|Carrie Swearingen, journalist, wife, mother|
I ended up working as a marketing director at the YMCA for seven years, and had been asked regularly to write for local publications. Somewhere during that stint, I ended up on a mission trip to Medjugorje––a village located smack dab between Sarajevo and Mostar. It was 1994, at the height of the war in Bosnia. There I met a captivating Franciscan priest, Fr. Jozo Zovko, and I was asked to write a feature story about him for a U.S. magazine a year later. He must have liked the article, once translated. Months after the article ran I received a fax at my office, asking if I would fly to Bosnia-Herzegovina to speak with him. I flew over in October of 1995, and I was surprised to learn that he wanted me to write a book for him.
In 1998 I left the Y and accepted the position of Director of Communications for Catholic Extension, the organization that funds Catholic missionary work in the U.S. and its territories. I was diagnosed with breast cancer my first day on the job. It all seemed very surreal. Monsignor Ken Velo, well known as the homilist at Cardinal Berardin’s funeral mass, was president of CE at the time. I assured him that he was under no obligation to keep me on and that I didn’t want to hold up his marketing efforts. The next day, my house was filled with flowers and Velo’s message was clear. I was going nowhere. I loved my years there. Aside from a radio show, ads and the usual marketing agenda, I began traveling the country and telling stories––of a missionary who drives a 40-foot Winnebago up and down the Appalachian Mountains while bringing medical care to the poor, of priests who fly single-engine Cesnas into remote Alaskan islands to bring Mass to isolated Catholics, or of a Minnesota couple that had fostered over 400 special needs children and adopted six of them. Those stories were changing my life, and editors wanted to hear more. I realized how often I was being asked to write for newspapers, magazines and news services. That’s when I finally realized that I was a journalist, not only a marketing professional.
|Marie Wilkinson, Civil Rights Leader|
Q: What is the best part, to you, about being a journalist? The worst?
I’d like to pitch it to another agent, but the book has been “shelved” as they say. I was hit with cancer again in November of 2009, opted for radical surgery, and thought I had beat it. This past December we discovered that the cancer has now spread to my spine, ribs, and liver. I had surgery two weeks ago, will begin taking Arimidex next week, and chemo will likely start in eight weeks. Doctors are moving in stages so that they can see what will slow this down. It’s stage four, so I appreciate any prayers you and your readers can send my way. My children need me. So, yes, the dream of finding a home for “Lucy’s Light” is still alive, but right now I’m simply concerned with staying alive.