Sunday, February 20, 2005
the exquisite A
by tom philips... via bacon
and so... another most excellent of my
carmelites has gone to God... a light for us... rest in peace,
Tribune | REV. ALOYSIUS SIERACKI, 75Army stint led to life as a priest
By Manya A. Brachear
February 20, 2005
Rev. Aloysius Sieracki was a skilled
scientist, gifted mathematician, prolific poet and avid Cubs fan.
But it was his calling to the
priesthood while serving in the U.S. Army that defined his life.
For more than 45 years, Father
Sieracki found a way to apply his analytical, literary and spiritual
gifts to his vocation as a Carmelite priest.
"He really felt he had been touched by God,"
said his brother Edward. "It was very obvious he was very
happy doing what he was doing."
Sieracki, 75, of Darien, died of complications from pneumonia
Thursday, Feb. 17, in Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.
Born and raised as Alfred Sieracki
on Chicago's South Side, Father Sieracki graduated from Mt. Carmel
High School in 1947. He received a bachelor's degree in chemical
engineering in 1951 from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Soon after graduating from college,
he was drafted into the Army to develop chemical weapons during
the Korean War.
military service, Father Sieracki read Thomas Merton's "The
Seven Storey Mountain," an account of his path to becoming
a Trappist. Father Sieracki was overcome by the calling to become
a priest, which he often described as being "zapped by the
Because Latin was
still a requirement for the priesthood, he signed up for home
study courses offered by the Knights of Columbus while still in
the Army. After two years of military service, he joined the Carmelites
in 1953. He was ordained a priest in 1959.
He returned to his high school for his first assignment.
While teaching chemistry and calculus at Mt. Carmel, he also received
a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Notre
In 1966, he became a
mathematics professor at Marquette University. When the college
asked him to pursue a PhD in 1973, he opted instead to become
a parish priest in Phoenix, where he stayed until 1980.
While there, he helped launch a parish recycling program,
collecting cans during his daily walks and donating the proceeds
to the poor.
He once told his sister, Barbara
Smykowski, that his epitaph could read: "He collected cans."
"He was so multitalented,
yet he was so humble. That's what I loved him for," she said.
He continued the can collection
when he returned to Darien in 1981 to work with the Lay Carmelites,
a secular order in which faithful followers live out the spirit
of a religious order in their daily lives.
During a coronary bypass in 1982, a blood transfusion
infected him with hepatitis C. On Dec. 31, 1999, he underwent
a liver transplant. He called that day his "new birthday,"
said Rev. Roger Bonneau, administrator of the Carmelite Carefree
Village retirement community, where Father Sieracki spent his
last five years.
a deep appreciation for each and every day, and for all the little
things that happened," Bonneau said. "Life took on a
whole new perspective for him."
appreciation was reflected on the pages of his daily journal,
a collection of thank-you notes to God. It was evident in the
poems that Father Sieracki often mailed to his siblings, which
were compiled in two published books of poetry.
Even during his retirement, he continued saying
mass at St. Alphonsus parish in Lemont and led busloads of parishioners
Other survivors include four
brothers, Norbert, Thomas, Peter and Joseph.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday
at the National Shrine of St. Therese, 8501 Bailey Rd., Darien.
Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Monday in Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Church, 8404 Cass Ave., Darien.
© 2005, Chicago Tribune
winter morning blacktop...
Saturday, February 19, 2005
got a blogger blog... mind
... and a cool naugural pome that starts with me...
i'm gonna link to this
because counting #%&@s him all up...
in my ears right now... low the great
destroyer... when a quiet band gets loud... it seems the loud
becomes the point... and finding the quiet in the loud becomes
the new game... and not so tough in this case... since the loud
was always there in the quiet... before
Subjects: Rescuing Jesus from Jesusland
to what Angier believes, the Resurrection is not about damning
the laws of thermodynamics. It's about the victory of love over
hatred and fear and the other powers of darkness. True Christian
faith does not demand that Christians accept a Christ whose birth
and death broke the laws of biology and physics. It does demand
that Christians accept a Christ whose life broke the laws of intolerance
and hatred, and who called on us to love.
Friday, February 18, 2005
metamorphosism limerick contest
.... always wished i could
write a good limerick (oxymoron?) ... they almost always get me...
laughing... as malcolm's do...
Thursday, February 17, 2005
next year so soon already... i'm in a
fit of figuring next year's AP titles right now... it's due tomorrow...
why so soon i do not know... i do not know why so soon... but
there are always... reasons... for these... things... so...
do i drop grendel... do
i drop madame bovary after so many years? i think so...
does a bovary equal chopin's awakening plus hardy's casterbridge...
but what about other hardys... do i swap the long-running things
they carried for in the lake of the woods... do i bring
back pynchon's crying of lot 49... i've never read o'connor's
wise blood but think i want to and will... shift shaw's
nice but lightweight arms and the man for shaw's... what?...
heartbreak house?... major barbara?... and what
about a different berry book... jayber crow... or maybe
the memory of old jack... bring back beloved? is
it time to step away from lear and the tempest?
but it's so early we still haven't
done many of this year's new titles... i don't know how they'll
work for next year...endgame... invisible cities...
the iceman cometh... (should it be long day's journey
next year?) who's afraid of virginia woolf? i am george...
New York Times > The Gay Child Left Behind
Mr. and Mrs. Cheney could find the time to call Mr. and Mrs. Keyes
and explain how parents who actually value their families react
when they learn one of their children is gay.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
living all day... seeing so little...
there should be a better way
Poetry Foundation Sponsors Chicago Series of Staged Verse Readings
...The Poetry Foundation, publisher of POETRY magazine,
is pleased to announce the premiere of Poetry on Stage, a new
series of dramatic readings of verse plays. The first production
in the series, T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral, will be presented
in April on five succeeding nights at five Chicago-area churches.
All productions start at 7:30 P.M.
House of Toast
quoting Merton... to good effect...The Church is a big sacramental machine. ...
The whole thing is sickening. The mechanical, cause-and-effect,
official machinery of Catholicism. Dreadfully dead, putrid. And
yet people are committed to this insane validism, this unchristian
obsession. ... And how can you tell them anything else ?
i've never read merton's journals
from which this comes... funny how close it comes to so many other
good catholics... thinking...
that gross picture of a half-demolished
cake over at finish
is an authentic representation of the actual cake
that appeared at the end of dinner last night... seems i had quickly
mentioned to one of my brothers yesterday morning... the kind
of mindless morning small talk we do... that i had this fyp anniversary...
so... a cake... with a big candle in the shape of #1... for the
second anniversary... o... well... it was good... much of the
remainder is still in the fridge... come on over and have some...
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
have i mentioned lately how much fun
it is to stop in at Million
? well... it is...Over a certain
age? The audience doesn't want
These movies but
we're going to keep making them.
this day two years ago...
whim... i started finish
...just to see what all this blog talk was about...
and it has continued... on a whim... to keep me entertained and
out of serious trouble... and so it wobbles on into the third
year... starting now... with continual gratitude for readers known
and unknown who have been kind... and... even encouraging
Monday, February 14, 2005
so i was playing this game... at fyp
... to mark the
end of the second full year of doing it over there... i took twelve
words at random from the book of a great poet.. and used them...
one every five minutes... to begin a pome... i just wondered if
i could do it... and i did... with certain uncertain outcome...
but it was a good way to pass a lazy hour of a morning without
t j b l
u g archive
finish your phrase