After her daughter, Penny, was born with Down syndrome, Amy Julia Becker admits to feeling grief and fear intermingled with the natural joy of having a new baby.  As someone who’d always been devoted to her Christian faith, she engaged in some emotional and spiritual wrestling about how Down syndrome fit into God’s plan. A friend told Becker that when she first heard the baby’s diagnosis, she was reminded of the Bible verse, “Whoever receives this child, receives me.”  Those… Read more

When we are created, we are given special talents, though we don’t yet know it.  We’re endowed with the ability to love, and this love will manifest itself in different ways throughout life.  For Lorie Burcham of Nashville, Tennessee, her purpose was expressed through baking. Burcham and her husband worked in youth ministry for 14 years, and were looking for more ways to help pay the bills and feed their family.  Her love of baking started out as a way… Read more

A new bike is a dream come true for many children.  However, for Francessca Robertson, a four-year-old quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, a bicycle seemed like an impossible dream.  Connie and Gordon Hankins, however, make impossible dreams come true.  They modify standard tricycles with special  handlebars,  pedals, and axles for children with special needs.  All this is done for a fraction of the cost of other adapted tricycles, although the Hankins invest a lot of personal time on the project. “The… Read more

In 1981, Wall Street executive Kathy DiFiore realized she was feeling spiritually unfulfilled.  She asked for God’s guidance while praying the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.  Inspired to learn more about the saint’s life, she discovered that he took Jesus’s words very seriously—feed the hungry, shelter the homeless.  As DiFiore recalled on Christopher Closeup, “It motivated me to do something unique.” With a heart for the unborn—and an awareness that many families would throw their daughter out of the… Read more

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the leading figure of the 1960s civil rights movement.  His “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in 1963 before 200,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., remains a model of eloquence. Dr. King began by stating his intention to “cash a check,” the promise that President Lincoln had given to black people 100 years earlier when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the… Read more

Christopher Klusman was born deaf so he understands the feelings of isolation and marginalization that a lack of hearing can bring.  Now that he’s been ordained a Catholic priest, he hopes to be a bridge of inclusion to the deaf parishioners of St. Roman’s Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With an estimated three to five million deaf Catholics in the United States, Father Klusman knows he is serving a traditionally under-served community.  After the 34-year-old finished celebrating Mass in American Sign… Read more

The 19th century French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte spent the final six years of his life in exile on the island of Saint Helena.  He had much time for thought during these days, and some of his reflections proved highly interesting. For instance, Napoleon wrote, “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I founded great empires.  But upon what did the creation of our genius depend?  Upon force.  Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions would die for… Read more

Teacher Tony Apuzzi first met Jasalle Ruiz when she was “a rowdy sixth grader” at Intermediate School 120 in the Bronx, reports the Daily News.  When he left for another job, Ruiz’s grandmother told him, “You’ve changed my granddaughter’s life.  Please remain a part of her life after you leave.” Apuzzi kept in touch with Ruiz in the ensuing years and supported her in all her endeavors.  After receiving her associate’s degree from Bronx Community College in 2010, she was… Read more

Busy wife, mom and writer Elizabeth Duffy had to drop out of a months-in-the-making dinner with friends because she had accidentally scheduled a trip out of town for the same day.  Duffy e-mailed the friend who had coordinated the get-together saying, “I hate myself.”  Her friend told her not to hate herself explaining, “Friends extend grace to one another.” That phrase resonated with Duffy.  Writing on, she said, “I might have withdrawn from the group knowing that I’d goofed… Read more

A little girl hurt in a disastrous Indiana accident was ultimately rescued by the efforts of many guardian angels.  All would become links in a loving chain of care and concern. Maggie Mullin, 3, was in the audience at the State Fairgrounds to hear her favorite band, Sugarland, when the stage rigging collapsed due to a violent storm, trapping Maggie and others.  The youngster was bleeding badly, but her mother who was next to her couldn’t move because of a… Read more

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