Fr. Steve’s updates

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Since it’s been a week since the last chemo session, I had to visit the clinic for blood work. My white blood cell count is again very low. Last time, it took about two weeks to get back into the normal range.

I haven’t been running any chills or fever, which is positive. Just means I have to be careful to avoid picking up a bug while my resistance is low.

As I’m sure happens with lots of folks, it’s hard to get into the full and normal sleep rhythms. I got four hours of solid sleep, then was up in the wee hours of the morning.

Instead of tossing and fighting it, I used the time to read and pray and putter.

Though I wouldn’t want to do it every night, there’s a peaceful reassurance following the monastic practice of praying lauds at 3 a.m. Then, I emptied the dishwasher and sipped a cup of warm milk.

When I got tired again it was back to bed for round two, and everyone is understanding that I’m sleeping in as my body needs to.

One of our newer SCJ Brothers, Clay, joined our St. Joseph staff in January. He just graduated from college and is here for a year’s internship, acting as a support person in the homes. He helps supervise the high school students and does everything from dropping kids off at basketball practice or part-time jobs to helping out with homework.

We had our weekly supervisory meeting to help him adjust and reflect on the experiences here. Sometimes our students inspire him, sometimes they drive him nuts, but that’s pretty normal when working with teenagers.

On the frustrating side, some of the boys have gotten into a game of “chicken” where they dig fingernails into each other to see how long they can tough it out. In contrast, they all banded together and shoveled the sidewalk of one of our staff who just had a bad fall on the ice.

As Brother Clay earns their trust, he hears and understands more of the hardships they’ve faced and are working through. We brainstormed about ways to listen and ask the kind of open-ended, empathetic questions that allow people to share more of their stores as they are ready.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

41 thoughts on “Fr. Steve’s updates”

  1. dear bro steve, I was sorry to hear that you had cancer. Remember “The theif cometh to steal, kill, and destroy. Christ came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. I have had cancer a long time ago and God healed me. I also had good care at Duke Hospital. No matter what happens to us if we are in Christ, we will go to a beautiful place, where there will be no sickness, nor pain and every tear will be wiped away by his loving hand.

  2. Hi, Father Steve..
    It’s always good to her from you.! You truly are “one of the best !”..We enjoy knowing you, especially because you are a true “people person” know how to blend and how to freely share yourself and your experiences..Thank you so very much..!
    So, look, Good Buddy, Stay in there..and keep punchin’ !
    Our Prayers are always with you..!
    Mia and Bob

  3. Dear Father Steve,
    So very sorry to hear you have cancer. I know
    with God’s help and all our prayers, you will
    over come this illness.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Sincerely Charlotte

  4. Dear Fr. Steve,
    May God bless you with a full recovery. Pilamaya-for your support and I appreciate hearing about the work you do. May Mary and Jesus bring you strength, endurance and peace.

  5. Father Steve,
    I have been called back to Christ after wondering aimlessly thru life. I pray daily that I may remain faithful to him. I feel it is through the efforts and prayers of others like yourself who helped me return.

    I will pray for you daily and thank you for all you have done for me and all whose lives you have touched.

    You are in God’s hands*


  6. You are truly an inspiration to others, Father Steve! I pray every day for you and the children. Wish I could do more!

    sincerly, Patty

  7. Was so sorry to read of your cancer, Fr. Steve. You will beat it, because we need good souls like you on this earth.
    I want to share a quote from St. Francis de Sales that I hope will strengthen you:
    “Do not worry, the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.”
    I will pray for your complete recovery. BT

  8. JMJ / MMM 19 Feb 2010 Friday
    Dear Father Steve —
    You wrote, “This year, the cross has embraced and chosen me, so my task is to bear the cross of cancer with hope and good will.” Thank you for imitating Jesus Christ. I do pray that God’s Eternal Will be done in you, and that includes asking for complete healing for you. You are doing God’s Will. May I also do God’s Will. (God help me and have Mercy!) John (& Kathleen)

  9. Dear Father Steve,

    I was indeed saddened to read of your recently diagnosed medical problem. We have never personally met, but over the last few years St. Joseph’s has begun to feel like a second family to me, especially the children! (I have four children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandson), and so I want to offer you my prayers, my best wishes, and my spiritual support as you battle and overcome this disease.
    Yes, hearing of our own cancer is truly a shock and even frightening, but western medicine has progressed to a point today where it is not the hopeless situation it often was fifty years ago. I am a cancer survivor (esophageal cancer, 15 years now) and for me some of the best years of my life have been since that diagnosis and the treatments I received and the life I’ve had since.
    God bless and comfort you,

  10. Dear Fr. Steve,
    Having had two types of cancer at the same time, breast and endometrium. Surgery was followed by radiation and I remain now eight years in remission. I send encouraging words that you are being given this special time to reflect and grow even closer to our blessed Lord and His mother Mary. This too will pass and you will be healed. Continue your stong faith and positive attitude. This is so important. Your example will be a model for all of us and especially for your beloved children. I promise I will pray for you daily. May God continue to bless you and St. Joseph’s Indian School.

  11. I am trying to send a GET WELL message to Fr. Steve. They said if I log onto “” I could leave him a GET WELL MESSAGE. Well I logged onto, and saw no place to send him a message. Just could see the messages he received.
    Wish him GET WELL from the Walsh family.

  12. Fr. Steve, I am not of your faith. But I will offer a pipe for you and speak your name in Lodge this weekend. I will be asking Creator to help you recover from this cancer so that you may continue to help Lakota Boys and Girls.
    ~Mitakuye Oyasin

  13. Dear Father Steve,
    With Gods help you will beat this illness. I admire you for all you do for the children. May God bless and keep you.
    Fred Ulitsky

  14. Father Steve,
    pray that you’ll continue to have the strength to continue your treatments and subsequent surgery and ultimately a cure.

  15. Dear Father Steve and Everyone,

    Is there a way we could assemble some type of virtual offer of prayer for Father Steve?

    I enjoy reading various articles on how people from all over the world pray at a specific time for a particular intention, and results are so very beautiful.

    Love always,


  16. Hi Father Steve,
    Alan Katz in Inverness, Florida and yes, a cancer survivor for over two years. I remember the dr. saying I had colon cancer and that empty feeling. However, that feeling is gone and replaced by the fact that God has seen fit to keep me healthy.
    Each Friday night in our synagogue we say prayers for the sick and ill and you will be on the top of my list. God Bless !!!

  17. Dear Father Steve,
    You are in my thoughts and prayers! May God bless you with peace, comfort, and healing.
    Stay strong and be abundantly blessed by Our Great God above.
    Love, Madelyn 🙂

  18. Fr. Steve, your charitable soul and selflessness have inspired me. I pray for your complete recovery and the lightness of heart. May God’s grace and healing be with you.

  19. Dear Father Steve, I am praying for your recovery. Lord Jesus has never let me down and he will never let you down.

  20. Dear Father Steve,

    I was very saddened to read about your illness. You and everyone at the school do such wonderful work for all of your children. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Please get well soon.

  21. Fr. Steve:

    Please know that you are in my prayers!
    I know that you are in good hands and that you will overcome this malady.
    I say the prayer daily that you sent in your letter and I have one that I say for those who are sick with life threatening issues. Peace!!

  22. Dear Father Steve,
    On reading of your cancer “opportunity”, I was filled with mixed feelings. Being a cancer survivor of over 2 years, I remember when the word “malignant” was used and given to me…one part of me shut down and all I could believe was that this was one more thing to over-come. I didn’t believe from the beginning that I wouldn’t come through the experience…I just didn’t know what the experience would be. I believe to the bottom of my Soul that the Will of God prevails in all things. And it has been a proven fact that prayer does heal. So the prayer that I am offering for you is that the Will of God will manifest itself in your life…there is nothing greater! The children and their families are blessed by your presence at the school and my husband and I were blessed to see your work with them at the POW-WOW this past September. May the presence of God’s Will fill you to over-flowing and give you strength and peace beyond knowing. (I was on every “prayer list”, some of which I didn’t even know existed…of all faiths…may it be so with you and may you feel the healing hands of God in your life, mind and in your body.)

  23. Thirteen years ago I received the news that I had breast cancer. My blood didn’t come back quickly either so the chemo had to be extended. Don’t worry. Just means we must have slow blood! Fatigue is a major part of chemo and radiation. Accept that and give in to it. It will not last forever. I am a surviver and you will be, too. The trade-off is, that in this process, you will have become a different person and will never view the world in quite the same way again. And then you can thank God for the experience! I will keep you in my prayers.

  24. Dear Father Steve,
    Life changes so suddenly. Thank God for your strong faith and knowing that our precious Lord is with you during each moment of the journey. May God and Blessed Mother keep company with you and bring you Peace and comfort.

    Wepray that this too shall pass and you will be restored to full health–you have done so much good for all at St. Joseph’s.

    Pax Christi.

  25. Sorry to hear of your illness. I too was diagnosed with reoccuring cancer. Waiting to go for a biopsy and to be told if and where the disease has spread. Very scary as I am far from home(NYS) and wintering in FL so must find and trust all new doctors, labs, clinics and hospital. Will keep you in my prayers as I know I will be in yours. God bless and keep you Fr. Steve. With much love.

  26. Dear Father Steve,
    I was so saddened to learn that you have cancer. You do so many wonderful things for the children you serve that it just doesn’t seem possible that something like this could happen. I know God will be with you and will give you strength and comfort. Please know that I will be praying for you and the children. Please take care of yourself and do what you need to do to get better!

  27. Please be certain that my wife and I will be praying for you and your full recovery. What with all of your duties, I too would appreciate your prayers for me as I have cancer and so does my son-in-law (Bob). We appreciate you and all that you accomplish.

  28. Dear Fr. Steve–I know you have a positive attitude about having cancer. I know your faith will carry you through this trial. I believe it is a trial perhaps to test your faith. I know that, with the prayers and thoughts of everyone, you will win out over the cancer. God be with you and my prayers are with you! Jan Lindner

  29. Dear Fr. Steve,

    Please accept my wishes for a full and healthy recovery from your sarcoma.

    Your letter touched a sympathetic chord because I am in the same position. After my annual physical last May, my blood test came back with a high PSA level. After various tests, I was told that I had an early stage of prostate cancer. Luckily, it had not spread to other parts of my body. Last month, I underwent radioactive seed implantation in my prostate and look forward to a healthy recovery. Like you, I have a strong faith and positive attitude that things will go well.

    I feel fortunate that here in Rhode Island, we have a good health care system and they are relatively nearby. I feel empathy for you knowing that you have to travel a good distance to reach your doctors and hospital from Chamberlain, and have to do it during the harsh winter months. I’m glad to hear that your staff is doing all they can to help out the school while you are gone.

    God bless!

    Lester Nathan

  30. Dear Fr. Steve, my husband and I were saddened by your letter telling us of your cancer. I called our Poor Clare Nuns and asked them to pray for you. I can say their prayers do wonders. Also, I had your name listed in our Cathedral Parish Bulletin asking for prayer rememberance. A Novena to St.Joseph is just about completed. Father with everyone praying,YOU just have to recover. God listens, especially to the beautiful children, how can He refuse?? You mean so much to so many. God be with you and heal you very soon. May our Blessed Lord continue to hold you in the palm of His hand. AD CENTI ANNI!! Dr. John and Helen Judge

  31. Dear Father Steve,

    Yes, indeed you are in my daily prayers. I pray for your cure. I pray you will find hope and peace and continued trust in the Lord.

    God Bless you, Jill Pond

  32. Hi Father Steve
    I am sending my prayer and thoughts. I do pray all will go well for you. May god bless you.

  33. Dear Fr. Steve,
    You are in my prayers for a speedy recovery.
    God bless all you have done for so many and all you do.
    I pray for you. for your patience and acceptance in dealing with whatever you face daily.
    Sr.Anthony T

  34. Dear Fr Steve, Chemo sucks but the alternative isnot pleasant either. Hang in there. You can beat this. The kids are counting on you. God Bless

  35. dear father steve,
    i am praying for a speedy recovery. god will be with you so you can continue to take care of all the children who need you.
    god bless, h.c.

  36. My thoughts and prayers are with you Fr.Steve for a speedy recovery.St.Joe’s Indian School has been part of my life since I was a teenager-I’m now 65.You have done such wonderful work-God will surely bless you!May God grant you peace and patience in dealing with your pain.

  37. Brother Steve, I am a missionary Baptist but most importantly I am a borned again child of God for 58 years. God is the healer. I am praying for your complete recovery. He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you”. And He will be right there for you. Praise God for his love and mercy. Get well soon. Lean on Him.

  38. Father Steve, I am hoping and praying your Cancer will soon be gone and The Lord will being you back to the Childen at St. joseph. We all are so caring for your return to the school and to the best of health. God LOVE and Bless YOU. So truly, NITA MARIE

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