Tag Archives: Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago

“Chopped” Champion – Sr. Alicia Torres

choppedI only watch three shows on cable TV – Hogan’s Heroes, the Weather Channel and the Food Network’s “Chopped.” So it was a thrill to watch the special “Chopped” Thanksgiving special to see a member of one of our Affiliate Communities compete to win the $10,000 prize.

Sr. Alicia Torres of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago was one of four contestants selected from the many who serve the underprivileged in soup kitchens around the country. Some months ago, “Chopped” called our office asking for the names of potential “sister” cooks. Fr. Bob Lombardo, CFR, the superior of the community and IRL Board Member, also heard the word and was able to propose Sister Alicia.

chopped 2Sr. Alicia wowed the judges during every round.  Each show, the contestants are asked to open up a mystery basket of ingredients and transform them into an appetizer, then a main dish, and finally a dessert. During each round, one cook is eliminated. During this episode, each basket contained in various manifestations turkey, potatoes, cranberries and green beans. How she made the final dessert from that concoction of ingredients was truly imaginative!

The judges were amazed that someone with no formal cooking education could be so gifted. She has chosen to use those gifts for the greater glory of God. Her love for her Spouse, Jesus, and that love outpouring to others is what animates her and her cooking. “When I cook, I want to share that love, and I try to put care into everything that I make for every person that I serve,” she said in a WGN interview.

The $10,000 prize money won as the last “Chopped” cook standing will be used to restock their food pantry. For Christmas, she will be cooking for 1400 people in their west side neighborhood from their Mission of Our Lady of the Angels.

Congratulations Sister Alicia!


Running for the Mission!

molastephanieOne of the joys in working at the Institute on Religious Life is the opportunity to see emerging communities blossom and grow. One of those communities is the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, founded by Rev. Bob Lombardo, CFR.

On Saturday, September 21, Sr. Stephanie Baliga pronounced her first vows in the beautiful church of Our Lady of the Angels, exchanging her white veil for a brown one. She joins Sr. Alicia and Sr. Kate who professed first vows in 2012. In October, Matt and Jaime will be invested as novices. And Jessica officially joined them as a postulant on September 8th.

molaSr. Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Illinois (Champaign) where she was on the track and cross country team. On October 13, she and two other former Illini runners will be running in the Chicago Marathon, raising money for the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels. Their goal is to raise $40,000. The mission is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago where the Franciscans are bringing the light of Christ to the neighbors and the community through their prayers, outreaches and presence. Click here to find out how you can be a prayer warrior to support their efforts on Marathon Sunday!

And if you want to solve the vocations crisis, check out the activities at the Newman Center at the University of Illinois. Sister Stephanie and Jessica are just two examples of those men and women who have chosen to enter religious life or the seminary. Go Illini!