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Hometown: Kentwood, MI
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Woman thought to be world's oldest nun, who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, dies at 110

Officials in Poland say that a 110-year-old woman believed to be the world’s oldest nun and a rescuer of Jews during the Holocaust, has died.

Father Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for Poland’s Roman Catholic Church, on Thursday confirmed the death of Sister Cecylia Roszak last week at a Dominican convent in Krakow.

He described her as “probably the oldest nun in the world” and someone remembered as saying that “life is so short and passes so quickly.”

Born March 25, 1908, Roszak joined the convent at age 21. During the German occupation of Poland during World War II, when she was in her 30s, she was one of several nuns who set up a new convent near Vilnius, today in Lithuania, sheltering Jews who had escaped the ghetto there.


Notre Dame students cite faith as they kneel during national anthem to protest racism

Dozens of students at the University of Notre Dame took a knee during the playing of the national anthem at the Catholic school’s football game in South Bend, Ind., this weekend, saying their faith compels them to protest racism.

As “The Star-Spangled Banner” blared before Notre Dame’s last home game of the season on Saturday (Nov. 10), students in six rows of the school’s football stadium suddenly knelt in unison, joining a movement to protest racism and police brutality that has caused controversy for the past two years across professional and scholastic sports contests. Organizers said they estimated around 90 students participated, although the school newspaper reported at least 60.

According to a statement on a Facebook group page created ahead of the protest, the student organizers said the action was meant to confront a Notre Dame student body that they say has not faced “the reality of systemic racial injustice.”

Organizers told Religion News Service that faith was a key motivator of the protest, noting they intend to hold a panel discussion later this week about racism and their decision to kneel.


Rock used as doorstop for decades identified as meteorite

A rock that was used as a doorstop for decades at a Michigan farm has been identified as a meteorite valued at about $100,000.

Central Michigan University said Thursday that the 22.5-pound space rock was recently identified by Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences professor Dr. Monaliza Sirbescu after the owner “brought it to her out of curiosity.”

The Grand Rapids man was apparently inspired to investigate after seeing news of meteorite hunters finding shards and selling them for thousands of dollars after a meteor sighting in January in the Detroit area.

The chunk of iron and nickel was later valued at $100,000 after the Smithsonian Institution verified the find, CMU said in a release.


Priest who burned rainbow banner removed from parish by Cupich

Days after it was revealed that the Rev. Paul Kalchik of Avondale’s Resurrection Catholic Church burned a rainbow banner that once hung in the church, Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, has removed him from his role as head of the North Side church.

“For some weeks now, I have become increasingly concerned about a number of issues at Resurrection Parish,” read a letter, signed by Cupich, to parishioners and staff at the church. “It has become clear to me that Fr. Kalchik must take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support so his needs can be assessed.”

Monsignor James Kaczorowski, pastor of Queen of Angels parish, was appointed administrator of Resurrection Parish, effective Friday evening, according to the notice.

“I do not take this step lightly,” Cupich continued. “Rather, I act out of concern for Fr. Kalchik’s welfare and that of the people of Resurrection Parish. I have a responsibility to be supportive of our priests when they have difficulties, but I also have a duty to ensure that those who serve our faithful are fully able to minister to them in the way the Church expects.”


Dan Rather: Trump - Flock of Felons


Bear's Dairy Queen ice cream treat earns zoo $500 fine

A central Alberta zoo must pay $500 in fines after taking a bear for ice cream at a drive-thru.

A video posted on social media in January by Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail, Alta., showed a one-year-old captive bear named Berkley leaning out a truck's window and being hand-fed ice cream by the owner of the local Dairy Queen.

Officials with the province investigated and charged the zoo with two counts of violating a licence or permit under the Wildlife Act.


"Maybe Flint, MI should develop a nuclear weapons program."


Grand Rapids West Catholic High School, softball coach sever ties over conflicting views on marriage

Kristen Nelson announced that she has stepped down as West Catholic’s softball coach.

Nelson explained on Facebook that school and Grand Rapids Diocese officials informed her that her upcoming same sex marriage was contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nelson could not be reached for comment, but she wrote on Facebook that her views and the views of the Catholic Church on marriage ultimately resulted in her resignation.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am writing you this letter,” Nelson wrote on Facebook. “In recent weeks, a parent concern regarding my personal life and relationship has started an unpleasant conversation within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. Throughout the course of those conversations, it was made known to me that my future plans to marry my significant other, Maria, were ‘concerning’ to them. It has been made clear to me through conversations I have had with the leadership at West Catholic, that both they and the Diocese ‘teach a single view of marriage’ and that if I were to continue with my and Maria’s decisions to get married, I would not be able to continue coaching at West Catholic High School.”


"The @realDonaldTrump Doctrine: Speak bigly and carry a soft stick."


How America Is Transforming Islam

American culture often presents two opposing paths for young Muslims. On one side are people like President Donald Trump, who retweets unverified videos purporting to show Muslim violence; says things like “I think Islam hate us”; and claims there’s “no real assimilation” among even second- and third-generation Muslims in the U.S. On the other are movies like The Big Sick, which depicts the autobiographical love story of Kumail Nanjiani, a Muslim comedian who rejects religion and falls in love with a white woman, devastating his immigrant family.

In reality, most Muslims are somewhere in between. U.S. Muslims—roughly 60 percent of whom are under 40—are going through a process that’s quintessentially American: finding new, diverse, self-constructed identities in their faith, ranging from fully secular to deeply pious. The contours may be particular to Islam, but the story is one shared by Catholics, Jews, and even the Puritans. Muslims are creating distinctively American forms of their religion.

As a group, Muslims are extremely diverse, and their experiences reflect that diversity. Some young Muslims care deeply about their religious and cultural identities, but choose to prioritize other parts of life. Others self-define new, non-traditional ways of engaging with their faith. Immigrants understand the country differently than people who have been in the U.S. for generations; black Muslims encounter distinctive kinds of discrimination and have particular communal needs. Converts face questions from family members who might not understand their new religion, and have to navigate the sometimes-unfamiliar cultures of new friends and partners. And some Muslims don’t feel accepted by their own community, for reasons of race, gender, or sexuality.

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