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Sister Helen's journey, like all of ours, is a journey of gradual changes, unexpected encounters, and uncomfortable beginnings. There is no singular point of decision in the Christian life. Rather, there is a constant need for ongoing conversion, growth, and change guided by the Holy Spirit. Oftentimes, we are completely oblivious to how the Spirit is at work in real time, but we can train ourselves to be more attentive to the Spirit's promptings. Our humanness is not the enemy, but the condition of discipleship. Some of the most moving parts of the book are Sister Helen's reflections on deep personal relationships, including a close friendship with another sister in her community and a complicated friendship with a diocesan priest.

Drawing on journal entries and her own remembrances, Sister Helen reflects on the importance of what it means to be someone capable of loving and able to receive love. Human relationships and the emotions that come with them are, at times, messy and confusing. Yet, risking the messiness and confusion is part of what it means to be authentically human. It's not just the individuals we are closest to — family, friends, community members — who bring out the messiness and complications of our humanity. The institutions we belong to and the contexts in which we find ourselves also bear witness to the complexity of life.

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One of the striking observations that come through is how so many people especially religious people try to run from their inescapable humanness. Sister Helen was initially formed in a kind of community life that adopted a mindset of fuga mundi "fleeing the world" common in pre-conciliar religious congregations. The idea was that true holiness is found in those moments, places and ideas that focus on the spirit and not the body, the divine and not the world; anything not religious ought to be abandoned. Such strict thinking, while understandably appealing at times, nevertheless rejects the very locus of God's deepest encounter with us in the Incarnation, which announces that our humanness in all its messiness is precisely the place we encounter the divine.

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Sister Helen quotes Irenaeus of Lyons at one point, rightly stating that: "the glory of God is the human person fully alive. Christian discipleship requires a life of prayer. As Sister Helen's faith journey makes plain, you cannot fulfill your call as a follower of Christ to announce the reign of God by word and deed without prayer. This is perhaps the most important takeaway for me — this reminder that we must be people of prayer if we are to work for justice in our world. At a time when we are constantly reminded of the local and global injustices around us, many people are energized to do something.

As Christians, we should — we must — do something, but if it's not grounded in a practice of prayer, we will likely fall prey to our own wills and not that of God. Sister Helen reminds us of this, not just by her words, but also by her actions. In addition to her tireless social justice work and advocacy, I am grateful for her personal witness to ongoing conversion, openness about her own humanness, and commitment to a life of prayer.

I'm especially thankful for the wisdom that flows through the River of Fire and Sister Helen's invitation that we join her for the ride. Horan is a Franciscan friar and assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor.

Learn more here. Join now. Column Faith Seeking Understanding. Helen Prejean's 'River of Fire' a wellspring of wisdom for all Christians. Aug 21, CNS-Prejean c. Helen Prejean, a Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille, who has worked in prison ministry and against the death penalty for decades, is pictured in St.

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Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. River of Fire cover. Related: Helen Prejean sways hearts with the power of stories. Join the Conversation Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. Email address. Column Sr.

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Archbishop Gomez elected U. Bespoke silk robes await Pope Francis on Thailand visit Nov 12, Traditional Latin Mass best expresses the reality of Christ's sacrifice Nov 12, Teen girl says her Catholic high school disciplined her for being gay Nov 12, Don't join devil's game of jealously, pope says at Mass Nov 12, The velocity is negligible, and sludge accumulates on the bottom. Animal life does not exist. Only the algae Oscillatoria grows along the piers above the water line. The color changes from gray-brown to rusty brown as the river proceeds downstream.

Transparency is less than 0.

River Of Fire The River Series Volume 3

This entire reach is grossly polluted. At least 13 fires have been reported on the Cuyahoga River, the first occurring in However, the incident did soon garner the attention of Time magazine, which used a dramatic photo of an even larger blaze [20] in an article on the pollution of America's waterways. The article described the Cuyahoga as the river that "oozes rather than flows" and in which a person "does not drown but decays" [21] and listed other badly-polluted rivers across the nation.

The article launched Time' s new "Environment" section, and gained wide readership not only on its own merit, but because the same issue featured coverage of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the moon the previous week in the Apollo 11 mission, and had Senator Ted Kennedy on the cover for a story on the Chappaquiddick incident in which Kennedy's automobile passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne , had drowned. Mayor Stokes gave Congressional testimony on his and other major big cities' struggles with polluting industries to restore the environmental health of their communities. In December a federal grand jury investigation led by U.

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Attorney Robert Jones began, of water pollution allegedly being caused by about 12 companies in northeastern Ohio; it was the first grand jury investigation of water pollution in the area. Mitchell, gave a Press Conference December 18, referencing new pollution control litigation, with particular reference to work with the new Environmental Protection Agency, and announcing the filing of a law suit that morning against the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation for discharging substantial quantities of cyanide into the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland.

Water quality has improved and, partially in recognition of this improvement, the Cuyahoga was designated one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in The most polluted portions of the river now [ when? The reasons for not meeting standards near the dam pools are habitat and fish passage issues rather than water quality. River reaches that were once devoid of fish now support 44 species. The most recent survey in [ needs update? Habitat issues within the 5. Recreation water quality standards using bacteria as indicators are generally met during dry weather conditions, but are often exceeded during significant rains due to nonpoint sources and combined sewer overflows.

The lower Cuyahoga River has been subjected to numerous changes.

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Originally, the Cuyahoga river met Lake Erie approximately 4, feet 1. The current mouth is man-made, and it lies just west of present-day downtown Cleveland , which allows shipping traffic to flow freely between the river and the lake. Additionally, the U. Army Corps of Engineers periodically dredges the navigation channel of the otherwise shallow river to a depth of 27 feet 8. The Corps of Engineers has also straightened river banks and widened turning basins in the Federal Navigation Channel on the lower Cuyahoga River to facilitate maritime operations.

The United States Coast Guard sometimes conducts fall and spring ice-breaking operations along Lake Erie and the lower Cuyahoga River to prolong the Great Lakes shipping season, depending on shipping schedules and weather conditions. Some attempts including dams and dredging have been made to control flooding along the Cuyahoga River basin. As a result of speculative land development , buildings have been erected on many flat areas that are only a few feet above normal river levels. Sudden strong rain or snow storms can create severe flooding in these low-lying areas. Some tributary elevations above are higher than the Cuyahoga River elevation, because of small waterfalls at or near their confluences; and distances are measured in "river miles" along the river's length from its mouth on Lake Erie.

The Brecksville Dam [a] at river mile 20 is the first dam upstream of Lake Erie. It affects fish populations by restricting their passage.

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This foot dam has for over 90 years submerged the falls for which the City of Cuyahoga Falls was named; more to the point of water quality, it has created a large stagnant pool with low dissolved oxygen. The company contends hydropower is a cleaner source of power and the emissions saved by the plant will be the equivalent of taking 10, cars off the road.

At public meetings held on July 27, , the proposed project, which would generate enough electricity to power homes, encountered substantial opposition. On May 25, , AHS suffered a setback in its effort to develop the site. The United States Court of Appeals for the sixth circuit denied its application to conduct tests at the site, refusing to overturn a lower court's ruling that the MetroParks had the right to deny AHS access to conduct the tests.

On April 9, , officials from the U. This schedule was delayed, in part because of complications with the bidding process, and because of requirements from the Army Corps of Engineers. As of August 20, , both small dams had effectively been totally removed, and there is essentially no impoundment of water now. Cleanup and remediation of the general area within downtown Cuyahoga Falls remains to be completed. In , attempts by the city to address increased erosion as a result of the removal of these and other area dams were publicized.

Two other dams, in Kent and in Munroe Falls , though smaller, have had an even greater impact on water quality due to the lower gradient in their respective reaches.