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My Big Fat Poetry Reading

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FIVE MORE DAYS!  In five more days, on October 25, 2017, My Favorite Poem Project will happen.  Here's the line-up of readers.  The order is alphabetical according to the poet.

A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou, read by Dr. Dawn Poirier, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Dean College Caged Bird by Maya Angelou, read by students in Horace Mann’s sixth grade The Lanyard by Billy Collins, read by Franklin Library Director, Dr. Felicia Oti Poem 341 Hope Is A Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson, read by Horance Mann teacher, Noreen Langmeyer The Calf Path by Sam Foss, read by our Town Administrator, Jeff Nutting Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, read by Franklin Cable TV, Ken Norman
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, read by Jeffrey Roy our State Representative   Democracy by Langston Hughes, read by Horace Mann teacher, Joe Corey  
Go Down Death, by James Weldon Johnson, read by Senior Scribbler, Clarice Cargill Untitled—by Barbara Karmelin, read by S…

Flattery

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In Matt 22:15-21, I was reminded of an Aesop Fable I was reading to my granddaughter.  The scripture verse was The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.  They sent their disciples to him with the Horodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.  And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion, for you do not regard a person's status..."
    Knowing their malice, Jesus said, "why are you testing me, you hypocrites? ..."

The Pharisees flattered Jesus telling Him that they knew He was truthful.  But their flattery was obvious.  Jesus knows their hearts and called them hypocrites!

Aesop has a fable about a sly fox and a bird.  The bird had a big yummy cube of cheese in its beak.  The fox wanted it.  So the fox flattered the bird.  "I heard that you had the most beautiful voice in the forest."  The bird was a fool and fell for the flattery. …

Dying to be Beautiful

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A while ago, I received a gift.  It was the novel, Dying To Be Beautiful by M. Glenda Rosen.  It's been sitting in my kindle waiting for me to be sitting in a waiting room.  Finally, while waiting for a train, and while riding on the aforementioned train, and coming back, I read the book.  I liked it enough to finish reading it, at home. 

It seems Dying To Beautiful is the name of a mystery series.  The novel I read was "Fake Beauty." In this mystery, Jenna and her boyfriend, Troy, solve the murder of a designer found stuffed into his own creation--a dress that was too small for his fat body.  Then there's another murder.  Follow the money and you solve the crime.  But in so doing, you enter the fashionable world of the Hamptons and the glamorous people who live there.

This book and the series are the type of easy reads some people like to follow, one novel after another.  Hence, the Dying To Be Beautiful series is attractive.  In this particular book, I admit I didn…

De Porres Connection

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Today I was admiring a statue of St. Martin de Porres.  An acquaintance came over to me and told me the story of the statue.  Essentially, she rescued it from a yard.  The owner offered it to her and she snatched it up.  She had it repainted.


So I told her my story about a statue of St. Martin de Porres.  Once upon a time, I wasn't a Lay Dominican.  I don't think I even knew there was such an organization as the Order of Preachers, never mind that St. Martin de Porres was a famous member of the Order.

I was teaching in a parochial school.  I was team teaching with a religious sister.  I don't remember what religious order she belonged to.  That fact alone, tells you how ignorant I was of things religious.  Every day, my class and I prayed a rosary.  We used a statue of a "black Madonna" for inspiration.  One day, Sister and I were talking and I happened to mention the statue in my classroom of the "black Madonna."

"What black Madonna?"  Siste…

Nota Bene: This is Fiction

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It’s the 1980’s and we have a president with no political experience.  (Nota Bene: 1980) Winter Warning by Jerome Charyn is about a cop who becomes president.  The president’s advisors and even other world leaders are expecting him to fail.  There’s a lottery betting on his demise.  And I don’t mean his resigning from the presidency; I mean his being assassinated.  (Again, nota bene: this is 1980’s.)
I don’t know if there is a lottery in place for how long our current president, Donald Trump, will last, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were.  But that’s the end of the similarities between Isaac Sidel and Donald Trump,i.e., lack of experience and not expecting him to succeed.  Charyn’s Sidel is a president with a glock in his pants.  He was a cop, is still a cop, and always will be a cop, because he thinks like one.  It’s a good thing, too.  He can’t trust anyone and he has to be alert to deflect physical danger besides the dirty machinations of political maneuvering.
The story be…

Our Lady of the Rosary

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Mary the dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the gate, Christ the Heavenly Way!

Mary the root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!

Mary the wheat, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the stem, Christ the Rose blood-red!

Mary the font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the cup, Christ the Saving Blood!

Mary the temple, Christ the temple's Lord;
Mary the shrine, Christ the God adored!

Mary the beacon, Christ the Haven's Rest;
Mary the mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!

Mary the mother, Christ the mother's Son
By all things blest while endless ages run.
                                                          Amen.


Son of a Gun!

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Ha!  I have to laugh.  I'm working on My Favorite Poem Project.  Today, at Franklin Senior Expo, I was talking to my State Representative, Jeffrey Roy.  He's reading at the event.  He chose a Robert Frost poem to read, The Road Not Taken.  We were talking about poetry and Robert Frost.  He was telling me about a quote he had just seen at the Kennedy Library.  He took a picture of it.  I could see that it was a draft Kennedy had written to commemorate Robert Frost, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College.

At home, I googled, "Kennedy speech at a groundbreaking ceremony for Rober Frost Library at Am..." that's as far as I got because my computer blinked.  And on
my screen was just a large microphone.

It surprised me.  Here I was writing this long sentence, "Kennedy speech at groundbreaking ceremony for Robert Frost Library at Amherst College" and now I had to write it again.  Again!

Out of my mouth came, "SON …

The Nuthatch Trail

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The Trail Hikers went to the State Forest in Upton, MA, today.  We followed the Nuthatch Trail.  The first sight I saw was this sign.  And I stepped in horse poop!  I was wearing hiking boots and the tread on hiking boots isn't conducive to cleaning.  ugh.....

We walked 4.1 miles.  It was a beautiful Fall day.  The foliage didn't turn, yet, but there were plenty of interesting sights.  Mushrooms proliferated here and there.  Our leader, Joan, picked some to eat.  She looked for spongy, clean bottoms.  That kind is non-poisonous.

We also saw a snake swallowing a frog. 

That's hiking in the woods.  Horse poop and snakes!  But the weather was in the 70's, the walk was comfortable, the companionship interesting, and the exercise stimulating.

Stupid Questions

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Whoever said there's no such thing as a stupid question, must have never given a lecture and then asked for questions.

Ugh!  Today, the majority of the questions had nothing to do with the subject.

The rest made me think, "Weren't you listening? This was addressed!"

Then the last one made me hit my head with my book.  She just asked what was spent an hour explaining NOT to do.

Blasphemous But Theologically Correct

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Crazy thoughts for today.  Yesterday, I finished reading Stephen King's 11/22/63.  There was an expression in there that I never heard before, and I keep thinking about it.

A man and a woman made a bet on the outcome of a boxing match.  The favorite was heavily favored.  The woman bets against the favorite.  She won the bet.  The outcome was so impossible that the man profaned "Jesus wept!!!!!!!"

She exultantly responded, "And His disciples made blueberry pancakes with His tears.  And they tasted the best, ever!"

????????????  That's a new expression to me.

Using God's name in vain.  Certainly.  But the theology is correct.  Jesus' tears would make anything perfect.

Well?  They would, wouldn't they.

Stephen King is Too Good

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Once upon a time, I read a Stephen King novel.  Salem's Lot was about vampires.  I know vampires are ridiculous.  But still.  I remember being alone at night and deeply engrossed in the story.  When I looked up, it was dark.  I had to pull down the shades.  And I didn't want to look out the windows.  So I walked to each window, backwards, felt around behind me and pulled down the shades.  Then I went to my jewelry box and searched through my necklaces for a cross.  It couldn't be just a cross; it I specifically had to have a corpus on the cross.  Jesus protect me!

That night I couldn't sleep and swore I would never read another Stephen King book.

October's Book Club book is 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  Everyone assured me that there were no vampires in it.  That is true.  But the book kept me awake last night, again.  Now I'm walking around like a zombie vampire.

It's not scary, just too real.  It's about the assassination of President Kennedy.  I was in…

Please Check Back For Reopening Date

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How many books have we read?
     How many stories?
     How many genres?
     How many?  How many?

But there is never enough.
     No one says I'm quitting reading.
     Who says I'm fasting from books?
     That's it!  I'm giving reading up.

Surely that would be a horror story.
    Fiction macabre.  A tragic development.
    A bad dream--an awful nightmare.
    Like the library closed for a month?

And the greatest of these is Love

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St. Sophia married a non-Christian in the early days of Christianity. It was against the law to be Christian.  But her husband loved her and shielded and protected her.  He was wealthy and powerful.  They had three daughters: Faith, Hope, and Love.   Their father died.  Fortunately, Sophia was left with her husband's fortune and did not have to worry about money.  Faith, Hope, and Love were brought up as Christians.

The Emperor, Adrian heard about this family and summoned them to Rome.  Sophia knew why and what was going to happen to them.  She prepared her daughters. 

Once in Rome, they were questioned and found to be Christians.  The little girls were promised fame and fortune and their lives, if they renounced Jesus Christ.  They didn't and were martyred. They were tortured and beheaded in front of their mother, Sophia.  The mother buried her three daughters and she, herself, died soon after.

Love was the last to be martyred.  But that's not why Love is greatest.  It&#…

Ponkapoag

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The hiking group hiked around Blue Hills Reservation today.  It was long.  Some of it was across a bog and the trail was reduced to planks.  One of our members, concentrating on his footing went smack into a low branch.  The planks were wet, some covered with slippery moss, and rotten in various places.  Everyone had to focus on their footing.  That's what happened. John went smack into a branch that hung just about his forehead level.  He also fell back onto me.  And if that hadn't happened to him, it would have happened to me because I was right behind him. 

One interesting thing we came across, on this hike was a pitcher plant--a carnivorous plant that eats bugs.  See it is shaped to trap insects. Once inside, it closes and the liquid will digest the victim.

Do Stray Cats Purr?

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Here's the thing.  I like the Psalms.  I like to write psalms. I find that writing my own psalm about God is prayer--my most focused prayer.  However, I need a poem for my writer's group and a poem about God wouldn't be acceptable.

So I wrote a psalm about my cat.  I used the same literary form as Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man who does not walk
   in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way of sinners,
   nor sit in company with scoffers.
...

See how synonymous ideas are expressed, line after line, yet the original theme is developed.  You get the idea?   Well, here's my secular psalm:


Lucky is the cat who lives in my house
   in the bosom of my loving family,
in the warmth of a fireplace,
   or an air-conditioned, sunny room.

Rather than the stray who thinks he is free
  and though he may go here and there,
he will never choose to enter human embrace
   nor feel a gentle pat on the head
nor the stroke of a caressing hand
   nor the kiss of a child--or anyone.

  …

Franklin Cultural District: A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25

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Franklin Cultural District: A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25: The Franklin Senior Scribblers' Writers' Group is hosting A Favorite Poem Project . It is scheduled for October 25 at 10:00 AM at the Franklin Senior Center.  I'll post more as the date approches.

Heaven for Stutterers

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At retreat today, the retreat friar told us a poignant story.  The assignment was "What is heaven?"  Naturally, everyone had their own opinion.  There was one, however, that stood out.

One of the eighteen-year-old students stuttered very badly.  She said, "Heaven is a place where everyone stutters."

She explains that once a year she attends a conference for people who stutter.  She loves to go to this conference.  Everyone there stutters.  She feels very comfortable.  She is not alone.  She can relax and stop thinking about what others think of her.   She feels most at home there. It's heaven.

Indeed.

She's right.  Heaven is where we will feel the most comfortable.  We will be home.

Nothing is Impossible with God

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This is the first "interview" type of book, I've ever read.  I'm referre ing to God or Nothing, Robert Diat.  I liked it and when I think about it, I think I'd like any book that used an "interview".  Think about it.  Read the question, and if you don't care about the answer, skip it.  You only read the questions that interest you.
Cardinal Sarah, A Conversation on Faith with Nicolas

The book was written by Nicolas Diat.  The only information in the book about the author was this terse sentence, "Nicholas Diat is a French journalist and author."

The book was translated by Michael J. Miller and that's all the information that is given.  Imagine that!

Anyway, I learned a lot.  Cardinal Sarah is not the conservative right-wing nut the liberals make him out to be.  He's very reasonable and even when explaining difficult dogma, he's very kind and compassionate. His journey from a small village in Guinea to become a Cardinal in Rom…

Latest Update on My Favorite Poem Project

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There are now 18 readers, plus a Middle School Class reciting O Captain, My Captain!  I sent out 26 invitations and I got 20 responses.  Half of the six who didn't answer are politicians.  Politicians!  Do you believe it?  What kind of politicians don't respond to their constituents?  Why don't they just say "no."  What?  Are two choices, "yes or no" too many for you?

One is a state senator, another is a state representative, and last is the chairman of my Town Council.  Do you think I'm going to vote for them again?  Do you think anyone in my family is going to vote for them?  Do you think any of my friends are going to vote for them?

If they can't respond to an invitation, how can we trust them to respond to our needs?

Not Your Usual Prayers

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This article in Aleteia caught my eye.  It is talking about dangerous prayers.  The article's author, Elizabeth Scalia says that Flannery O'Connor once said, "my prayers take a line through Flannery O’ Connor: “Lord, I’ll never be a saint but I might be a martyr if they can kill me quickly!”

I'm even worse.  I will try to be a normal, ordinary saint, but please Lord, never a martyr. I'm such a coward.

The article's eye-grabbing headline is "Dangerous Prayers."  I won't be a spoiler.  Read the article to see what they are.

A Funny Thing Happened at Mass

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Welcome to the 7:30 AM Mass, Father.  
Little did this unsuspecting priest know about the first morning Mass on Sunday.  Because people are just waking up, or because there is no music and that throws people off, or because God wants us to pay attention, crazy things happen:

Lectors read the correct Sunday in Ordinary Time, but the wrong year.

Mass celebrants knock consecrated hosts off the altar.

The entrance procession goes the wrong way.

Acolytes don't show up, drop the chalice, can't get the tops of the cruets, have no water to wash away the priest's iniquities, etc.

Lectors don't show up.

People show up during the Liturgy of the Word.

The celebrant announces the wrong intention.

Do you get the idea?  This morning hit a new high/low.  Everything was fine until just after the Consecration.  Everyone heard a loud thump.  99% of the people wouldn't know what happened because they couldn't see what had happened.  But we lectors who are up on the sanctuary saw.…

On the Way to the Concert

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Some friends and I went on a pilgrimage of sorts to a John Michael Talbot concert.  First we lunched

Then we happily chatted as we traveled to a Poor Clare Monastery in Andover, MA

Onward to Saint Basil's Seminary in Methuen, MA. Our final destination, All Saint's church in Haverhill, MA, where the concert was held.



And lastly, John Michael Talbot, himself.  


100 Years

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Last night I went to Fatima Shrine in Holliston, MA for the celebration of the 13th.  The 13th is the
date, 100 years ago, that an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima, Portugal.  Mary appeared on the 13th of every month for about three months, except for the time the children were in jail.

The children never changed their story, even jail didn't deter their memories.

Here is a picture of Bishop Thomas Tobin from Providence, RI, diocese.  He was the Mass celebrant.  After the Mass, we processed reciting the rosary and singing and holding candles around the rosary rock formation.  It was quite impressive.

Beryl Markham

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Circling the Sun by Paula McLain had me fooled.  I thought it was fiction.  I didn't know that the main character, Beryl, was a real person until I finished and read the Author's Note, at the end of the story.

What a life!  Beryl's parents moved to Africa when she was a child.  She grew up there.  Beryl's mother left her and her father, for a lover.  Regardless, she had a happy childhood, albeit, unconventional.  Africa is off the grid.  Due to unfortunate circumstances, Beryl married while still a teen.  I don't think she had a choice.  Her father had to move and she was on her own.

That was disastrous.  Beryl goes on to marry others, although her heart really belonged to Denys Finch Hatton, but he was unavailable.  Beryl became a noted horse trainer and later an airplane pilot.

Her life was anything but quiet.  She was considered a loose women and scandal followed her everywhere.  There was nothing she could do to stop the gossip so she lived the way she wanted t…

A Good Thief

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This past weekend, some unauthorized person used my credit card.  How did he get it?  Dunno.

I only use this particular card to track certain expenses.  Vacation expenses are an example and this is the last time I used it.  That had to be when they got my number.

But I also got an e-receipt.  So as soon as I received that receipt and saw this unfamiliar charge, I called my bank and canceled my card.

I wonder if the thief purposely had the store send an e-receipt just so I would cancel it, and not be out of any money.  He knew that anyone would cancel their card when they saw someone was using it.  But they didn't care.  They had already received their stolen goods.  Only the store would be hurt.  Their goods were stolen.  But I wasn't hurt.

The Bell Tolls

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TheBell Tolls by R. Franklin James is a Hollis Morgan Mystery.  Hollis Morgan is a probate attorney who finds herself involved in criminal law.  What’s interesting and what shadows her, is that she is also an ex-con.  Flashes of her past are haunting.  Breath catching fears pop up unbidden.  But this adds interest to her research and current detective work.  The reader will find himself rooting for her and fearful of anything that would knock her down.
Hollis currently has the task of delivering packages that a client has requested to be delivered after his death.  Unfortunately, his demise was caused by murder.  Also, unfortunately, Hollis gradually realizes that these packages were proof that her client was engaging in blackmail.  Hollis’ deceased client has her returning the incriminating evidence to his victims, to let them off the hook.  Why?  Good question—keep it in mind, because being kind is out of character, for Hollis’ client. The bell really tolled because Hollis’ client w…

To Win Them Back

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To Win Them Back: As Ezekiel is appointed watchman over the house of Israel in today's first Reading, so Jesus in the Gospel today establishes His disciples as guardians of the new Israel of God, the Church.

Out of love, we correct people.  And we are not to do it in anger, or in any manner that would drive them further away from God.  Simply ask them to open their heart.  Give Faith a chance.

Read the rest of the article by Scott Hahn.

Prove That You Love Me

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Lectio:  Romans 13: 8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Studium:

These are specific examples of "love."  Love is an emotion that some find easy to profess and even easier to betray.  If you really love someone, your actions will prove it.  Doing the commands that Paul tells the Romans is how to prove to neighbors that you care about them.  Christians should be doing these things.  Love your neighbor and you fulfill God's law.
   Rabbi Hillel says, "What is hateful to you, not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is commentary on it. Go and learn."

Meditatio:

Morning Walk

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Either before daily morning Mass, or after, I've been walking.  This walking has a dual purpose: exercise and prayer.  I pray a rosary while I walk.  It takes about 15 minutes, which I consider perfect.  My favorite route for walking AND praying is a cemetery.

Walking through the cemetery focuses my praying because I pray for certain names on the grave stones.  Sometimes it's for all the oldest dates of death.  Sometimes it's for children.  Sometime's it's for stones so aged with mold and moss covering them that the engravings are illegible.

Today I came across a grave with the inscription above.  I know that's a popular saying to put on grave stones.  At least that what's I've always been told.  But I had never personally seen it.  As I read it this morning, it struck me in a humorously reflective way.  What kind of person would put such a verse to perpetually mark their last words?

Was the deceased angry?  Did he think it was funny?  Then again mayb…

Falsely Accused Priests

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We all know there are bad people and priests are people, too.  What some priests did was despicable.   But there are some priests who were falsely accused.  They are innocent.  And I know a few inmates in my ministry who are not priests and are innocent, too.  But it's the priests I want to focus on because the church gave out money to accusers which resulted in a flood of accusations.

A good article to read is one by a falsely accused priest, Father Gordon MacRae.  Because the main stream media usually doesn't publish religious articles, this piece is on Linkedin.  Please read it.  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/weapon-mass-destruction-catholic-priests-falsely-accused-macrae

Cardinal O'Malley urges president to keep DACA policy

Cardinal O'Malley urges president to keep DACA policy: BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley urged President Donald Trump not to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program amid reports that the president is considering doing so.



Not considering it.  He's done it.

Ravensbrück

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I've been on a hiatus down the Cape.  While there, I devoured the book, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.  I was engrossed.  The story is true; the details aren't, but they give you a taste of what Kelly wanted to convey--an important part of history.

The heroine was a real person, Caroline Ferriday.  She was a socialite who before WWII was trying to help French orphans.  Then war breaks out.  After the war, Caroline learns about the experiments the Nazis were doing on healthy Polish women and feels she must help them.

Parallel to Caroline's story is Kasia Kuzmerick.  She is one of the Polish women who were victims of the experiments.  Her story is riveting.

Also is the story of the doctor who did the experiments, Herta Oberheuser.  A Nazi who let her ambition drive her.

The story is about the three women.  Also, remember that after the war, Poland was annexed by Russia.  The poor women who were experimented upon weren't helped, at all.  Caroline Ferriday gets them t…