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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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Michael Giedroyc: A life of physical pain and mental torment didn’t prevent Michael Giedroyc from achieving holiness. 
<p>Born near Vilnius, Lithuania, Michael suffered from physical and permanent handicaps from birth. He was a dwarf who had the use of only one foot. Because of his delicate physical condition, his formal education was frequently interrupted. But over time, Michael showed special skills at metalwork. Working with bronze and silver, he created sacred vessels, including chalices.</p><p>He traveled to Kraków, Poland, where he joined the Augustinians. He received permission to live the life of a hermit in a cell adjoining the monastery. There Michael spent his days in prayer, fasted and abstained from all meat and lived to an old age. Though he knew the meaning of suffering throughout his years, his rich spiritual life brought him consolation. Michael’s long life ended in 1485 in Kraków.</p><p>Five hundred years later, Pope John Paul II visited the city and spoke to the faculty of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. The 15th century in Kraków, the pope said, was “the century of saints.” Among those he cited was Blessed Michael Giedroyc.</p> American Catholic Blog The French novelist Leon Bloy once said that there is only one tragedy in life: not to be a saint. It may be that God permits some suffering as the only way to wake someone from a dream of self-sufficiency and illusory happiness.

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