As a flight attendant, Kary Doerfler of Seattle, Washington, made many journeys, logging miles across the globe.  But one trip—to Accra, Ghana, in Africa—changed the direction of her life. While there, she started volunteering at the Osu Children’s Home orphanage, bringing them supplies whenever she returned.    Soon she realized she wanted to do more than just make a visit, give out toys and go home. So Doerfler started a non-profit organization called Dreams for Orphans to provide a home and… Read more

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning The Lower Lights, a gospel group that performs classic hymns with a folk/bluegrass flavor, took its name from one of the songs they recorded: Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy. In a sermon, 19th-century preacher Dwight L. Moody told the story of a Lake Erie ship that crashed into the shore of a Cleveland harbor during a violent storm one night, killing many on board.  Though the lighthouse shone brightly, its lower lights, which guide… Read more

When Jacksonville Beach, Florida teacher Mike Tetlow died unexpectedly, First Coast News writer Erin Hawley shared his story along with the tributes sent in to honor him. On his honeymoon 18 years ago, a car accident left Tetlow paralyzed.  Using a power-driven wheelchair, he returned to teaching at St. Paul’s Catholic School where students and faculty admired him for being passionate, demanding, and encouraging, while never dwelling on his disability.  His assistant principal, Krissy Thompson, added that he showed youngsters… Read more

While visiting his sons’ video production office in Chicago, Christopher Award-winning Today Show producer Mike Leonard met 63-year-old postal worker James Hundley.  Leonard’s reaction: “Never have I met a more friendly, polite, upbeat person.”  Those personality traits were surprising in light of Hundley’s background facing down hatred and violence. In the mid 1960’s, Hundley joined his fellow African-Americans in peacefully marching for civil rights in his native Mississippi.  He was cursed at, spit upon, had rocks thrown at him, was… Read more

Six journals filled with hand-written praise and thanks from everyday Americans are among Sgt. Timothy Gallagher’s most prized possessions. Deployed in Afghanistan, Gallagher is one of the soldiers “adopted” by Delta flight attendant Robin Schmidt, who regularly passes journals around domestic flights for passengers to write notes to members of the U.S. military. Messages are wide-ranging, including jokes, thank-you letters, condolences, and surprising confessions. Afghan and Iraqi passengers have sent thanks for helping their countrymen. “I thought it was amazing,”… Read more

Meeting someone on a plane can be memorable, but rarely does it lead to selling one’s home, moving to Tanzania, helping start a Catholic university, and converting to Catholicism.  Yet that’s what happened when Toledo, Ohio’s Don Stiles met Tanzanian Archbishop Paul R. Ruzoka on a flight in 2009. Stiles and his wife, Gisela, became friendly with the archbishop, and grew to support his mission to build a university in Tabora, Tanzania, so much that they moved there.  Though not… Read more

Our daily lives are full of temptations that tax our self-control and drain our willpower—forcing us, at times, to lash out or give in to bad choices. According to Roy Baumeister, Ph.D., director of social psychology at Florida State University, willpower functions like a muscle.  It can be fatigued by overuse, but strengthened by some healthy habits to make you more productive, less stressed and happier.  Here are two tips from Baumeister. ▪ Play offense. People with strong self-control spend… Read more

Well-known for her beauty, actress Hedy Lamarr had another side.  Growing up Jewish in Austria, Lamarr was fascinated by science.  Later on in Hollywood, since she wasn’t they type to party, she looked for something to occupy her time.  She discovered that she had a talent for inventing. Obsessed with helping the war effort—especially after Nazi submarines sank a cruise ship of British schoolchildren in 1940—Lamarr invented a radio guidance system that could help the U.S. military.  Though it was… Read more

The Hahn brothers have long found meaning in life by serving others.  Both 85-year-old Lawrence and 95-year-old Father Bernardine were inspired as boys by the example of the Franciscan brothers at Immaculate Conception parish in Omaha, Nebraska. Lawrence has worked for the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s food pantry and currently visits hospitalized and homebound parishioners from his current parish, Holy Ghost.  “Caring for others gives me a complete spiritual feeling,” he told The Catholic Voice. The same holds true… Read more

Maryknoll Father James Keller, the founder of The Christophers, encouraged everyone he met to be a Christopher—a Christ-bearer—in the truest sense of the word.  One of his suggestions for doing that involved being a peacemaker. Father Keller once wrote, “You can do more than you think to bring to all men that precious peace for which the human heart yearns.  Almighty God has placed in your hand a share of His peace.  He expects you to keep a bit of… Read more

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