12 Thursday, April 16, 2009
Monks use cream to raise funds By Stephanie Reitz The Associated Press
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A few years ago, members of the Teresian Carmelites monastery had nearly run out of ways to raise money for their charitable work. Hopes of getting permission from Trappist monks in Belgium to produce the Trappists’ beer in central Massachusetts were on hold. Another idea to erect windmills to generate and sell power had stalled. Donations were the only income that kept the operation running on bare bones, but they weren’t enough to fund the members’ mission of helping poor people in the region. Their future was so bleak that last summer, the Worcester Diocese withdrew official Roman Catholic recognition of the community, saying it was too small to sustain itself and showed little potential to grow. For a group whose members pray up to six hours daily, the worries prompted a lot of extra supplication. That’s when one of what Brother Dennis Wyrzykowski calls a “God-incidence” connected them with a local scientist, whose work included patented research into a compound in the human heart that has been found to also fight wrinkles. With the scientist’s blessing, the religious community recently
STEVEN SENNE | AP PHOTO
MONK CREAM: After several failed attempts to create new fundraising opportunities, members of the Teresian Carmelies monestary are selling a newly created wrinkle cream.
started selling a high-end skin cream online based on the compound. Its three consecrated members and approximately 30 lay members hope it’s the answer to their prayers — not just to keep the community afloat financially, but to prove its viability to the diocese and fund programs for homeless and disadvantaged people throughout the region.
Texas elementary school cited for noise violation SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A fedup Texas homeowner has gotten a noise citation issued against his neighbor — an elementary school. Police in suburban Universal City say they had to issue the citation after Butch Armstrong complained about the noise coming from Olympia Elementary School during the school’s Family Fitness Day on March 20. Principal Terri LeBleu says the school had already built a fence,
removed loudspeakers and installed noise-reducing backing on basketball goals in response to Armstrong’s previous complaints. According to a police report, Armstrong told an officer that “police, fire, ambulances and the (Air Force) training jets are not unreasonable, but the noise coming from the elementary school was.” A court date for the citation has been set for May 12.
“My first thought was, ‘What are people going to think about nuns and monks making cream for your face?’” said Sister Nancy Connors. “But it’s a good product, I use it every day and I believe it will help people.” The $65-per-tube face cream, called Easeamine, is a far cry from the more traditional offerings that some monasteries sell, such as homemade jam and cheeses.
After the Carmelites pay off their launch costs, the profits will be used for grants to Worcesterarea agencies serving poor and homeless people, and to support the tiny religious community — which has existed on donations since it was founded in 1971. “I did worry initially about offering a so-called beauty product, but monks and nuns have always had a long tradition of making health care products and food products,” said Brother Solomon Balban, one of two consecrated monks in the independent religious community who live at the monastery in the Worcester suburb of Millbury. A Massachusetts company produced the first 800 tubes and, once those are sold, an out-ofstate producer of cosmetic products will take over production. The startup costs, which the monks did not disclose, came from investments and donations of money and in-kind work from supporters of the religious community. They needs to sell about 32,000 tubes to break even, said Brother Dennis. “Right now, it’s all been word of mouth. We don’t have the revenue to do anything more than that in terms of advertising,” he said. Easeamine, and the Carmelites’ path toward selling it, started in an unlikely place: a lab at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where Dr. James Dobson Jr. has spent years studying a biological substance known as adenosine.
BECKY SHINK | AP PHOTO
ONE-IN-10,000: An expert said the chances of a Suffolk-mix ewe having a multiple litter is one in 10,000. The farmer who owns the ewe thought she only had twins.
Ewe gives rare birth to quintuplet babies VEVAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan farmer whose ewe gave birth to twins found himself carefully counting sheep when he later discovered three more lambs. The Lansing State Journal reported Tuesday that one of Paul Oesterle’s Suffolk-mix ewes gave birth to quintuplets last week. Michigan State University sheep expert
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Guardian Angels founder gives tour of New York’s ‘Underbelly’ NEW YORK (AP) — Forget dinner and a Broadway show. Tourists can now get a look at New York City’s criminal underbelly, thanks to Curtis Sliwa (SLEE’-wuh). The Guardian Angels founder has launched a three-hour “Underbelly Tour” of the South Bronx that talks about the roughand-tumble 1970s and lingering crime problems. Tour highlights could include drug houses, money-laundering fronts and
“chop shops” that break down stolen cars. Guests are transported on the No. 4 train, once known as the Mugger’s Express. Sliwa is now a radio host. He concedes that the area has improved dramatically. But he tells the Daily News that visitors can still “get a flavor of what it was like.” The tour price is negotiable. Proceeds support the Guardian Angels crime-prevention network.
Alan Culham says the chance of that breed bearing the multiple litter is one in 10,000. Oesterle, whose farm is southeast of Lansing, says he thought the ewe had given birth to twins but he found three more lambs when he checked the next day. Oesterle says the ewe can’t produce enough for all five babies so he has to help feed them every six hours.
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