Sunday, March 27, 2011

Au revoir, mes amis

I am a lector at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne Indiana. On the occasions when I read I always arrive early and go the sacristy to review the additional announcements and the General Intercession prayers. My goal is to make sure I can pronounce any unusual words. I especially want to pronounce a congregant’s name correctly if we are praying for him or her. Tonight was unusual. I was reading the names of the newly departed whose souls we would be praying for. For the first time I read the name of someone I knew. I knew that Dr. Carl Nadeau had been in hospice. I knew his remaining time with us was brief. Still, I never thought this would be how I would find out he was no longer with us.

After an initial startle my goal was simple. To read his name as neutrally as the name of the other congregant who had just died. Both were loses for many people and both deserved to be prayed for with dignity.

Still, that meant the remainder of the evening I kept returning to memories of Carl Nadeau. He taught French at the University of Saint Francis for what seemed an eternity. I had heard of him before I ever met him. He was a character. I remember my surprise when students told me of the student internet fan club they had made for him. People are never neutral in the presence of a character!

Carl gave me my first tour of the Cathedral. He walked me through the sacristy and showed me the vestments, oils, paintings and he told me of the history of real people. He told me about the reredo, the altar, the stain glass windows, the pillars and vaulted ceiling. And oh, he told me about the unique Stations of the Cross.

Then Dr. Nadeau brought me down to the Crypt. Now the crypt might be a solemn place, a resting place for former bishops and rectors. It may be a place for special services and a connection to the past. However, for Carl it was a place of joy. He knew one of the occupants personally. He enjoyed being in the Crypt spending time with an old friend.

Carl made the history of the Cathedral come alive. With Carl the early French, German and Miami influences were alive today. Father Benoit, Bishop Dwenger and Chief Little Turtle still walked the Cathedral Square when Carl was giving you a tour! Nobody could give a tour like Carl.

So today I am a tour guide at the Cathedral. I have a file with a multiple typed pages of notes from Dr. Nadeau. I have watched his video tour of the Cathedral five times. In the video a younger Dr. Nadeau acts like Alistair Cooke inviting people for a casual tour of a stately home. His pride in the Cathedral permeates the video.

Carl had an impact on people around him. We shared the same pharmacy. One day we were both at the pharmacy to pick up our medications. The pharmacist paged that “the prescription for Dr. Carl is ready for pick-up.” The pharmacist then saw me, the other Dr. Carl from USF and picked up the intercom a second time. Over head we could hear the pharmacist state, “excuse me, Le prescription is ready for le good Doctor Carl, bon, bon, Oui?” Carl could even turn people around him into characters!

The last time I saw Carl he was telling me about his transition from being a full-time professor to retirement and full-time care. He said it could not have happened had it not been from three colleagues from USF who went over his retirement benefits with him. They showed him how he could afford the care he needed. It must have been tedious to go over something so crucial but requiring such detail with an ailing man. I know these guys. I always thought of them as smart, funny guys who added a lot to the school. They are not even all from his department. Now when I see them walk down the halls I just smile and think how lucky we are to have so many caring people on our campus.

Carl was a man with an enormous appetite for life. Beauty, food, music, art and French and French-Canadian history were just a few of his passions. He took pride in the concerts he gave at his residential facility. Nothing made him smile more than the promise of a good meal.

My last conversation I had about Carl was at our Employee Banquet. People were talking about their visits with Carl. They were visiting even though he was not responsive. Staff, administrative workers and faculty all made their visits. This unusual French Canadian professor touched so many lives. Tonight as I was giving the readings at Mass I was aware of all the different areas of the Cathedral Carl had introduced me to. I was aware of how my tours are so full of his words. Thank you Dr. Carl Nadeau for sharing some of your passions with me. Au revoir, mes amis

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Matt Damon, Contagion 2011 and Me!

I did so many things while on sabbatical. I of course did outreach and worked at the Ministry Center of Emmaus Ministries. I also taught a course at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. I went to a boat load of ethnic churches. However, one of the coolest things by far was being an extra in a movie.

Cathi called me in September and told me they were having a casting/audition for a movie called “Contagion.” She wondered if I was interested in trying to get a part. Was I? I hate lines and I have no training in drama. That did not stop me. I went to Lincoln Park and stood in a line that went on and on and on. We were all given a form to fill out. It had our height and weight for costume fitting. It had a work history and a place for special skills. I had none, I did not juggle, fire dance or train animals. We were brought into a building in large batches. Then we were told about the movie, roles available and where and when the shootings would take place.

There were a number of films being made during my stay in Chicago. They had just finished up Transformers III and were getting ready for another sequel of Batman. Many of the folks I waited with had been in the films. They all had great stories to tell. It was actually a great deal of fun just waiting in line.

Hearing about the movie was exciting all by itself. The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh . It is loaded with stars including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lawrence Fishburne. None of the actors were at the casting, they were in Hong Kong at another set for the movie. The movie is about a virus that kills one fifth of the world population. It takes place in Asia but the disease spreads. While much of the movie is filmed in Chicago many of the sceneces are of other parts of the country. It is a movie about the CDC, scientists, the military trying to keep order amidst chaos and it is about survival. Since I specialize in disaster mental health the idea of possibly being in this film, even for a second, was just too cool.

So I had my interview, handed in my paperwork and head shot and was told they would call me in early October. Well, October and November came and went and no phone call. I wasn’t upset because I thought it was pretty exciting and unusual just to have tried out in the first place.

I was at the Emmaus Ministries office when I got a phone call. The casting agency wanted to know if I would be interested in being an extra the first Friday of December. It was two weeks before I went home, time was running out, but what a cool way to end my sabbatical. I immediately said “yes!”

The filming took place in Evanston. I arrived at 6 AM. We gathered at a parking garage in the downtown area and then were bused to a gymnasium of Northwestern University. We were divided into groups. Many folks were National Guard extras. Some were police and sheriffs. Some were Hazmat folks. I was a townsie. A number of folks were identified as folks who were going to have been contaminated. The makeup artists painted their faces right in front of us. It was amazing how they used only a few light colors and were able to make the people look like they were really ill.

After breakfast and orientation we all walked over to a park. The scene was supposed to be a town in Minnesota. Since it was already very cold and snow was everywhere it looked the part. We were part of “The Great Food Drop.” There were military hummers, FEMA tents and crane holding a pallet of food. This was to be the helicopter food drop. There were 600 extras. We all had hats and masks or hazmat suits on, we would not be easily recognized on the big screen!

The scenario was of a town I Minnesota that had been quarantined. FEMA and the law decided they needed to get food to us. As the crane lowered the pallet two huge helicopter fans blew snow and white sand so that it looked like a helicopter drop. It was freezing and the casting company was handing out hand and foot warmers.

The first scene I was in was of the town people waiting in line to get food. I ended up right behind the camera. I thought, “great, I will never be in the movie this way.” Then I looked next to me and there was Matt Damon. For the next hour I was either next to him or a few feet away. We never interacted but it was fascinating to watch him work. It was also incredible to watch the director continually change the scene and each variation looked better than the time before.

It was interesting to see the set moved about. The big FEMA tent was carried to different locations by two men. Military vehicles and soldiers were moved and the crowd was filmed from different angles. In between the filming they brought us hot soup just to help keep us warm.

We then started the second scene. We, the town folks, are waiting at a table for our MREs when we are told they ran out of food. There is then a panic as people turn and run toward one of the army trucks hoping there is food. On three different occasions I was running alongside of Matt Damon. A woman falls down. I continue to run as Matt stops and helps her up. At that moment I know I will be on the big screen for a moment alongside Matt Damon. I imagine teaching a course on disaster mental health and showing the 20 second scene where I have my mask on and I am running next to Matt. I am so excited, then we break for lunch.

Lunch is served outside. There are long tables and we sit and eat pasta, chicken, beef, potatoes, vegetables and strawberry shortcake. It feels like a scene from Hollywood. I loved it but it was time to get back to work.

We continued filming the same scene over and over. By now tracks were laid for the camera cart, trucks were moved. More importantly for me, I was no longer part of the group that ran alongside Matt, I now walked way in the opposite direction. So, if you see s guy with no face but blue gloves walking away, that’s me!

There was a scene in which just Matt talked. At that time blue screens were put behind him. We all circled Matt and watched. I know when I watch “Contagion” I will see Matt talking in a chaotic crowd scene. I will no however that 600 of us quietly stood around watching him do his stuff!

I was impressed with Matt. He stayed outside with us the entire day. He did not have to. We all respected his space but we all liked having him around. The only way you could tell he was the star was that he drank coffee from a coffee shop and he was allowed to have his cell phone. Otherwise, he was outside struggling to keep his feet and hands warm all day just like the rest of us.

So that was it. 600 extras, military vehicles, helicopter fans, film crews, breakfast and lunch, and we all got paid. It took one day for set up, one day of filming and one day to tear the set down. All of this for one minute of film time. For me however, it was my touch with Hollywood. I kept my mask, I watch for when the trailer comes out. I smile whenever I think about the virus that attempts to wipe out humanity. And I thank Cathi for calling me in September to tell me about “Contagion.” Now that is the way to wrap up a sabbatical!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ah, Discovering Coffee in Chicago

I was never a connoisseur of coffee. In fact I was pretty judgmental of coffee snobs. I remember listening to a student from Seattle bragging about how they had great coffee in the Northwest and Fort Wayne was a coffee wasteland. I thought she was simply spouting her civic pride. I remember having an espresso in New York and hating the jolt of caffeine. However, there were hints of a future conversion.

I remember having tea in England. I was impressed with the respect the process of brewing was given. I liked how everything stopped for a “cupa.” I liked watching the workers in antique shops in London stop working to have their tea. I liked drinking tea served in real cups and saucers at the Channel beach.

I liked drinking coffee from real porcelain cups in Italy. I loved my morning cup of Americano while sitting in the piazza of Assisi. I was learning coffee did not have to be bitter, it did not have to be served in Styrofoam and it did not have to be consumed while on the go.

Practical Assisi #6: COFFEE SHOPS

I enjoyed a cup of coffee with chicory at Café Du Monde in New Orleans. However, to be honest I was there for the beignets with powdered sugar and to listen to the street musicians.

Nola Shines | Cafe du Monde

The nearest I came to appreciating coffee that was not just a cup of Joe was on vacations. I would stop at a Starbuck’s and order a low fat latte with cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg. Oh, and during the fall I would order a pumpkin latté. Hardly the makings of a follower of he bean.

During my first stay at Emmaus Ministries world famous author Nicole Foster introduced me to Dollop. Dollop was a local coffee shop a short walk from Emmaus Ministries. It was also a short walk from Boystown where we did outreach and a short walk from the lakefront. Dollop was great. It consisted of two levels going in opposite direction. The lower level kind of ‘crossed the T’ with the street level. The shop was full of small tales, couches, and coffee tables. There was local art on the walls and artsy literature all over the place. Dollop sold coffee, made tea bags and had a nice pastry selection. However, I just liked the atmosphere. People came in to red, to look at their iPad, to talk with one another and to sip coffee.

When I came back to Chicago for my sabbatical I visited Dollop a lot. It was where I went to grade school papers. It was where I went to read books on Francis. I brought Whitney to Dollops on our way to the lakefront. Emily and I went there to sit, talk and then continue on your journeys. Emily was my partner in adventure. Bethany and I tried to go to Dollop for a quiet coffee. Instead we walked into a well attended folk music concert. It seemed like a stereotype of a coffee house and it was cool.

If it had not been for Doug Van Ramshorst I would have been content with going to Dollop and never exploring all the other bean possibilities in Chicago. Doug is the outreach coordinator for Emmaus. He is also a coffee savant. I am not exaggerating. I do not have a tattoo of a cup of coffee on my arm, Doug does!

Doug knows where and how coffee beans are grown and harvested. He knows all the various ways coffee is brewed. He knows the people and the history of many of the coffee houses in the city. However, for me, most importantly, Doug does not like coffee that tastes bitter or burnt. Not only would Doug recommend places I should visit, he would tell me what coffees to try and which ones to avoid. I appreciated Doug’s delicate palate (NOT a slogan for a T-shirt!)

Doug introduced me to Intelligentsia Coffee. This place was incredible. They had the world champion baristas for the last two years. Now prior to Doug I did not know there were World Barista Championships but then, prior to Doug I did not know what a barista was. I certainly did appreciate the magic the person behind the counter was capable conjure up.

Interview with Barista World Champions at Intelligentsia Coffee

Each cup of coffee at Intelligentsia is individually brewed. This is a place to savor your coffee. People linger here, unless your Sill our Ministry Center Director, then it is coffee to go. The shop is between Lincoln Park and Boystown and walking distance to the lake or Lincoln Park Zoo. It is near theaters, shops, social service agencies, gyms and residential neighborhoods. What a great location to just sit and sip a smooth cup of Guatemalan made just for you. Thanks Doug!


There were so many coffee shops to go to while on outreach. They were places to warm up, to observe and to just talk with folks. Some were good, convenient but limited in their usefulness to us. Caribou on Halsted was great. The location allowed us to sit and do our jobs. However, they closed early in our outreach tours. Dunkin Donuts at Clark and Belmont was always a happening place. The price was right, the coffee was always at least adequate and there were always folks to talk to. The problem was once it got late the tables and chairs were stacked up and there was no place to sit.

Luckily Doug was a resourceful guy. He introduced me to Kickstand. This was a great little shop on Belmont. The motif was or course old bikes. Sometimes it appeared you had to be an intellectual just to enter. Folks would sit around drinking coffee and reading War and Peace. The coffee was always good, the service friendly and the art interesting. The problem was it also closed by 11 PM which is not a lot of help on outreach.

However, our most useful place by far as a chain coffee shop, Starbucks at Clark and Belmont. The service was great. The location was perfect for watching outside activities. Best of all, it was open 2r4 hours a day. The place never slowed down. It was a meting spot for so many sub groups of the Night Community. This included club hoppers, locals, trannies, our guys and the CPD. It was here that I began to develop a relationship with the Chicago police. It was here that I realized how over worked and stretched thin the police were. I loved to sit at the window and watch the city at night. Bethany would meet here with members of the deaf community. Doug would meet community contacts here. Emily would drink tea and plan her next outreach journey while Whitney rested before moving on to Halsted. It held an important spot in the life of our outreach mission. Plus, I liked their coffee.

My favorite coffee house was Metropolis. It was north of Uptown and near the lake. It filled three separate rooms. Each room had shelves of comics and art books to look at. The coffee was great but it was the atmosphere I loved. You could loss yourself in this place.

Metropolis Coffee

I taught at the Adler School of Professional Psychology on Mondays. At the corner was an Argo Tea House. This was a great spot to meet up with faculty and students. It would never have been a destination shop but it was a convenient watering hold.

Across the street from Emmaus, in the Friendly Towers building was the Citizen Skate Café. This was a skate board/coffee shop. It was party of Jesus People USA (JPUSA.) The music was often loud, pounding. The walls were covered with skateboards and posters. Al Tauber described place as beautiful. If beautiful means effective, ale to reach out to a special population then it was beautiful. It reminded me of a 12 year old boys basement getaway. Still, the workers were great. The coffee was very good. And I loved hanging with JPUSA folks.

Citizen Skate Café: JPUSA

Finally, Al also told me about Café Two. Café Two is part of Inspiration Café. This is a non-for-profit organization that trains homeless folks in the food industry. The café is beautiful in a traditional, non-Al way! The food is great. However, I went there for the coffee. The service was always friendly and personal and the coffee was Intelligentsia coffee. It always felt good to know you were getting good coffee will supporting a great organization and helping in the training of folks whose lives were changing.

TrueNorth - Inspiration Cafe :60

So I learned I liked mellow, Central American coffees. I learned to appreciate service and the special skills of well-trained baristas. I learned to find places of respite in a busy city. Most importantly, I learned to appreciate the experiences of Doug, Nicole and Al. Coffee, I like it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Visiting Congregation Or Chadash in Chicago

My sabbatical in Chicago also served as a unique pilgrimage. While I was in Chicago I had been attending GLBT and welcoming churches along with ethnic churches. I started by visiting ethnic churches and then almost bumped into welcoming churches. Before long they were part of my journey. I was getting an in idea of the needs that were being filled in these churches, often because they were unmet needs in traditional churches. People wanted to be recognized, welcomed, and they wanted a place at the table. They wanted to worship and having GLBT as part of your identity did not mean that you were handing in your faith identity. I had a growing awareness that this was not an issue just for Christians, this was part of the human condition. There were posters at the Center on Halstead for GLBT welcoming Buddhist meditation groups. There were articles in the papers about the struggles of gay Muslims. Then while discovering A Jewish Drum Circle I also bumped into information on a GLBT synagogue. I decided to visit a Sabbath service.

The congregation was in a large building that served as the home of two distinct congregations located in different parts of the same building. It was a great night for Shabbat. It was a nice fall evening. I walked through the historic Bryn Muar neighborhood. Any excuse to walk on Sheridan Road by the lake at night is always a good excuse. So I arrived in a good mood. Imagine my surprise when I was greeted at the door by security officers. They checked my identification and then escorted me to Congregation Or Chadesh. What I did not know was that these two congregations had been targets of al Qaeda in Yemen just two weeks prior to my visit. It was the F.B.I. who had informed the rabbis and board members that the two congregations had been targeted for postal bombs. Suddenly the world seemed very small. Yet again a people I was visiting was the target of intolerance. Since I had been in Chicago this had been a reoccurring theme. Assyrians, Muslims, Copts, faith communities in China had all described being the target of intolerance for being different.

Luckily, once I entered the sanctuary I briefly left the outside world and entered a welcoming faith community focused on thanking a generous G-d for all He had given humanity. I don’t know what I was expecting, perhaps rainbows and dreidels but what I saw was a typical, if somewhat small synagogue! Men had their heads covered, people greeted one another. The rabbi led the service. I had walked in on a special evening. It was the “Transgender Day of Remembrance” service. Initially I did not take it seriously and then I listened to Rabbi Edwards. He recounted the stories of people around the world who had been beaten and killed for being different. Only a couple of week prior I watched film on the Nazi treatment of their GLBT citizens. It was a sobering and compassionate service.

Congregation Or Chadash profile

After the service I met the Rabbi and members of the congregation. I learned a lot that evening. I learned about their work in the GLBT community and their work in the larger Chicago Jewish community. I also learned something about the larger Jewish community. I did not know that members of the Israeli Defense Force could serve while being openly gay and out. I did not know GLBT citizens in Israel had equal rights with their straight sisters and brothers, this includes the right to marry.

Congregation Or Chadesh II

The congregants gave me plenty of reading material before I left. The rabbi and I tried to find time when I could meet him for an interview. Since I was getting ready to move back to the Fort the timing for an additional meeting was not promising. I also learned that while there was a clear need for the Congregation at the time of its founding the larger Jewish community in America has been significant change. Members acknowledged that many traditional congregations are welcoming and safe places for them to worship in. They also point out that they, the congregation, are members of a larger GLBT Jewish community, including the World Congress of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual, Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga’avah.

This was the second synagogue I had visited while in Chicago. It was the third Jewish activity I participated in during my sabbatical. I was glad I had the opportunity to spend the Sabbath with the members of Congregation Or Chadash. I liked how they reached out to others. I like how involved the congregation was in the community. I hope to visit them again someday.

Lutheran, Welcoming, Arabic-Speaking Christians in Chicago!

There seemed to be no end to my pilgrimage to ethnic churches in Chicago. I was like a kid in a candy store! I was use to being one of the few white people or only English-speaker at a service. One Sunday I went to a truly unique church, St. Elias Christian Church. The church was an Arabic speaking Lutheran church. The members were from all over the Middle East and North Africa. The shared a regional geography, a language and a Reformation.

When I think of Lutherans I tend to think of blue-eyed, blond hair folks. Not here! The service was familiar, this was a formal liturgy. The music and language was not familiar. By now I had come to expect people to greet me, to make me feel welcome and to tell me about their faith and their life journeys. This was no exception.

tarneem tarneem ترنيم ترنيم ترنيم
Arabic Christian song, not from Chicago, just a sample of the sound)

After service I was invited downstairs for traditional Middle East foods and conversation. I again heard about the struggle to love your enemy but these folks had so many of them. In the church sanctuary were markers of the great walls of the world that divided people. This included the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China and the wall that separated Israel from Palestine. The members of the congregation, especially the Palestinians, spoke of what it was like to be judged by so many different peoples. They felt discriminated by Jews, Arabic Muslims and by Western Christians and yet still they were called upon by their faith to love their enemies. That was a tall order.

Immanuel Lutheran Evangelical Church: “The Walls”

This was a much more diverse group than the Coptic Church. The Coptic Church may have spoken three languages but they were all Egyptians, these folks were from many different countries and cultures. I met an author who proudly showed me his books on Islam and Christian relationships. The books were in Arabic but he told me their main themes and gave me copies of them! I loved being in this unusual and welcoming place of worship.

I asked the minister for permission to take video of the church. He was reluctant to give permission because his congregation rented space from Immanuel Lutheran Evangelical Church. He recommended that I attend one of their services and then ask their minister for permission to video record the building. It sounded like an excellent plan to me!

Immanuel Lutheran Evangelical Church

So I attended a service at Immanuel Lutheran Evangelical Church. This is a church in Edgewater not far from Andersonville. The church had been a Scandinavian church. As the neighborhood changed so did the congregation. At the time I visited the church is it appeared to be a middle class congregation that was as ethnically diverse as the surrounding neighborhood. Additionally, this was a welcoming church. Andersonville has a significant GLBT population and the church recognizes this and welcomes them. In fact, its motto is, “If Grace is not for everyone it is not Grace.”

Immanuel Lutheran Evangelical Church: Back Altar

The church had a German or northern European look about it. However, it also respected diversity. This was evident in the statues of religious leaders from other denominations and religions. There were also a number of places to pray. While the altar was the focal point the back altar are provided a place to communion with God.

The church was the home of three different congregations. The Immanuel Lutheran Evangelical Church was the host congregation. St. Elias was the more unique congregation. However, there was also a Baptist congregation that utilized the space. This church building truly served as a space were Christians worked toward Christian Unity.

Immanuel Lutheran Evangelical Church: Chapel

The church also had a side chapel. The chapel was magnificent. It served as a place for more intimate worship. It was also a respite site for the individual Christian. The space demanded quite, focus and humility.

Outside of the sanctuary was a hallway. Beyond the hall was an auditorium/social room. The basement also served as a social room. This church was a hub of Chrisman activity in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I was so glad I attended two of the three congregational services at this church.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Day at Loyola University

Clearly a great deal of time has passed since I have returned from my sabbatical in Chicago. Still, due to a number of projects I have not yet completed my blogging about my experience. Hopefully I will complete this happy task before my next adventure! Today I would like to reminisce about trekking across the campus of Loyola University on a cool Saturday. I had only planned on video recording the Chapel, however to my delight I arrived for a campus visit day. I went in every building that was open!

My first apartment as an adult was only blocks away from Loyola University. Still, I had never wandering onto the campus. I watched Bob Newhart every weekend and he as a huge Loyola fan. I think part of the problem is that from Sheridan Road or Devon Avenue the school looks dull. Now to be sure the landscape has changed dramatically since I lived there. Still, you have to enter the campus, go beyond the main streets to find this enclave that is a gem next to Lake Michigan!

Loyola University: Quad

The Quad at this time whispers of the beauty of the past and of what is to come. At this time however, the Quad is a busy place full of new construction. I will have to visit the campus in another two years to see the new vistas.
As I said, I originally arrived on campus to video the chapel. This is where I along with member of the Kaio community attended Taize services. I loved the simple structure with the rich gold Stations of the Cross and the powerful icons. I liked the straight lines, the art deco and Spanish influence and I loved how it all opened up to the lake.

Madonna del Strada Chapel Loyola University

The chapel dominated the south east corner of the Quad. “Chapel” sounds like a simple, modest place of worship, that is deceiving! The chapel was used by students and faculty but also by neighborhood Catholics and in fact people throughout the city. I would love to attend Midnight Mass at the Madonna del Strada Chapel.

Madonna del Strada Chapel Loyola University : altar

The chapel is a very “clean” space with minimal distractions. The lines all directed the congregants eyes forward to the windows and the altar. The altar is likewise simple in design. This made for a particularly beautiful focal point for the Taize services.

Madonna del Strada Chapel Loyola University Shrine

The Shrines were stunning and they were used. This was a very Catholic place and yet it was a campus that was inclusive and welcoming. I visited the offices for Jewish, Hindu and Muslim students. This was a place that celebrated diversity.

Outside the Madonna del Strada Chapel: Lake Michigan

The first time I walked through the large heavy doors I was stunned. You open the doors and before you is Lake Michigan. It is a lake with a personality. Some days the sky and the lake are a beautiful blue, sometimes the lake is still, and sometimes it is violent. On this day the lake reflected the cool autumn day and spoke of the promise of a winter that was on its way. On my last visit to the campus the lake was frozen with sheets of ice crashing into one another and slowly bobbing up and down. The entrance and the small plaza offers an incredible view of my city from a unique perspective.

Loyola University flowers and residential building

I walked around the campus. While it was cool the remains of summer were still evident. There were stubborn flowers that refused to fade or blow away. There were skaters and joggers who ignored the dropping temperature. All around there were beautiful buildings full of interesting labs, maps, books and views.

Mundelein Center Loyola University

The Mundelein Center was one of those entrances from Devon Avenue that gave no hint to what awaited the explorer on the other side of the building. While the statue columns were impressive no one would confuse the entrance or the street for anything special and yet walk through the doors and you leave an unremarkable cityscape and enter a world of knowledge and a n exciting campus life. Now those are magic doors!

St. Ignatius at Library: Loyola University

Next to the chapel is the library. Now, to be honest the library consists of multiple buildings are that connected. They are of different architectural styles but they work together. One view is of the Quad and the opposite, the lake. If you get tired from reading in a tranquil setting just walk down the hall to the coffee shop. This is a wonderful library and when I was there is was active. Students were everywhere studying.

I spent time at DePaul University which is great and in a great part of the city. I spent time at Northwestern University which just goes on and one forever. However, Loyola, with its hidden enclave was unique. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.