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Clean Sweep View Comments
By Charity Vogel

Lake Erie has no better friend than Sharen Trembath. Each year this environmental dynamo
assembles hundreds of volunteers to clean the beaches she loves.
FOR SHAREN TREMBATH, the revelation came one Easter Sunday.

As was their usual custom, the Trembath family— Sharen, her husband, Jim, and their three children, Jenna, Jim Jr., and Jeff—were taking a walk down the sandy beach of Lake Erie near their home in Angola, New York.

Sharen spotted it first: a dialysis bag. A trained medical assistant, the then- 40-year-old mom knew what she was seeing bobbing in the rippling waves that brushed the pebbly shoreline.

Seeing medical waste on the beach bothered Sharen. But what frustrated her even more was the fact that the bag was not the first one she had seen in walks with her kids along Lake Erie.

“I had already found 19 bags. The 20th was the one that pushed me over the edge,” recalls Sharen, now 66, her blue-green eyes alive at the memory.

“All the tubes were there on that bag—everything. And I was mad. I kicked the bag into the water. My son said, ‘Mom, what are you doing?’ I said, ‘Nobody cares.’ And he said, ‘We do.’”

That moment, in the spring of 1985, changed Sharen’s life. It certainly changed her community in upstate New York. It also changed the health and cleanliness of this corner of the Great Lakes region.

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Charity Vogel, PhD, is a writer who lives with her husband and family near Buffalo, New York. Email her at cavogel@buffalo.edu.

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Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions: Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
<p>Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. </p><p>The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. </p><p>Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. </p><p>Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. </p><p>The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. </p><p>By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. </p><p>During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.</p> American Catholic Blog To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have 
successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.

 
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