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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Monday, December 26, 2011

We All Experienced His Spiritual Presence

Greetings and Merry Christmas to all who read Journey To Wisdom!  Sharon Nelsen is sharing with us some of the materiel that she has been privileged to see as the cause of Father Flanagan is poised to begin the next phase:  

"after more than ten years of working with Father Flanagan's boys and hearing so many stories of transformation, we are moving from the groundswell into the next phase of sainthood process. Our postulator, Dr. Andres Ambrosi, will be taking the cause to our Archbishop Lucas in mid-January of our New Year. If the Archbishop accepts the cause, the Diocesan Phase begins and Father Flanagan receives the title of Servant of God as the investigation of his life story proceeds. The following article is a one page piece written by our good friend and Boys Town boy, Stan Struble. Stan's perspective inspires us as church to think about considering miracles of the heart and mind as possible criteria in the sainthood process. Please feel free to share these sites and attached material with your families and friends."  Sharon Nelsen

We All Experienced His Spiritual Presence
            —Stan Struble, Class of 1968

Stan Struble, Director of the Alumni, wrote this letter to teachers in the recently published teaching resource unit about Father Flanagan, “A Saint of Our Own.”
I am writing to share information that is essential in understanding why the Home’s alumni believe that Father Flanagan should be canonized.  As a graduate and long-time employee of Boys Town, I have come to know many, many former students and employees from all generations, including those who knew Father Flanagan and those who did not.  Strong tangible lines link us because of commonalities and shared experiences.  The Home has weathered World Wars, depressions and recessions, changes in curriculum and staff, as well as the tumultuous transformation of America’s families and cultural values.  Yet Father Flanagan’s spirit and work has endured, strong and undiminished, under the inspired leadership of the Home’s Executive Directors. 

Father Flanagan’s genius and spirituality are as viable and relevant today as they were in 1917.  The miracle of Boys Town is that our Founder created a place that provided exactly what children require in order to become good citizens.  You see, no matter how hard the staff works, no matter how well they counsel or role model, it’s still up to the individual child to make the transformation.   There’s no magic pill or bullet.  Only the child can make the decision to heal from their abuse and neglect.  No one can do the hard work for them.   Herein lies the miracle and genius of Father Flanagan.  All Boys Town alumni know that Father Flanagan built this place just for them.  We all experienced his spiritual presence and healing in some way, whether in church, school or on the gridiron.  His spirituality and mission continues to resonate individually within each new generation. 

For many hundreds of years ‘miracles’ have been viewed solely within the context of inexplicable medical cures.  As our knowledge of science has grown, we now know that many ‘miracles’ are now quite easily explained; not all, obviously, but many.  And some miracles can best be explained as unnatural events that occur naturally.  Whether through ignorance or fear, the mind, that entity most important in governing our being, has never been viewed as a bodily organ in need of healing except within a biological context.  In retrospect, sitting here in the 21st  Century, one can only speculate on why such a narrow definition of ‘miracle’ has been used to demonstrate holiness. 

Miracles occur every day at Boys Town—some small, others huge—but ‘miracles’ nonetheless.  Unless you’ve been the victim of spiritual neglect, or chronic physical and emotional abuse as a child, you can’t truly appreciate the difficulties and barriers in becoming emotionally healed.  It’s a process that requires a very special place, committed staff, and a spiritual font to nourish and heal the mind.  Through Father Flanagan, all three have became an integral part of Boys Town.  It’s the type of miracle that goes unrecognized and unappreciated except by those of us who know what the alternative would have been; frightening to realize how badly our lives might have turned out, and awe-inspiring to know that only a miracle could have saved us...Father Flanagan’s life was divinely inspired; he was selected by God for a very special mission: to bring help, healing and hope to children and families; ‘miracles’ of the heart and soul are as rare and real and relevant as ‘medical miracles’.

NOTE; This article was in our Winter 2004 issue of our Father Flanagan newsletter.   Stan works in the aftercare program at Boys Town. 

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