Matthew Bearth was 17 when he set out on an Alaskan cruise that changed the course of his life and led him to the seminary. Today the 20-year-old college junior loves to recount that northern voyage.
Matthew didn't have a passport when his family decided to take an Alaska cruise the August before his senior year. It was a time when an onslaught of questions was beginning to come from every direction. What college are you going to attend? What kind of career are you planning?
The men had just left morning Mass when they spotted the flames on the roof. It was the second Monday of November, 2011, and they'd been without electricity since Saturday. Torrential winds had toppled trees and power lines, so they'd been keeping warm with a big fire in their lounge.
My dad and brother just returned from a fly-in fishing adventure in the Canadian wilderness -- fly in, that is, because their outpost camp could only be accessed by floatplane, the sole cabin on a remote lake teeming with walleye.
In 1963 my mom was a second-grader at St. Joseph School in West St. Paul, Minn., when Sister Marie Pauline asked her to stay after school. The petite, habited teacher held a lined sheet of paper bearing the mandated header JMJ in No. 2 pencil. It was Mom's penmanship exercise. Then she turned the sheet over and pointed to the bottom third, which was blank.
"I think you should pray about not being wasteful," Sister Marie Pauline said.