"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Dear Bishop Kemmme

“It is better that scandals arise than the truth be suppressed.”

~Gregory the Great, Homilies on Ezekiel

Dear faithful Catholics of The Diocese of Wichita, KS,

The list of priests recently released by Bishop Kemme is nothing but a smoke screen.  The priests named are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, guilty.  They are, as the Bishop points out, dead or retired.  What this means is that there are priests in active ministry within the Diocese of Wichita who have 'secret files.'  The priests with secret files may have failed psychological evaluations.  They may have a dozen complaints against them which were not accompanied by compelling evidence.  If your pastor has a secret file, you will not know until a victim with hard evidence comes forward.  In the meantime, your children are exposed to predators.  

Your Bishop cares far more about protecting the reputation of his Diocese and his priests than he does about protecting your children.  

Read what follows before you sign your kids up for Catholic schools or Totus Tuus summer programs in 2020.

August 9, 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing regarding a complaint of abuse I made against a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, and the manner in which this complaint was handled. 

In 1998 I caused myself to miscarry a pregnancy, and was raped by the father of the child while I was recovering from the self-induced abortion.  I sought the counsel and aid of a priest (Rev. XXX) of the Diocese of Wichita, who was also my philosophy teacher at the high school I attended (XXX, Wichita, KS).  The priest insisted that I break off ties with the young man immediately, but did not encourage me to share this information with anyone except himself.  He insisted that I had not been raped, or even date raped.  He insisted that I was at fault for having been a willing partner on plenty of occasions, and therefore I had no right to call one unwilling occasion a rape.  He didn’t want me to consider reporting this to anyone.

Over the course of 18 months, this priest created in me an extreme emotional dependency upon himself.  After several months of meeting me in secret, the priest attended a Project Rachel retreat as a chaplain.  When he returned from the retreat, he told me that he had gone on the retreat to experience his own healing.  He felt that he was the father of my child, and that he was my father.  He felt that he was truly my father, not just my spiritual father.  He had experienced the retreat as a parent, and told me of a vision of my child he had received.  He told me he had named the child.  He regularly talked to me about this, and about his relationship with this child.

From the very first time I spoke with him in the confessional, he insisted on sitting in such a way that our bodies were touching, and he often touched me with his hands, or held my hands against his face while we talked.  He kissed me passionately on at least 2 occasions.  He was verbally and psychologically abusive, especially on the occasions when I indicated a desire to discuss these matters with anyone other than himself.

This verbal abuse increased when I began dating another young man at the beginning of XXX.  I used this new relationship to wean myself away from this priest, and stopped meeting him completely by April of that year.  I graduated in May of XXX and left for college in July.  I attempted to commit suicide in September of XXX, but without any conscious connection to the abuse I had recently escaped.

In January of XXX, I began to have flashbacks to this period of time while attending a Virtus safe environment training in the Diocese of Wichita.  As a result, I felt compelled to share information with my pastor, who then helped me begin an official complaint with the Diocese of Wichita. 

The Bishop of Wichita at that time was Michael Jackels, and the Vicar General of the Diocese was Msgr. Robert Hemberger.  Despite the support of an entire committee of lay people, the diocesan victims assistance coordinator, and the diocese’ recommended psychologist, my complaint was not considered by the Bishop and the Vicar General to be credible.  The priest was never put on administrative leave.  He was not investigated or asked to submit to any form of psychological evaluation. 

The Vicar General shared with me that the priest had other less serious accusations against him, most of them from the following school year.  He shared with me that this priest had failed a psychological evaluation shortly after the timeframe of my complaint, which resulted in his being pulled from his teaching post and sent to a country parish.  He maintained that all this was only circumstantial evidence, that my story was just a story, that the burden of proof was all on me, and that he and the Bishop both suspected me of having an ulterior motive in making a formal complaint against this priest.  I asked him to tell me what ulterior motive I might have, but he refused to do so.  He also told me that if I chose to share any information with the press, that information about me could be leaked as well, and that he would not hesitate to destroy my reputation in the community. 

Despite the insistence on the part of the Vicar General and the Bishop that my complaint was not credible, the priest in question was forced to resign immediately from his role as Director of Totus Tuus- the now national youth catechetical program he himself had founded in 1987.  He was reassigned to an even smaller parish in a more rural area of the Diocese.  I objected verbally to the Vicar General that if my complaint was credible, it should be treated as credible, and if it was not, then any disciplinary action on the part of the Bishop was inappropriate.  This objection was never addressed by the Vicar General or the Bishop. 

The entire process was closed within 6 weeks of the initial complaint.  After the case had been closed, I submitted a statement recounting the events of XXX-XXX as best as I could recall them.  That statement is supposedly included in the file kept by the Diocese of Wichita regarding this complaint.  I freely admit that details here relayed may not agree with the details of that statement in some ways.  That original statement was written under great stress, in haste, before I had fully processed or even fully remembered all of the events that had transpired those XXX years ago.    

It continues to disturb me that the priest in question, Rev. XXX, was not objectively assessed, in any way, by any means, as a result of my complaint.  It continues to disturb me that the lay people in the Diocese of Wichita had a belief that these complaints would be handled according to established and published policy, and yet that policy was ignored.  It continues to disturb me that this priest has remained in good standing with the Diocese of Wichita, and that he has had uninterrupted access to young people in the community.  I am making another attempt to bring my concerns to light out of a concern for the young people of the Diocese of Wichita. 

(Jane Nihil)  

January 4, 2018

Bishop Carl A. Kemme
424 N. Broadway
Wichita, KS 67202

Dear Bishop Kemme,

First, I’d like to apologize for canceling our appointment of November 7.  I very much wanted to speak with you, but I needed some time to think through what, precisely, I wanted to communicate.

Hopefully you can understand, at least a little, what happened to me twenty years ago.  I was a young girl, isolated from my family, and I made a string of bad decisions.  I chose to go to a priest for help, to discuss things, because I was weighed down with shame.  I asked for counsel under the Seal of the Confessional because I was mortified at the thought of anyone finding out about the things I had done.  I wanted my secrets kept.  But the priest I chose took advantage of my isolation and my desire for secrecy.  When I told him I had been raped, he discouraged me from reporting this, because he said it was my fault.  He fantasized himself the father of my lost child.  He touched me and kissed me in the Confessional, as well as in his classroom where we frequently met alone.  I won’t rehash all the details, Bishop, since you have them already. 

I would like you to know that I was told parts of the contents of Fr. XXX’s personnel file.  I was told that after I graduated from XXX High School in XXX, enough complaints were made against him, about his words and actions in and out of the classroom that he was pulled from his teaching post.  I was told he was sent for a psych eval as a result of these complaints.  I was told the results of this evaluation included psychosexual immaturity.  I was told this caused him to be moved from XXX to XXX parish in XXX.  I was told he was allowed to remain director of Totus Tuus youth program despite the seriousness of these results.

I’ve been told “everything” has been handled as it ought to be.  Nevertheless, I cannot rest my conscience knowing someone else could be hurt in the future.  I cannot rest my conscience wondering if there are people, even one person, suffering in silence with wounds so deep that they feel inescapable and unhealable.  If there is even one person who might be inspired to seek help and healing, to share their story, I cannot rest my conscience.  There might be a person who has lived bound by shame and fear and a conviction that his or her story is worthless because he or she has no “proof.”  And if there is more than one, maybe there are four.  And if there are four, maybe there are a dozen.  And how many sad stories of abuse committed behind closed doors will it take before that body of information cannot be ignored?

Nine years ago I questioned Msgr. XXX, then Vicar General of the Diocese of Wichita, why my complaint against Fr. XXX resulted in his being moved from XXX to a smaller, more rural parish (St. XXX in XXX).  I asked the Vicar General why he was forced to retire from Totus Tuus.  Why, I asked, if my complaint wasn’t creditable, were these particular responses made?  Why was Fr. XXX never placed on administrative leave when the entire community has, and had, the expectation that such a leave was the very first thing that would happen when a complaint is made?  Even if no civil or canon laws were broken, the way my complaint was handled in 2009 was and is still a violation of the trust which members of this community have in their Church leaders- their bishops, priests, and laymen and women.

Strictly speaking, morally speaking, I have fulfilled my obligation.  I have given the information I have to the people responsible for doing something with said information… the people responsible for the safety of the members of the Body of Christ… to you, the Shepherd of the souls of the diocese where this priest ministers. 

These are the questions I feel I must ask.


Jane Nihil

Thursday, May 7, 2015


This post is for the moms over at DS who asked for it!

These soakers take all of 15 minutes to cut and sew if you are an experienced seamstress.  Or tailor.  Whatever.  And while knit wool soakers are really cute, hours and hours versus 15 minutes... laziness wins for me!  Also, I use preshrunk sweaters for these, so if dh accidentally tosses them in the washing machine, all is not lost.

In this post I am going to share the secrets I've learned for sewing these covers SUPER FAST, with the fewest tears, and broken needles. 
There is a great free pattern on the web (google Katrina Soaker pattern), but the above soakers are made from the Sweet Baby pattern by Wired Up Designs on hyenacart.com.  I'm not affiliated with Wired Up in any way, but I've tried at least two dozen free and bought patterns for wool diaper covers, and this is the only one I use anymore.
So, you'll need a wool sweater, a pattern, and a sewing machine:
Secret #1: Only use REALLY GOOD wool for these.  Most thrift stores charge the same for junky wool sweaters and name brand wool.  I am using a 100% Italian Merino cardigan for the first soaker here.  It is super-soft and pre-shrunk by somebody.  I machine washed and dried it prior to cutting to be sure it wasn't going to shrink any more.  It is still VERY thin, though fully felted, as many fine merino sweaters will be!
Secret #1.5: Be sure to SNIFF the sweater really well before you buy it.  If it smells very perfume-y or you get even a hint of mothballs- pass.  I don't care if it's Niemen Marcus.  You won't get that smell out.
Cut out your pieces.  I consider 2 full body pieces a must.  You can use 1 layer if your sweater is super-thick, and you can stitch a second layer only in the wet zone, but for a beginner, just go for 2 layers of a thin or medium-thickness sweater.  The cover will be bullet-proof and the finished product will look more polished than a wonky double-wetzone.
2 body layers, 1 waistband, 2 leg cuffs.
(Now, you CAN cut a waistband and leg cuffs from the body of your sweater.  If you do that, follow the pattern.  You will cut a double tall waist band and leg cuffs, fold in half,  and stitch the long edges to keep everything from shifting while sewing to the main soaker piece.)
Secret #2: If your sweater has a nice, ribbed waistband, as most sweaters do, use that for both the waistband and the leg cuffs.  See how stretchy it is?
Plus, a 1-layer cuff or waist is easier to sew on to the body of the soaker.  (Just don't discard the excess ribbing.  It is very useful for other upcycled projects.  You may find another sweater that doesn't have ribbing.)
Secret #3: Because your ribbing is so stretchy, cut it SHORTER than the pattern calls for, otherwise your waist and leg holes may gap.  Like so:
That pattern piece says "Sweetie Bums," but it is actually the Sweet Baby pattern.   

These leg cuffs actually came from the neck band of my sweater because the waistband was too short.  Do NOT attempt this unless you are pretty experienced with sewing stretch fabrics.  The stretch is diagonal on these pieces here, and it makes it sorta tricky.  If you are a beginner, just use a sweater with a long/ big enough waistband for both the waist and legs of your soaker!

The reason I like the angled leg cuffs is that the leg opening are larger, but the cuffs pull in nice and snug, and this gives the soaker an overall trimmer fit than most pull-on soakers in this style.
If your baby is already here, the only reason NOT to cut your waist and leg cuffs shorter is if your baby is incredibly chubby, and you can't find a diaper cover that doesn't squish her thigh and tummy rolls.  In which case, use your stretchy ribbing and cut the proper size!

***Now, if you are a beginner, you may want to sew both your main soaker pieces together so they don't shift while sewing on the legs and waist.  I don't ever do this because I am lazy.  Make sure both pieces are right side out, and stitch all the way around the outside edges of the pieces with a long straight stitch, gently (GENTLY) stretching the fabric as you sew.  This is generally what you do when sewing knits. 

After this, pull your soaker pieces on the edges to make sure your stitching is not too tight.  It shouldn't decrease the stretchiness of the fabric.  If you pull the edges, and find your stitching is stopping you from pulling, and if you stretch the fabric any further, you break the stitching...  STOP.  You need a longer stitch, OR you need to stretch the fabric more as you sew, OR your machine tension is too tight.  Do the first 2, and if things don't improve, you might need to take your machine where you bought it and ask them to show you how to loosen the tension just a bit.  I wouldn't rely on your manual or google for this.  It is tricky.***  (Now, if you really want to get this done, and your sweater only cost $1, and your baby is due to wake up in 20 minutes, just sew the whole thing with a medium zigzag stitch.  It will sidestep your  machine's tension issue, but the seams will wear out sooner.  That's why a cheap thrifted sweater is so nice.  No need for perfectionism!!!)

Sorry I have no pictures of the above, but like I said, I am too lazy to sew my main pieces together into 1 piece.  It does make the next steps easier, though.

(The rest of the steps use a 1/4" seam allowance.  Don't forget to secure your seams by backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam!)

Most, or all, soaker patterns will instruct you to sew the side seams of your main soaker (BUT DON'T), then sew the side seam of the leg cuffs, (BUT DON'T), and then "set-in" the cuff into the leg opening like you would a sleeve in an arm hole.  Lazy sewers will go to great lengths to avoid set-in sleeves because they are tricky and unpleasant. 

Here's what we'll do instead, which is Secret #4: Lay your main soaker pieces face up on your work surface and then pin your leg cuff along the leg opening, right sides together.  Sew like so:
Bad pic... but the three layers are going through the machine here.
 Don't forget to stretch your cuff to match the leg opening if you cut it short. 
And here's what it looks like from the right side:

Add the other cuff just the same way:
NOW sew ONE side seam, which includes the leg cuff and main soaker:
Instead, take your waist band, and pin it right sides together with your soaker.  Sew, remembering to stretch it to fit if you cut it shorter than the pattern:
OK, see how nicely it is coming together?  That step saves you from having to sew the waistband on like the cuffs, set-in.
Line up the second side seam: cuff, body, and waist band:
I pinned that just to show you... I usually would just go for it :).  (Also, ignore that seam across the butt of the soaker.  I had to piece the 2nd main soaker layer because my sweater was so small.)

 Isn't that pretty?
 This is the seam allowance of the last side seam... trim diagonally at the top (waistband).  This will ensure your seam allowance doesn't show from the front.  Sorry if that is confusing....
And here you see the angled leg cuff.  You don't need to trim the seam allowance because the angle of the cuff hides it:
On a soaker leg cuff that is cut straight, instead of angles, you'll want to trim the seam allowance here, too, to prevent it from peeking out while being worn.
 I do not finish my seams on the inside because they won't fray if the sweater is felted .  Also, when I have overlocked or zigzagged them on the edges, they get somewhat stiff and bulky.  And scratchy.  So I use really soft sweaters and leave them alone.  I think this is most comfy for babies.
Although this pic shows the waistband seam, and it is very obvious, it is much more subtle when it is on a baby.
And another soaker, 2 layers of a thick cashmere with the rest of the merino waistband:
You may be able to tell that I did not trim as much off the waistband here.  The waist doesn't pull in as much as on the soaker above.  It should still be enough to prevent gaps.
The pink cashmere sweater didn't have a stretchy ribbed waist.  It had a firm edging like this:
The cuffs were fine for the legs, but I wanted a stretchier waist.  So I used the leftover ribbing from the first sweater.  Waste not, want not!
Happy sewing.  Leave any questions in the comments and I will try to get to them asap.
"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?" ~Milton Berle

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September Cooking Class Recipes

Here are the recipes from this month's CHAO cooking class!  Kids can make these yummy, nutritious snacks with minimal adult supervision.  Always helpful for the busy homeschooling mom....

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies
 1 bag chocolate chips
1c peanut butter or almond butter
2c rolled oats
2/3c raw, unsweetened coconut shreds
optional, 1/4c sunflower seeds, chia seeds, or chopped walnuts

Line a plate or cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Place chocolate chips and nut butter in glass bowl.  Melt in microwave about 45 seconds, or in a pan of hot water on the stove.  When melted, stir thoroughly and add all other ingredients.  Drop onto parchment paper by the spoonful.  Freeze or refrigerate until set.  ENJOY!
Sneak licks at home... but not at cooking class!!!!!

Chia Gel Drink

2T chia seeds
1c juice
optional, 1/8t stevia extract powder

Place chia seeds in a bottle with tight-fitting lid.  Pour juice on top and cap.  Shake vigorously for 2 minutes.  Place in refrigerator till ready to drink.  Before drinking, give it a good shake to disperse the seeds evenly.  Add the stevia if your juice is too tart.

About chia seeds:
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds, smaller than millet and typically contain 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fiber, and significant levels of antioxidants. The oil from chia seeds contains a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acid - about 64%.  When soaked in water, they release a gel that is highly nutritious.  They do not need to be ground (or even chewed) in order for the omega-3's to be utilized by the body.

Ants on a Log 
Ivy made her own snack today!
1 bunch celery
1/2c peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter
1/4c raisins or cranberries

The ultimate easy-to-make kid snack!!!

Cut your celery into lengths and wash.  Spread with nut butter; top with raisins or cranberries.  Yum!

Coming in November: Banana Boats and Crazy-Pop Popcorn 
(No classes in October due to Archbishop's Mass and Luncheon) 
"Above all, the child must be well fed!" ~Charlotte Mason

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's Not Easy Being Green

"Be careful about reading health books.  You may die of a misprint."  
 ~Mark Twain

 Sometimes at night I lie awake and think about my blog- about how much I enjoy writing and how much I miss working on it.  But I'm a perfectionist.  I don't come back because I don't have time to post everyday, or to post lots of lavish photographs and amazing recipes.

Having my 4th child, going wheat-free on top of dairy-free, and moving 2 times in 1 year really KICKED MY BUTT.  I have to prioritize.  I can't attachment parent, night nurse, and make 90% of our food, plus homeschool and volunteer, AND record it all on an amazing blog.  No siree.  Superwoman has left the building.

But today I had an idea to get myself blogging again with a little regularity. 

I love food; I love organics; I love all things green.

But you know what I hate?  

Spending money on nifty 'green' or 'organic' items only to hate, hate, hate them.  I can only assume, dear reader, that you, too, lust and obsess over x item you LOVE and DESIRE, only once you possess it, you are disgusted no one told you X, Y, and Z.  And had you known said xyz, never would you have parted with your own "green" for it.

 It's the same line of reasoning that I go for when I read only the 1 and 2 star reviews when I'm shopping- anybody can "love" something, but I'd rather know what people hate and decide if I can live with the drawbacks.

So once or twice a week I'm going to review green things I hate.

Water bottles, supplements, organic baby items, cloth diapers, etc.

If it's green and I hate it, you're gonna hear about it.   

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing."  
~Redd Foxx

Monday, June 10, 2013

Soaked Muesli

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. "

No big deal.  It only took 3 hours of trial and failure on the bedtime routine to buy myself 30 minutes for a post here... compliments of
See the tear on her little cheek?

Anyway, sorry for the no-explanation-of-where-I've-been-for-six-months, but food is much more interesting than my 2013 has been, so here's the skinny on Soaked Muesli instead.

I've noticed the 'Refrigerator Oatmeal' trend in foodie cyberspace and I'm here to set the record straight: 

1) Eating raw grains for breakfast is called muesliNot oatmeal.

2) Rolled oats are not  raw.  They've been steam rolled. 

3) Refrigerating uncooked oatmeal is convenient and delicious but it could be so much *more* if folks would do it *right.*

Soaking grains for the neophyte healthy eater seems odd, daunting, and downright frustrating.  I know when I had freshly weaned my husband off white flour that the addition of soaking our whole grains was enough to make me hyperventilate so I just hit my mental *delete* button and went on with life.

 However, the concept and the 'why' behind it kept popping up every now and then.  Over the course of several years, I wrapped my mind around the why, then the how, and slowly incorporated soaking into my preparation of grains (and nuts), while refusing to let myself become a perfectionist or paranoid crazy person over it.

Enough for a couple breakfasts and snacks for us- but for my friend with 11 kids, this
countertop full of oats will be a single meal!!!
Long story short: soaking grains properly before cooking or consuming them raw makes them more digestible, increases their nutrition, and *may* prevent or mitigate allergic reactions, depending on the person.
Husband-friendly Muesli: add raw coconut sugar and mini chocolate chips, plus (shudder) a dash of organic half-and-half
To soak oatmeal is simple, since it is partly cooked.  But it must be done at room temperature.  Refrigerating the oats after mixing cuts short the process.  So *try* to make this up in the morning.  Then let it sit till bedtime and pop your jars or covered bowls in the fridge then. 
 Soaked Muesli
per serving:
1/2 c oats
1-2 t chia seeds (or ground flaxseed, or both)
1-2T almond flour (for protein, or sub any combo of nuts and other seeds)
1/2 sliced banana
1-2T raisins (or mini chocolate chips)
1/4t cinnamon (skip this if you go chocolate-y)
1T yogurt or water kefir
8- 12 oz. milk of your choice (I use half milk/ half water if I'm low)
1-2t extra sugar, if you must
ch-ch-ch-chia! (Remember?)
Place oats in bottom of a 16 oz jar or bowl.  (This makes a lot but we eat big breakfasts.)  Dump everything on top and stir with a chopstick.  If you need more milk, go ahead.  The ingredients really gel up, so make this pretty watery.  If you really want to increase the enzyme activity going on during the soak, you can warm up your milk/ water-and-milk before adding it.
Almond flour (just finely ground almonds): protein you don't need to chew!  Great for 3-year-olds.

Top with a lid and let sit at room temperature for about 12 hours.  Then refrigerate and enjoy cold on a hot summer morning.

You can technically let this sit out for 24 hours, but if the room is warm-ish, and you've added fruit or sugar, your muesli might get pretty sour and ZING-y.  I like to let it sit out during cold weather and then warm the muesli really gently before eating it.
 So, other than being delish, what's the best thing about Soaked Muesli?  It uses up extra kefir:
A jar of the home-made probiotic 'water kefir' that is taking over my life kitchen.
 I've been making water kefir, which is a non-dairy version of the liquid-y yogurt-y probiotic drink that more and more people are drinking and more and more regular stores are carrying.  Unfortunately, like yogurt, most of the kefir you get commercially is straight-up junk.  You can add small amounts to soaking grains to break down the phytase. 

More than you wanted to know:

Phytase is an anti-nutrient that is, traditionally, broken down before grains are consumed.  Before modern man invented commercial yeast, quick-cooking rice, and other strange things, grains could only be consumed after breaking them down, a la sourdough bread (for wheat) or traditional Mexican nixtamal (for corn) or traditional Middle Eastern salt-soaking (for rice). 

 Really picky foodies will probably balk at the way I soak rolled oats, but since rolled oats are not truly raw, it breaks down faster than most other grains (i.e. it does not need to soak a full 24 hours like rice or several days like wheat or spelt). 

I've heard internet rumors that you can do this muesli with steel-cut oats and simply increase both soaking times, but I probably won't try that till my rolled oats run out and I feel too cheap to replace them before using up my steel-cut.
Ridiculously delicious coconut kefir makes this recipe out-of-this-world scrumptious.
You can learn more about kefir and how to make it at www.culturesforlife.com, if your interest has been piqued.

And, to close, an unedited version of my 8 pm kitchen, to prove that I am absolutely no super-mom:

"Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty." 
~Sicilian Proverb

"But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end."
~William Shakespeare

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. "

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

"New Year's Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." 
 ~Mark Twain
                        "May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions." 
                                                                       ~Joey Adams

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
He who makes one is a fool.
~F.M. Knowles
                    “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."