olume 7, Number 4 Advent/Christmas Edition
A Publication by Associates for Associates
By Jen Shaw in Colorado Springs, CO
Somehow this holiday season has snuck up on us much faster than I have allowed myself to believe. With the
chaos of 22 people in a modest house for Thanksgiving being over, yet still eating turkey leftovers every night, I have
begun to reflect on what Christmas means. This year will be my first Christmas away from home, as for many of you,
and my life in Colorado Springs has been centered on four pillars – community, spirituality, simple living, and service.
We are currently in the season of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year for the church. During this time, we
focus our attention on preparing ourselves for the birth of Christ the King, and of hope in Gods love for us. With this
in mind, my Associate year Christmas has been:
Community: Christmas this year will be shared with the entire Holy Cross community in Colorado Springs including
the priests, novices, and associates. Taking traditions from each of our families, this Christmas will be an exciting time
to learn more about each other.
Spirituality: For me, this pillar has been one of great growth over the last four months. Being able to share and grow
in my faith that had lingered though college, I find myself with a renewed hope, which after all is the theme of the
Advent season. Our house has made the effort to pray together daily during Advent, lighting our wreath and reflecting
on the readings for the day. This is another piece that has helped bring our community together.
Simple Living: For me, this pillar has been the hardest during the holiday season. During a year where we each
receive $60 a month, it has become clear for me that material gifts or signs of appreciation for my community members
and family will not be possible. However, one of the greatest lessons that I am beginning to see is that there are other
ways to send the same message.
Spending a few extra minutes with a client who just needs someone to listen to them, or hand picking a warm scarf or
jacket can be as much of a gift as anything else.
Service: Service could seem like the easiest pillar, seeing that we have to get up everyday and go to work were we each
work with others in service to each other and the greater community. However, in remember that not everyone will
have a community to share the holidays with or is left in desperation because of their life situation, I would like to put
the challenge out that we remember these people and try to “gift” something for them. A few thoughts would be sharing
a meal at the local soup kitchen with the rest of the community, making an effort to talk with people there or including
these people in nightly prayer.
I would like to conclude with Christmas blessings and hope that we all find community, spirituality, simple living, and
service in our lives. My we use our creativity to find new ways to share our appreciation and love for our friends and
Merry Christmas from HCA Colorado Springs.
By Evangeline Iwu in South Bend, IN
The only thing constant in the world is change.
That’s why today I take life as it comes…
-India Arie “Growth”
I have learned, in fourth months, how to become comfortable and almost embrace the unforeseen
happenings that have come my way in life as an Associate at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center and
within the walls of a special little brown, olive, and yellow-sided dwelling place on West LaSalle Avenue.
Four months into my journey as an Associate and, of the lessons learned, I mostly cherish the knowledge that
the only consistency one can hope to find from day to day is the guarantee that there will be very little
consistency at all! Even amidst the daily routines and rituals, there is assuredly that one thing that waits in
the quiet corners of day to provide that element of surprise. I have learned that disappointment often comes
when rigid expectations are not met (and I am the Queen of holding rigid expectations! ask my housemates.)
Therefore, I choose to do as musician India Arie and take life
as God grants it to me each day.
Though I have not yet mastered the art of living one
day at a time, I do not recall a time other than this in my 23
years that I have relished so much, the simple delights in
life. In Psalm 9:1 we read: How clearly the sky reveals God’s
glory! How plainly it shows what he has done! I never tire of
a clear night sky lit brightly by the moon. Nor do I tire of
the less grand, though no less significant occurrences in life.
Each morning, as Mark and I leave for work, I laugh
inside as he must open the passenger side door of our maroon Chevy Lumina van from the inside. And his
ever so simple farewell to me as I exit the van each Friday, “TGIF!” makes Fridays go, even the least bit, more
As I walk each morning at work form my clinic, through the underground tunnel to the hospital to
have medical instruments sterilized, I am often alone in the long hallway; a time I enjoy as alone time is hard
to come by in an Associate home. I secretly enjoy the “elevator music” played in the background and find
myself singing and planning my strides to the beat of some of the familiar classics. On many occasions, I
pass a familiar face in an elderly man who shoots me the happiest smile you could imagine. I was ecstatic
the day he greeted me by declaring “There’s that young lady with the basket!” referring to the red basket in
which I carry the day’s instruments. I look forward to seeing my friend each day.
My work bringing patients into rooms, taking vitals, and prepping them for the doctors in the clinic
gives me a sneak preview of what is to come for me as a future physician. I am amazed at the confidence
with which the patients relate their condition to me and at the questions they ask me fully expecting an
answer no matter how many times I tell them that I am not a doctor nor a nurse. I can’t wait for the day I will
be able to answer the questions on my own. I enjoy the patients that I have seen on multiple occasions and
the opportunity to form relationships with them on whatever level possible.
With change comes growth. There have been a lot of changes I have encountered in months past.
Therefore, I can say with confidence that I have experienced an equivalent amount of growth. I am thankful
Traditions...Out the Window
By Diane LeBeau in Portland, OR
The Polish celebration of Christmas Eve, called Waglia (pronounced
Valia), pierogies, kielbasa, sauerkraut, kolatzes, fish, meat, all the
trimmings, the exchange of oplatek before dinner and a Polish midnight
mass describes a Christmas at my house. And I cannot forget the French
meat pie enjoyed by my Dad on Christmas Day. Oh how I love Christmas and
the family traditions that we share! Each year, I cannot wait to celebrate
them but WHAT!? I don’t get to this year! No home cooked food from my mom
or arguments over the Christmas lights? Ohhh, that’s right – I’m on the other
side of the continent from my family this Christmas. Guess it is time to put my
excitement about Christmas on hold – or not?
I find myself at 5311 NE 15th Ave in my new home
with six other housemates trying to create our own
version of a family Christmas, each of which brings
similar family images of the perfect family
Christmas to the table. Without our families, we try
to adapt. We rummage through boxes from the
cellar looking for holiday décor finding a full box
of lights (although only a few strands actually
work), scary ornaments and a makeshift throw
blanket/tree skirt. Nevertheless, our $20 purchase of
a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree turned out perfect!
We are sharing all of our family traditions and
strive to recreate that feeling of a family Christmas –
together, even though we are apart from our other
Who cares if our Secret Santa limit is only $5 and not $50? Who cares if we
don’t have a huge tree or fancy decorations? It should be okay that we each
put our own family traditions on hold – just this once. However, having been
immersed in my service placement working with the elderly - many of them
poor health wise and financially - as Christmas approaches, I find myself
imitating Charlie Brown more than ever wanting to scream, “Doesn’t
anyone know what Christmas is all about?” Of course most of us know; it is
just that we need some reminders now and then. And I learn that it isn’t all
about the pierogies, or the big fancy tree – it is about a spirit that is inside us
and moves us.
So, I learn to deal with a frozen kolatz shipped from my mom and a smaller
dinner on Christmas Eve. But as long as I get to spend Christmas with a
family, I find that I don’t really mind what time I go to Mass on Christmas
or if we have the proper tree topper. I don’t mind throwing those traditions
out the window – we are able to create our own tradition – and for at least
one Christmas, that’s just fine with me.
By Cathy Vogel in Coachella, CA
The Coachella Valley, six months ago, was not a
place I ever imagined calling home, but in the short time I opens far enough for us to pull the family wagon into the
have been here that is exactly what it has become. For the driveway it falls off the track. As the night darkens around us
purpose of this article I am going to refer to the valley as a we struggle to fix it, switching between brute force and strategy.
three point linear geographic feature. Nothing seems to be working. At a loss the three of us stare,
The first point is at the northern end of the valley, dumbfounded, at the simple metal contraption. Luckily two of
Palm Desert, Palm Springs - it really does not matter; our neighbors wander over.
picture a place where the cars are so bulky and glimmering, Earlier in the evening someone had to do a significant
they look like something out of a amount of maneuvering around our car that was parked
comic book, not something you haphazardly across the middle of the road to get out of their
would commute to work in. driveway, but it‘s ok, that’s the way most people park in our
Everything is so perfectly planned neighborhood. The older of the two, Jesus, a fairly burly,
and manicured; you have to blink wizened Hispanic man looks at the fence for a few seconds,
before you realize it is not a stage looks at us, smiles slightly, almost to himself, and lifts the wheel
set. Here in the desert these places back on the track single handedly. I guess that could work too.
are particularly noticeable because After securing it with a pair of pliers and a few flicks of his
of their lavish emerald green color wrist he’s gone, leaving behind him a trail of our wondrous
and the peaceful splash of the man- thank yous.
made streams and fountains. Last A generous soul of a different nature, this man helped
time I checked there was no grass in us for the sole sake of helping people in need. He saw us
the desert. But I digress. struggling, I probably would have been too overcome by a fit
You may be curious, what do people’s houses look of laughter to be of much use, thought he could assist us, and
like? I could not tell you; they are all hidden away in gated did. Not so we would thank him or even so we would think of
communities where the flowers always bloom and the him kindly, but just to help us. As one of the people I work
climate control is always on. At the gate of one of these with likes to say, “that’s the desert - extremes.”
communities a diesel box truck with Martha’s Village and Somewhere in the middle of these two points is
Kitchen painted on the side idles beside the gate house. Martha’s Village and Kitchen, my placement. I could fill every
The driver of the truck is attempting to get through the Associate newsletter ever written with stories, but one in
gate to pick up the turkeys a generous soul on the other particular
side wants to donate. The person working in the gate house stands out in
cannot seem to get a hold of this woman, or anyone else my mind.
who knows her whereabouts. The way the gate works is, Early one
you have to know someone on the inside that will open it Monday
for you; if they are not available you do not get in. morning (of
Meanwhile inside the gated community the course it had
generous soul who wants to donate the festive birds, out of to be a
the kindness of her heart, is on the phone reaming out the Monday) a
receptionist at Martha’s Village and Kitchen because she fairly well
does not have all day to wait around for a delivery guy to dressed,
show up. She’s trying to do the Village a favor, but she is older woman
an extremely busy woman,and if the delivery guy does came into
not show up within the next 5 minutes she is not going to the showers
donate the turkeys. I hope she invited her entire gated where I
community over for Thanksgiving dinner. spend my
At the southern end of the valley two Holy Cross mornings. Obviously upset by her situation and seeking an
Associates, Eileen and I, have just arrived home after a outlet for her frustrations, I just happened to be there. “You’re
“hard” day’s work. To get in the driveway the passenger just a little girl to me. You think you’re helping these people
has to get out and roll back the chain link gate. We used to out here but you’re not.” Maybe I am helping people and maybe
wonder about the purpose of the chain link fence I am not. Like Jesus, our gracious neighbor, I am going to
surrounding our house: was it to keep us in?, Now we know continue this year with a smile for no other reason than to be
it’s to keep the packs of mangy dogs out. Before the gate present and to assist those I encounter in any way I can.
Reasons Why Brockton Can’t
Turn in a Newsletter Article
By the Brockton House, Brockton, MA
— so full of holiday cheer, we can hardly contain it on paper
— we’re too busy making advent wreaths (there’s nothing like an
advent wreath full of life)
— we’re afraid we’d just end up writing the lyrics to “desparado”
— marty kelly usually writes our articles and he broke his arm
— the keeper won’t let trev come home, until christmas is over, and
he was supposed to write it for us
— it’s too cold in our house to type anything out (our heater broke)
— our spare time has been spent painting prayers
— around midnight, when we think about it, we’re usually at the
beach (south bend knows)
— we’ve been really focused on our knitting . . . or throwing knitting
— karaoke called our names
— in an act of simple living, we decided to go without computers the
day we were going to turn it in
— basically, we’re slackers, but champions nonetheless!
merry christmas everyone and don’t forget that the best way
to spread christmas cheer is by singing loud for everyone to
Ramblings, Meanderings, and “the Turkey Day Crossword”
Faithfully submitted by one Sir. Matthew A. Lashlee, Duke of
If you are anything like me, you might read the monthly newsletter only to find the poor piece of spirited
literature relegated to the water bathroom. So, in an effort to make this puppy interactive and give TJ some editorial
challenges, I submit to you all a few thought s and a little crossword puzzle I concocted. I apologize to those of you
from the South Bend and Brockton House who might have some trouble figuring out what the hell I am talking
about with most of the clues or answers in this thing but it is perfectly okay to admit defeat and call up a friendly
Associate who might be able to aid you in your quest. My parents would say this is just an attempt to be difficult…and
they would be right. But I hope some of you might enjoy a good crossword puzzle, even though this thing is at best
mediocre. The Phoenix House hopes everyone had a great Thanksgiving and we wish you all a blessed holiday
season and Christmas. We hope those Advent wreaths are coming together for December Solidarity. Who knows, if
some of you have a hidden talent when it comes to creating Advent Wreaths, we may have a shot at making this
Associate thing a for-profit venture, and a lucrative one at that. Enjoy and Happy Holidays to all. And to my prayer
partner Ryan – keep up the good work; your task is a daunting one.
“Keep the faith, and if at times that seems to difficult, at least try to spread it.”
Turkey Day Crossword
Gee, This crossword
is hard! Gobble.
1. The most overworked Associate in Coachella 2. An excellent meal on the road for those
3. The perfect substitute of a raging Associate shopping on a budget
dance party 6. Why we wished we had packed the afore
4. A great place to congregate and “build community” mentioned supplies
5. How the Novices won the Turkey Bowl 7. Site to see while driving through New
8. This food actually can fly at odd hours of the Mexico
night (I know because they landed on me)
9. Maximum occupancy at the Colorado House
10. What we all secretly wished we had packed
for the Thanksgiving trip
A Random Collection of Christmas Quotes...
Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that
thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant
event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing
medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two
thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas
—George Matthew Adams
What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?
—Unknown (maybeJohn Pinter?)
Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.
Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to
be patient and always to be kind.
—Helen Steiner Rice
Somehow, not only for Christmas, But all the long year through, The joy that you give
to others, Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, The
poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart’s possessing, Returns to you glad.
—John Greenleaf Whittier
Christmas—that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is
like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of
prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance—a day in which we think of everything we
have ever loved.
—Augusta E. Rundel
A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away; While quite
unselfish, it grows small.
—Eva K. Logue
May Christ’s presence
bless you abundantly
Holy Cross Associates
Holy Cross Associates
P.O. Box 668
Notre Dame, IN 46656