Special Issue - Prayer

High times, hard times all go faster with prayer

by Joe Bollig

GREELEY — Joyce Burris, a member of St. John the Baptist Parish here, is living proof that you don’t need a stained-glass sanctuary to have a great experience of prayer.

An overhead crane is an excellent venue. So are the confines of MRI and CT scan machines.

Burris, who retired in 2011, used to operate an indoor overhead crane for 33 years for Taylor Forge Engineered Systems in Paola. Her position was in a cab in a section called “the bridge.” During downtime, she’d take out her Bible.

“It took me about three years but, in between moves, I managed to read the entire Bible in [those] three years,” said Burris.

Over the years, she has also prayed her way through MRIs and CT scans.

“I know that I can say a rosary in about 15 minutes,” she said. “Those MRI or CT tubes are pretty enclosed. So, I’d close my eyes and use my fingers for rosary beads. If they told me it would be a 45-minute session, I’d know I’d probably say three rosaries in there. It just made the time go faster for me. And it was so quiet, so I could pretty well concentrate on what I was praying.”

Currently, Burris is contending with lung cancer. Praying the rosary while receiving shots or radiation treatments makes it much more bearable.

“It relaxes me,” she said. “I’m a little claustrophobic anyway, so I prefer to concentrate on prayer, rather than what’s happening around me.”


About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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