In Memory of Karen Pope

With great sorrow we report that Karen Pope has passed away,  She went to her eternal home on October 29, 2018, leaving her family behind in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Please visit her obituary by linking here.

We will be honoring her at our next group meeting, November 12, 2018, starting at 6:30 pm.  Please see insert below.  God rest the soul of our beloved and dear friend Karen Pope.  We will greatly miss her, she was a true reflection of the loving light of our dear Father, Lord Jesus Christ.  May God Grant Karen Eternal Rest. Amen.


Support GroupNovember 12, 2018Lourdes Classical School6th Grade Classroom2298 S Logan St, Denver, CO 80210

Link to uber conference: Facing Our Immortality


St. Raphael Counseling

Hello all,

I had the pleasure of meeting with Jim Langley, Psy. D., of St. Raphael Counseling/Catholic Charities this past week.  I thought is was very important to establish a relationship with St. Raphael Counseling because, as you are probably very aware, oftentimes with cancer comes emotional/psychological distress.  This can be with patients or with caregivers/spouses/siblings and anyone who is otherwise affected by the arise of cancer.

Our ministry is directed towards the spiritual health of those affected by cancer but there is much crossover within the conversation. If you read my blog or had a chance to talk with me about my experiences since 2009 you would understand that I am a firm and ardent believer in the healing power of Christ and the love and grace He and our Blessed Mother, the angels and saints, and the Holy Spirit give us.  You would also learn I am also an ardent supporter of psychological counseling, especially when it comes to cancer.

Cancer is a family illness, for all of us, and my experience was and is no exception.  Real problems can arise, not due to intentional ill will or lack of love, but because our new circumstance create an unavoidable need for some form of change.  Change is difficult for everyone, and especially if the patient needs more help.  Many times families, friends and patients are able to adjust to the “new normal” with minor bumps along the way.  That is not the case for everyone, especially when someone is called home to our Heavenly Father.

We as patients experience so many losses, financial, job, purpose, hobbies, etc.  The manner in which we go through our daily lives, for no matter how long we are blessed with living in this beautiful world of God’s creation, needs adjustment.  Having the opportunity to speak with a psychologist to address specific issues can be invaluable.

I have had psychological counseling off and on, even prior to my cancer diagnosis, due to depression.  I am an avid supporter of psychological services and would love it if the medical oncology community would include psychological screening and treatment as part of their standard treatment protocol.  I know I am not alone in this view.

Here is a link to St. Raphael Counseling https://www.straphaelcounseling.com/.  I find this providential because my confirmation name is Raphael.  Here is a link about St. Raphael, whose feast day is September 29th.

It is my hope, our hope, that with the ongoing monthly support group and intermittent specialty retreats offered by Facing Our Immortality, that we can be not only a means of connecting and renewing our spiritual connection with the Holy Trinity, but also be able to properly refer out into the community for your special needs.

Please don’t forget about the upcoming Men’s Retreat at Mother Cabrini Shrine, we still have openings for patients and non-patients alike.  Maybe there is someone in your like who is in need of this unique retreat.

We will be having our monthly support group on October 8th at Our Lady of Lourdes, starting at 6:30 pm. Please contact me if you will want to participate, either in person or remotely.

Please open this additional link for a beautiful video, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael (Sept. 29. Feast of the Archangels)

Queen of Peace, pray for us.


Denise Archuleta



Men’s Cancer Retreat Reminder


Announcing Our Cancer Ministry Support Group and Men’s Cancer Retreat

We are starting our monthly Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry Support Groups on August 13, 2018.

They will occur each month, on the second Monday of the month, for now.  We have been doing quite a bit of planning to ensure that this is a safe and loving environment for people who have been affected by cancer.  We are open to patients, survivors, caregivers, spouses and surviving spouses.  Sr. Anne Marie has created a lovely workbook that walks us through prayer and spiritual exercise that brings us closer to God.  It is in facing our immortality that we release ourselves of our fears.

Location: Our Lady Of Lourdes Classic School 6th grade classroom,                                2256 S. Logan St. –Denver, CO  80210
Time: 6:30 pm for 60-90 minutes.  Please call Denise to RSVP at 206-779-0691
Here is the link to the support group Facebook page

Please join our Men’s Cancer Retreat October 5-7, 2018 at Mother Cabrini Shrine.

“Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while…” Mk.  6:31.  Jesus spoke these words to his disciples and He speaks these words into the lives of those, who in the midst of serving what can seem like overwhelming needs, have no time for their own rest, meals, quiet, prayer. Jesus promises to restore our strength, and renew us in His love, if we come to Him. “Come to Me all you who labor and I will give you rest.”  

The Facing Our Immortality Men’s Cancer Retreat, Oct 5-7, 2018, is designed especially for men with cancer, those who are cancer survivors, caregivers and surviving spouses. If you are feeling the need for spiritual strengthening and refreshment, please see below:

This is a special time for men to gather and be in communion with one another around the effects of cancer. The retreat will focus on suffering (specific to cancer), your relationship with the Lord and understanding God’s plan in the midst of suffering. You will gain a better understanding of the relationship between you, our Blessed Mother and Jesus in seeking spiritual relief from this experience. We will offer the sacraments of reconciliation, anointing of the sick and mass, as well as ongoing prayer to enrich your ability to listen to the Holy Spirit. It is a time to ask God questions and find a way back to peace in the midst your circumstances.


  • CHECK-IN from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • DINNER is at 5:00 pm
  • FIRST SESSION begins at 6:30 pm


  • RETREAT CONCLUDES at 3:30 pm

Please complete this registration form to attend: Men’s Cancer Retreat Registration Form.

For more information you can also link to our Men’s Cancer Retreat Facebook Event Page.

Special note: due to the limited space, we will require payment in advance.  Thank you for your understanding.

Peace and God Bless you!

Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry


“What Happened When 9 Women Joined Together To Look Immortality In The Face?” article by Grace Stark, Aleteia

Article by Aleteia writer Grace Stark: What happened when 9 women joined together to look immortality in the face

“A Catholic retreat in Colorado is helping women healing from cancer a chance to reflect on the deeper realities of life and death.”

We were privileged to receive the attention of Grace Stark, writer with Aleteia Magazine, an inspiring Catholic journal that covers news, culture, spirituality and the Catholic lifestyle.  Grace had contacted us prior to the retreat but we did not want to alter the experience for the retreatants in any way by telling them that someone may want to interview them about the retreat.  It was our first major retreat in Colorado and it was important that the experiences be pure.

After the retreat Grace provided us with a survey, which was sent to the retreatants.  Grace took time to interview Sr. Anne Marie Walsh and I about the retreat and from the surveys and interviews, Grace has put together an inspiring story about what we all encountered in Christ at Mother Cabrini Shrine.

Please take a moment to read her article about our retreat.  We are currently scheduling the next retreat for men and firming up the local cancer support group in Denver, Colorado.  Peace and Blessings to you all.

Denise Archuleta










In Memory of Sr. Lucina

Sister Maria Lucina (Melinda Shellenbarger) – January 17, 1957 – June 23, 2018

Eulogy Sr. Lucina by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

On behalf of Sr Marie Hesed, Sr. Mary Bethany and myself, and all the Sisters of Our Lady, I would first of all like to thank the Most Holy Trinity and Our Lady for the privilege of accompanying Sr. Maria Lucina in these last months of her life. None of us, including Sr Lucina, knew that when she came to us in September. But coming here to Iowa was a part of God’s plan for her at the end of her life.

I want also to thank the wonderful priests here who attended Sister especially in her last days. Fr. Kevin, Fr. Broderson, Fr. Schneider. (came immediately…Fr. Broderson…)     Dr. Tina…

Every person’s life tells a story and Sister’s life was no exception. Sister’s life was part drama, part mystery, part unfolding plan or dream of God in her life…but all gift of God’s love.  She knew that her life was part of the greater story of Jesus’s life, which revolved entirely around the love of the Father, and the drama of salvation and restoring us in our relationship with the Father so that we could be one family of our Father.

Shortly before she died Sr. Lucina one night said that all she’s ever really wanted is to be loved and to love.  You may think that sounds like a needy thing to say. However, if you are in touch with the deepest desires of your heart, as she was, that’s what you come to discover: Pope St. JPII says we cannot even know ourselves unless love is revealed to us from the outside. We need to experience love or we remain a mystery to ourselves. And once we do, then we’re able to go outside ourselves and love others in the same way. Sister certainly knew great love from her family…she had such deep love for her Mom, Dad her sister and brothers. I’ll never forget how she lit up when her brothers arrived at two in the morning… The night she was waiting for her brothers to arrive, Sister suddenly sat up and reached out in awe.  I asked her what she was seeing.  She said:  “angels!  They are so beautiful!” I said we wished we could see them too but to ask those angels to get her family here first.  And they did.  And then I reminded Sister that soon she would see pure beauty face-to-face.

Sister had this experience of love in a very special with Lindsay. Nothing more powerful than the mother-child bond. Extremely moving.

She had this love from Fr. Pinto and the DJMs. She had it in her SOLT communities and especially with the Sisters she went through formation with… And she had it in a special way here in Iowa.  Iowa was very healing to her. She said several times as she was getting closer: I’ve never been in a community like this before. They so quickly take you to themselves and just love you. And when she said she wanted to be buried where she would be remembered and prayed for, we knew Willey was the place for that. Sister was very happy at the thought of being here.

Something Pope Francis says reminds me very much of Sister: “Jesus became man so that man, made inwardly deaf and dumb by sin, would become able to hear the voice of God, the voice of love speaking to his heart, and so he would learn to speak in the language of love, to communicate with God and with others”.  

That was a life work of Sister’s.  Looking for and living out of God’s love and being able to communicate that to others.  It wasn’t always easy for her to do this. Most of us can say the same.  But she knew ultimately our lives are about love. In the evening of life we will be judged on love, says St. John of the Cross.  

Initially the treatments seemed to really work.  Her numbers plummeted by 600 points and she felt we were headed in the right direction.  But then complications set in to such a degree that Sister wasn’t able to get any traction and her numbers remained the same while some of her symptoms got much worse.

Because I knew Sister at a spiritual level I suspected something else might be happening and so I asked her if she had ever made an offering of herself for someone specifically.  In religious life we all make an offering of our lives when we profess vows.  We give ourselves to Christ and His Church in a complete self-offering of love.  And Jesus then has complete freedom to do with us what He wants, which is always good and always from love. 

But sometimes people also feel inspired to make an offering of themselves for someone or something specific.  Out of Love.  Because they are coming to love as Jesus loves.  I asked Sister if she had done this.  At first she said no, and then she said, “ yes, I have.”

Sr. Lucina said that she had re-offered her life very specifically in sacrifice to God because she had had a full life. When making this new offering with specific people in mind especially that she loved, she didn’t know how God would use it. Would He simply ask her fight the battle of disease and then He would heal her or would He want her to lay down her life completely as Jesus did for us, knowing her suffering and death in union with Him would produce eternal fruits especially in the lives of those she loved.

In the meantime, she fought, all the while believing in what she was doing.  But once she realized that God was not going to heal her, she surrendered to that in order to comply with His will.  Sister was aware that there had always been only 3 possible outcomes:  God would heal her through conventional and/or alternative means.  He would heal her miraculously.  Or He would take her home to Himself.  

In all three instances she would win.  And she knew ultimately that the third instance was the best.  Because no matter what healing we get here, it’s always temporary.  Lazarus had to die again as did the little girl and the widow’s son whom Jesus raised from the dead so that they could be fitted for the final healing at the end of the world with a resurrected body like Christ’s body in Resurrection.  We both used to make jokes about holding out for the glorified body, especially when going through illness and the effects of aging.

In the end, Sister came to the fullness of a kind of love which made her like Jesus, when she made the offering of her life for one she loved.  Her last week went fast.  It almost seemed unreal. She went into the hospital on Monday, with the news that her treatment was no longer working and the cancer was gaining ground quickly.  By Saturday, after waiting for her daughter, and the rest of her family to arrive, she was ready to go home.  As we chanted morning prayer from the common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she went home with Our Lady during the chanting of her favorite psalm:  117 which is also her birthdate and which God used many times in her life when making important discernments.  

Many things in Sister’s life are a mystery, and were to Sister herself. But in the light of eternity everything will be revealed. The drama of Faith, that was played out in Sister’s life will be recorded in the Book of Life and with those of all other faithful souls, will be read in heaven over and over again to the delight of its citizens. Everyone has an important part to play in the grand story that ends in the triumphant victories of Christ and the communion of God with man for all eternity. Sister has played her role out in time. We count on her continuing now to help us from heaven.

We love her and we’re going to miss her but she is home now in the arms of the greatest love and the real love she sought throughout her lifeWe thank God for the gift of her life and for her witness to the kind of self-sacrificing love that made her like Jesus in the end.



Joyful Hearts By Retreat’s Closing

This is the group of wonderful women who participated in this weekend’s Facing Our Immortality Retreat in Golden, CO. It was a retreat for women with cancer and was really incredible. These women are amazing. Many of them are dealing with 4th stage cancers but they have such strength and endurance and faith, and on this particular retreat, were given a special gift of joy after Fr. Joseph Tran came to hear Confessions and do the Anointing of the Sick. Fr. is pure joy himself as you can see in the picture. Sr. Hesed also participated with us in her first retreat of this type and was wonderful as well. The retreat is really powerful on so many different levels. We are hoping to get more response here in Iowa as there is nothing on this level offered anywhere else.  Watch for an article in Aleteia on this particular retreat coming up soon.