Fr. Steve’s updates

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mike is our Director of Child Services and handles all the programs related to our students.

We hadn’t met for a couple of weeks while I was getting diagnosed and starting treatment, so I stopped by his office to check in. After a while, he asked the question he pops on me every once in a while.

“So, what’s your sense of how things are going on campus?”

I usually have a great handle on both successes and struggles.

But since the new semester started, with my illness and absence, I really don’t have that sense of what most needs attention.  When I do get around campus, because staff care so much, they focus the conversation on my health needs and how I’m doing. 

It takes a little more work now turning the conversation back to how they’re doing, and what we can work at doing better together. But, staff are stepping forward to address problems that arise and build on the successes we have. There’s a good sense of team here, so the ball gets carried forward whenever a teammate goes down.

When I ran out of mental energy today, I switched to a simple task – putting several batches of photos in albums. Brought back lots of good memories of the times and events we celebrate as a campus-wide community.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sometimes illness has dramatic effects; other times, it affects your life in little ways, unnoticeable to others.

When I stood before the mirror this morning and ritually picked up the can of shaving cream, I rubbed my hand along my cheek.

For the first time in about 30 years, I didn’t need to shave. My beard is back to the peach fuzz I had as a teenager.

It’s my hope the chemo that’s inhibiting my fast-growing hair cells is making an even bigger impact on the fast-growing cancer cells.

The kids see me wearing a small pedometer on my belt and will often ask, “How many steps today?” That’s always followed by a request to let them loop my pedometer in over  their belt and run a lap around the playground to see how many steps they can accumulate.

I normally average 15,000 steps a day, (not counting the ones the children add) but lately I’ve logged only a small fraction of that. Today, I only needed one nap and was out and about campus more.  One small step at a time, repeated over and over again, gradually adds up. One day at a time!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I hear from many people around the country who have never actually gotten to visit St. Joseph, yet it holds such a special place in their hearts.

One of the more enjoyable activities I get to take part in is our donor appreciation luncheons that we hold in different parts of the country. Meeting people face-to-face, saying thanks and answering their questions about our school is memorable for me and for them.

Next weekend, I was scheduled to go to Naples, Florida. This morning’s thermometer reading of 2 degrees certainly made me long for warmer weather.  But with my treatments and recovery, I’m going to have to curtail my travels for a few months, and other staff will have to carry on the St. Joseph’s message.

Kelsey and Erin, our  two high school girls who are traveling to Florida, got together with me today for some practice time.

Fear of public speaking is a hurdle, but with encouragement and practice, our students usually do a good job. I emphasize that if they can relax, be themselves and talk from the heart, people will be very interested while they respect and value what our students have to say.

When we really listen to our young people, we open doors of self-confidence and self-awareness for them.

Besides asking Kelsey and Erin to represent St. Joseph’s well, I also made them promise to have a fun time and enjoy the wonders in a new part of the world they’ll encounter.

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.

7 thoughts on “Fr. Steve’s updates”

  1. How wonderful that Erin and Kelsey are going to Naples. They will be brilliant when they speak 🙂 Lived in Naples until 2005 before moving here to Quebeck, TN. What a great escape in the winter! Your heart will be there Father Steve. Kelsey and Erin will represent St. Joseph’s well. Take it one day at a time and before you know it, this time will be in the past and all of this will be a memory. God bless you. We all said prayers for you today.


  2. Father Steve — You’re neat! Sorry you can’t escape your 2 degree weather and enjoy Florida. If you were sending ME, I’d do my best to enjoy myself for BOTH of us!
    God’s Infinite Love possesses you (and me too). When I was a little kid, my mom and dad and me walked the boardwalk at Atlantic City — much different now. And I saw a sign in a doughnut shop window that I thought was so neat I memorized it. (And I sometimes use it when I bring Holy Communion to patients in the hospital every Friday. Here it is >>> “As you wander on through life, Brother (Sister) .. no matter what your goal // Keep your eye upon the doughnut .. and not upon the hole.”
    Ora pro invicem! John

  3. Fr. Steve,
    I continue to pray for you and all at St. Joseph’s. I’m sure the girls will make you proud of them when they go to Florida. They want to make you proud due to your kindness, gentleness and genuine parental concern. Kids can tell if you are a fake, and you sir are the real thing.
    Prayerfully, Sue Kleck

  4. Fr. Steve,

    I continue to pray for you–you have a great attitude, I can tell . I feel you will beat this. When I had my cancer, I just said this is another hurdle back to good health.

    Lots of prayers for you,
    Pat Dobrowski Reno, NV

  5. My prayers to you! I pray that you heal quickly and beat this. You are such a blessing to so many children. May I suggest asking your doctor if it is okay for you to drink Essiac tea (or 4-herb tea) it has been well know for cancer healing qualities. I became a certified herbalist, and wish I had known what I know now when my mom had cancer. She is now a survivor. She drinks her tea daily to stay a survivor.

    I wish I could help more, but at this point offering the suggestion of the tea, and keeping you in my prayers is the best I can do. God Bless You. God Bless the beautiful children.

  6. Father Steve – I taught this to my granddaughter –
    T ake
    R efuge
    U nder (the)
    S avior’s
    T ent

    Blessings dear sir……….Marty

  7. well Fr. Steve…not shaving for a while will be fun for you!!! it could be fun feeling like a teenager right now! bringing the students to the donor lunches is such a blessing – every one we have ever met has touched our hearts.

    one of the first things i felt about St. Joe’s is the spirit of teamwork, and i think especially now everyone is rallying around you and making sure things run smoothly while you fight this battle. stay strong, rest when you need to!

    Much love and many prayers!

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