, but this enhances the parish community because then they see how much of a community it is, and it may bring them to the church.&rdquo;</p><p>St. Ferdinand&rsquo;s last fish fry of the season was Friday night. They cannot hold one this weekend, since Catholics are required to fast on Good Friday, depending on their age.<br />But parishioners at St. Ferdinand plan to keep building community through food. They&rsquo;ll be back with the fish fry next year.</p><p>And up next? A pancake breakfast.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a WBEZ producer/reporter covering religion and culture. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes" target="_blank">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/fish-fry-dinners-bring-food-community-catholics-during-lent-110029 New exhibit takes unique look at death, food and remembrance http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/new-exhibit-takes-unique-look-death-food-and-remembrance-109974 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/death exhibit.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When someone passes away today, it&rsquo;s pretty common for friends and family to reminisce about them over food and drink. Just think about all those casseroles and cookies that pile up or about hoisting a glass at an Irish wake.</p><p>It turns out, in some ancient cultures, that use of food went, well, further.</p><p>A new show at the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Oriental Institute opens Tuesday, and it takes an unusual look at death. The show&rsquo;s called <a href="http://oi.uchicago.edu/museum/special/remembrance/" target="_blank">&ldquo;In Remembrance of Me: Feasting with the Dead in the Ancient Middle East</a>.&rdquo;</p><p>It examines how we&rsquo;ve remembered our loved ones across cultures and time, and the ways people have tried to control how they&rsquo;ll be thought of too. It highlights some ancient Middle Eastern cultures that believed souls lived on in monuments and needed to be fed so later generations could just come and hang out with them.</p><p>&ldquo;Cultures all over world, in all different periods in all areas of the world have done this, have had some way of maintaining contact their deceased ancestors,&rdquo; said Emily Teeter, a research associate and special exhibits coordinator at the Oriental Institute.</p><p>&ldquo;In Egyptian theology, they thought they would live forever, as long as they were remembered by the living,&rdquo; she said, adding that this ancient culture believed part of the soul lived on in monuments, and keeping those souls alive required lots and lots of food.</p><p>She pointed to a stone slab with an engraving of a couple who were unmistakably Egyptian, with angular black wigs, jeweled collars.</p><p>All over the monument, there are tiny carvings of birds, oxen, bread, even beer. Teeter said those are instructions on what to bring the couple to keep them alive: They wanted a thousand each of oxen, birds, bread and beer.</p><p>&ldquo;The Egyptian dead were apparently constantly hungry,&rdquo; Teeter said. &ldquo;...To stay alive you need to eat, and their whole goal with mummification, with creating these monuments, is to live eternally.&rdquo;</p><p>Teeter said the couple - who died more than 4,000 years ago -- even planned ahead on what to do once all their descendants had passed away, and there was no one to bring them food anymore. The engraving says that if visitors don&rsquo;t happen to have 1,000 oxen on them, it&rsquo;s enough to just pray for the food.</p><p>And it&rsquo;s not just the ancient Middle East where rites like this happened. At an excavation site in Vatican City, University of Chicago Divinity School Dean Margaret Mitchell saw tubes sticking out of burial sites. She said that was so people could pour in beverages to share with their dead loved ones.</p><p>Mitchell said some Roman catacombs had tables for people to eat between rows of burial urns.</p><p>&ldquo;Whether the dead can still eat a Twinkie or can still drink a good glass of merlot, it&rsquo;s a way of tenderly caring for the dead,&rdquo; Mitchell said.</p><p>The monuments go beyond providing the living with that connection to the dead, or assuring the dead will keep getting fed. In some cases, these statues and stones let people control how they&rsquo;ll be remembered.</p><p>The exhibit&rsquo;s showpiece is a replica of an ornately carved memorial stone of a man named Katumuwa. He&rsquo;s in fancy dress, sitting at a banquet table full of food, looking relaxed and happy in the afterlife. Before he died, commissioned it himself.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just &lsquo;Pete was here,&rsquo; but it&rsquo;s even bigger,&rdquo; Mitchell said. She likened this memorial stone to the huge monument Illinois politician Roland Burris has had built, even though he&rsquo;s still very much alive.</p><p>It&rsquo;s like saying, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to leave it to the winds or your children to decide how you&rsquo;re going to be remembered, but I want to steer that process myself,&rdquo; Mitchell said. &ldquo;In some ways, the monuments are like a fist to the sky that says, I refuse to be forgotten.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a WBEZ producer/reporter covering religion, culture and science. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 05:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/new-exhibit-takes-unique-look-death-food-and-remembrance-109974 Chicago-area nuns weigh in on Pope's first anniversary http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/chicago-area-nuns-weigh-popes-first-anniversary-109852 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/pope nuns.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been a tough couple of years for nuns in the U.S.<br /><br />In 2012 the Vatican essentially ordered three male bishops to oversee the group representing 80 percent of American nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, saying the LCWR promoted &ldquo;radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.&rdquo;</p><p>So when a new pope came in exactly a year ago, many in this group wondered what it might mean for them and a range of women&rsquo;s issues from the Vatican investigation of nuns, to birth control, to women&rsquo;s ordination.</p><p>&ldquo;All I had was some hope, not a great deal for anything new or different,&rdquo; said Sister Suzanne Zuercher, a Benedictine at St. Scholastica Monastery on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.</p><p>&ldquo;Now that a year has passed, I can&rsquo;t believe who it is that that conclave elected,&rdquo; Sister Suzanne said, adding that she was surprised and even amazed by how much Pope Francis has accomplished in a year. She pointed to how he had begun reforming the Curia (essentially the Vatican&rsquo;s top dogs) and cleaning house at the scandal-ridden Vatican bank.</p><p>Sister Suzanne said she appreciated how the Pope had changed the focus of the church from doctrinal to pastoral.<br /><br />&ldquo;The church has so often appeared, and been, grim. That is so different with this man,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not grim at all, he is relaxed, he&rsquo;s joyous, and he says without being joyful, what do we have to offer people?&rdquo;<br /><br />Sister Suzanne and her Prioress, Sister Patricia Crowley, both said the Pope&rsquo;s popularity and symbolic acts like openly refusing to judge gay priests are creating a new image of the papacy and the church.</p><p>And while they acknowledge he&rsquo;s had a busy first year, they are waiting for him to take on women&rsquo;s issues in the church.</p><p>The Pope previously said he has a &ldquo;vivid hope&rdquo; women will play a &ldquo;more capillary and incisive&rdquo; role in the church. In an interview with Latin American nuns, he told them if they got a letter announcing an investigation similar to U.S. nuns, not to worry.</p><p>Sister Patricia is cautiously optimistic this could translate to action. Someday, she&nbsp; said, she even hopes to see women&rsquo;s ordination. But she admits the church moves slowly.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s gradual,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But basically, I&rsquo;d like to see that women are equal to men within the church because the first witness to the resurrection was a woman, and I think that&rsquo;s a pretty clear gospel message that indeed women are equal to men.&rdquo;</p><p>In the meantime, Pope Frances still hasn&rsquo;t lifted oversight from many U.S. nuns. That doesn&rsquo;t surprise Charles Reid, a Catholic blogger and professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.<br /><br />&ldquo;When he renewed that investigation, he was brand new on the job. He wasn&rsquo;t going to upset apple carts that quickly,&rdquo; Reid said. &ldquo;I do not think he will do what (Pope) Benedict was doing, and that is relentlessly pursue nuns.&rdquo;<br /><br />Reid explained that Pope Francis &ndash; who&rsquo;s a Jesuit &ndash; comes from a tradition that values spirited academic debate.<br /><br />&ldquo;Will he open doors to the ordination of women? No,&rdquo; Reid said. &ldquo;Will he open the doors to scholarship that could lead there in 20 years? Maybe, maybe.&rdquo;<br /><br />That day can&rsquo;t come soon enough for Sister Donna Quinn, a local activist nun. She wants women to have an equal voice and vote in the church.<br /><br />&ldquo;I really don&rsquo;t see any action,&rdquo; Sister Donna said. &ldquo;I see this nice wonderfulness of words and the media. Why doesn&rsquo;t the media pick up on the fact that the church is all men? All men are in power.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Sister Donna sees one hopeful sign in the Pope&rsquo;s more humble lifestyle, including his decision to ditch those fancy red shoes.<br /><br />&ldquo;If he has taken off those expensive shoes and the garb and walked with the people, he is taking that first wonderful step,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot more to follow, hopefully.&rdquo;<br /><br /><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a producer/reporter covering religion, culture and science for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes" target="_blank">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 17:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/chicago-area-nuns-weigh-popes-first-anniversary-109852 Field Museum show examines the body as a machine http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-show-examines-body-machine-109836 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/mantis shrimp.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new exhibit opening Wednesday at Chicago&rsquo;s Field Museum looks at how animal and human bodies alike function using nature&#39;s equivalent of pumps and springs.</p><p>Visitors to the show will learn how a tiny fox&rsquo;s ears work like air conditioning, why a mantis shrimp&rsquo;s spring mechanism makes it the &ldquo;hardest puncher in the animal kingdom,&rdquo; and how a giraffe&rsquo;s heart pumps blood all the way up its long neck to its brain&nbsp; (The short answer? Apparently giraffes have astonishingly high blood pressure.)</p><p>Scientists who study insects, birds and other creatures to understand these mechanisms, are finding human applications such as Velcro and artificial legs for runners.</p><p>For a sneak peek at the exhibit, listen above to my audio tour with the Field Museum&rsquo;s Marie Georg.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a WBEZ producer/reporter covering religion, culture and science. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes" target="_blank">@LynetteKalsnes</a></em></p></p> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 17:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/field-museum-show-examines-body-machine-109836 Near tragedy tests young love http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/near-tragedy-tests-young-love-109793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/storycorps molly drew_140228_lk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This week, our StoryCorps segment brings a special update.</p><p>The first time they came to the Chicago StoryCorps booth, Molly Timm and Drew Burke were in a long-distance relationship.</p><p>They&rsquo;d never lived in the same city. They were full of joy and hope for their first summer together in Chicago.</p><p>Drew and Molly returned to StoryCorps to fill us in on what happened next, because it wasn&rsquo;t part of their plan.</p><p><strong>MOLLY: </strong>We planned July to be an adventure.</p><p><strong>DREW: </strong>An experience</p><p><strong>MOLLY: </strong>An experience to see how well we could handle being in the same place at the same time for more than a weekend.</p><p><strong>DREW:</strong> I was grocery shopping &hellip; and I got outside and I got a phone call from you. Your parents were in a bad motorcycle accident that day.</p><p>To hear about how the couple handled this tough time (and how Molly&rsquo;s Dad tried to talk Drew into busting him out of rehab after the accident), listen to the audio above.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a reporter/producer covering religion, culture and science at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes" target="_blank">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 14:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/near-tragedy-tests-young-love-109793 Yo Sally! Remembering the late University of Chicago math professor Paul Sally http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/yo-sally-remembering-late-university-chicago-math-professor-paul-sally-109738 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7426_chi000416_g1-scr (1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A University of Chicago math legend affectionately called &ldquo;Professor Pirate&rdquo; died recently at age 80. Professor Paul Sally was known as much for his teaching as his research.</p><p>Sally learned he had diabetes at age 15. The disease eventually took both legs and most of his eyesight, requiring him to wear a signature black eye patch.</p><p>Shortly before he died on Dec. 30, 2013, Sally visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth with colleague, Kim Ransom, who heads the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program.</p><p>SALLY: It turned out that one of the easiest subjects for me to deal with in school was mathematics. I never had to study and I loved learning it &hellip; I loved to tell people&nbsp; about mathematics until I was blue in the face, and they were so tired they couldn&#39;t stand it anymore.</p><p><em>To hear more, and to find out what sport helped fuel Sally&rsquo;s love of math, check out the audio above.</em></p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a reporter/producer covering religion, science and culture for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@LynetteKalsnes</a></em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/yo-sally-remembering-late-university-chicago-math-professor-paul-sally-109738 Couple survives year full of cancer http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/couple-survives-year-full-cancer-109661 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7424_chi000469_g2-scr.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The year 2002 was difficult for both Carly and Larry Zabinski.</p><p>The year before the couple started dating, Carly learned her mother had brain cancer. And months later, Larry found out he had a form of cancer himself.</p><p>Carly said while she was attending college, she and her parents noticed her Mom was growing forgetful. They didn&rsquo;t make much of it at first &ndash; they just joked that her Mom was getting older.</p><p>Then one day, her Mom woke up screaming: She&rsquo;d lost her sight in one eye. Carly was really sick herself, so her Dad came home from work and took her Mom to the emergency room.</p><p>CARLY: About two hours later, I got a phone call that woke me up out of my sleep, and there was no sound on the other line &hellip;.And then I heard my Dad crying &hellip;. I remember telling myself, &lsquo;This is the start of something big, and it&rsquo;s not good.&rsquo;</p><p><em>To hear how Carly and Larry Zabinski dealt with double cases of cancer in a year, and how humor helped them get through, check out the audio above.</em></p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Lynette Kalsnes produced this edited excerpt. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 16:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/couple-survives-year-full-cancer-109661 Expectant mother finds joy, gratitude despite tragedy http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/expectant-mother-finds-joy-gratitude-despite-tragedy-109615 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7422_chi000439_g1-scr.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Abigail Van Beek&rsquo;s deepest desire has always been to be a mom.</p><p>She and her husband were thrilled to learn they were having twins. But then they got the worst news a parent can hear.</p><p>Abigail came to the Chicago StoryCorps booth with her father, Dr. David Bosscher, to talk about how their close-knit family survived a time of great loss.</p><p><strong>ABIGAIL:</strong> We also learned there were some heart ...<br /><strong>DAVID:</strong> Anomalies.<br /><strong>ABIGAIL: </strong>Yeah, that were going to mean our girls probably wouldn&rsquo;t live.</p><p>Abigail said those were hard weeks and months for her, her husband and their families.</p><p><strong>ABIGAIL:</strong> We decided that we were going to continue to carry the girls and to continue to be pregnant with the girls and try to celebrate them in the ways that we could while they were still alive and inside of me.</p><p><em>To learn how Abigail and her family handled the devastating situation with gratitude and even joy at times, listen to the audio above.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 13:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/expectant-mother-finds-joy-gratitude-despite-tragedy-109615