Thursday, November 30, 2017

Travel Photos, by Marian Gonsior

Harbor of St-Jean-de-Luz, France. Fishing town on the Atlantic coast of France, just over the border with Spain. The church where Louis XIV was married in 1660.
Views of the resort town of San Sebastian, on the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Stone Heart, by Vicki Khzouz

You know that moment when your heart learns how to speak?
That moment
when your heart decides to tell you
that you're nothing more
than the passing thought
of last week.

You know that moment when your heart
loses consciousness, leaving you numb?
That moment
when your heart makes you forget
where your smile used to comes from.
When it loses the ability to search
through the darkness, for a hopeful light.
When it can no longer find the strength to keep battling, the inevitably futile,
self-perpetuating fight.

You know that moment when your heart
mocks your desperate attempts to
elude your ill-fated looming pain?
That moment
when your arrogant heart whispers ridicule
until you realize it's telling you
that you're pathetically inane.

It's at that moment
that you can feel the weakness
compelling you to give in.
The violating instability is palpable.
Ambushing you
for the irrevocable collapse to begin.

And in that moment,
you can unmistakably hear
your heart admit defeat.
Clutching your chest,
you feel it slowly dying,
hardening into solid concrete.

The Power of Education, by Daccarette Thomas

Growing up in a poor country, my observations and life experience have contributed to my desire to write. I am still shocked about the world leaders’ failure to eradicate illiteracy in some poor countries around the world. The late Fidel Castro, the head of the Cuban government in the Caribbean, had done so in his country with scarce resources. Why can’t we? I agree his method of doing so was not aligned with our core beliefs. However, we should review the possibilities that will eventually lead us to imitate his revolutionary education system.
The world leaders opt to stay silent on the subject of illiteracy altogether despite a lack of much help from the wealthy countries. Shamelessly, our world leaders are still in disbelief about illiteracy. Or are they incapable of adopting a system to their liking -- a program that will shield us from all the ills that directly cause human suffering in the world? These ills promote dependency, indignity, incapacity, mental and physical pain and misery of the human race in many countries around the world.

At the beginning of 2000, after giving birth to our first-born son Christopher, there were many obstacles to furthering my education to better myself. I decided to enroll in nursing school at Oakland Community College. In my English class, we had to write an essay that required extensive research. I chose affirmative action, following my teacher’s advice. Prior to the assignment, I expressed interest in the subject and he suggested it would be a learning experience to challenge myself and so I formed my own opinion.

I had not been aware of the levels and depth of information I had to go through before I had gleaned enough information to dissect. But after the completion of my assignment, knowing the complexity of the topic, I couldn’t wait to see the look and enthusiasm in my classmates’ faces. I was very proud of my efforts and satisfied with the findings that I acquired. I let my readers know my gratitude towards my young and fragile teacher whom I thank for trusting his instincts and my capabilities to go ahead and explore the subject.

My topic was controversial, challenging and difficult to write and to take sides, even as a minority who is a direct beneficiary of affirmative action. I had to be objective and responsible for my findings in order to analyze, compile resources, make an opinion, and draw an unbiased conclusion. By exploring this topic, I was submerged into a multitude of other interesting topics, such as the government and how it operates, notably in both main parties of our federal government. Their ideologies and their operating systems differ considerably. I also learned about the power of the press, the other unofficial branch of the government. I learned about the role of the justice system, which is neutral and perhaps--after Congress and the Senate--the most relevant part of our government.

I had an appetite and thirst for learning. I was motivated physically and mentally to do more research to increase my knowledge. I became angry with this sort of reverse discrimination, which undermines us all, and degrades our dignity and human capabilities. At times, I had compassion for the other side and wanted to acknowledge the many wrongs that were done in the past and continue being done, to find common ground for both sides. I sympathized with the fights against reverse discrimination and the denied education opportunities. Many students grew up poor but nourished the dream to leave their small towns and farming altogether to pursue their life-long dreams and enroll in higher education. But instead, they are used as pawns to undo centuries of wrongdoing that left a race paralyzed, traumatized, and scarred for many years to come. 

I was confident about tackling this subject and allowed my curiosity to get the best of me. I was armed not only with the desire to write about the subject, but also with the resources that I had gathered to write. I wanted to let my readers know my position, and perhaps encourage a few to become as curious as I was on this matter. I organized my findings, which led me to develop my paper. I revisited my writing and editing often for accuracy, punctuation, grammar and description. I was determined to capture the attention of my readers, to please my teacher who was responsible for my acquiring knowledge of the subject and maybe still contributing to my willingness to continue learning.

What I do best when I write is establish confidence within myself and seek courage to face writing obstacles associated with language barrier and lack of grammar skills. This handicap of my language barrier stopped me from reaching my intellectual goal and my inner capabilities in my personal life; that is the improvement I would like to work on and look forward to improve in the near future with hard work and dedication.          

Deeper, by Dequonte Maxwell

I want to see places that's unseen,
Not places impossible to go,
But places that's in your dreams.
I want to enjoy you,
Love you.
Just listen to my words.
Sit here and let them empower you.
I want you to give me confidence,
Fuel me up like a gas station.
I wanna go deeper with this relationship.
I'm not talking about no texting or phone conversation.

Franciscan Day of Service

On sunny Saturday, October 7, 91 Madonna University students, faculty, staff members, and alumni packed up gardening supplies, food staples, and great enthusiasm. We went to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church/Social Justice Beehive, Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, Urban Life Center, Piquette Square, and Zaman International/Hope for Humanity and Community Opportunity Center. Our goal? To clean up flowerbeds, stock pantry shelves, sort food and clothing, and any other chore we were asked to do. We invested a total of 400 hours into this event.
At Madonna, we know that talking about Franciscan values isn’t enough. They have no meaning unless we live them. This is why Djennin Casab, Director of Service Learning, created and organized the annual Franciscan Day of Service.

As is often the case, we left with more than we came with. Consider the following comments from our volunteers:

“Teamwork in this particular service was outstanding. Helping those with disabilities accomplish duties they can't is something the Franciscan Day of Service should continue to work on."
"Many individuals in Detroit and the suburban areas are truly dedicated to volunteer their time and energy for the poor and needy." 
"I enjoyed this day of service and also to be able to relate to the present MU students since I am an alumnus."

A Better Option to Cynicism

We're living through an unsettling time in history, a time we'll talk about to younger generations as we shake our heads and wond...