Kevin Degen, and the button to start the process was pushed, with much grief, by Jack’s longtime friend, Sister Mary Fran Gilleran, IHM, president of the IHM congregation in Monroe, Michigan. (see related 'Acts of Faith' story of the 200 roses involving Mary Fran)Less than a week after his death on Oct. 20, 2004, longtime pastor of St. Columban Church in Birmingham, Michigan, the beloved Father John (Jack) Trese, was cremated. A rose was put onto his casket by parishioner
Also in attendance was Pat Lynch, president and co-founder of the Clawson, Michigan site of Lynch & Sons Funeral Home. Pat saw the rose go on. About three hours later, after the furnace had burned its contents for that time period at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, Pat Lynch was in attendance for the removal of the ashes. He said to me by phone on Oct. 13, 2012,
“When I retrieved Jack’s ashes from the crematory, I saw the very same rose that had gone in. It was virtually unscathed. It’s never happened before that I’ve ever heard of. My reaction? It was unbelievable. Remarkable. Quite a beautiful thing. I don’t recall who else was present at the time, but Sister Mary Fran was not one of them." - Pat Lynch, Funeral Director
I asked Pat whether he would mind if I shared this story with others on a website that covers the miracles of Jesus today, and he said, “Not at all”.
Also on Oct. 13, 2012, I spoke with longtime parishioner and longtime Christian Service Minister Patricia Costigan about this event. She remembers it quite clearly, as do I. We were both parishioners of St. Columban Church at the time this amazing event happened. I asked Pat what she made of this unusual event. She said that nobody used the word “miracle”. And nobody tried to interpret the meaning of this event. The word got around quite widely and it was a solid conversation topic for quite a while. The general comment was, “Wasn’t that wonderful?” Pat added,
“My own comment is that it never reached the level of sensationalism, and that was Jack’s way. I think nobody wanted to make too much of it was because they knew Jack wouldn’t want too much special attention because Jack would have wanted the attention to go to God. My own interpretation of the unburnt rose was that it was Jack’s way of communicating to us that he’s in heaven, he’s with Jesus now, that he was with Jesus while he was alive, and that Jesus is still with us now and forever, so celebrate!” - Pat Costigan, St. Columban Church, Christian Service Minister
My (Bill Griffin’s) own interpretation of the meaning of this event was that Jesus or God was trying to tell us that this was a good and faithful servant of the Lord. I found it interesting that up to this point in time, this had been the only instance of God showing himself in a supernatural way in Jack’s life, according to Jack himself. I remember having a discussion with Fr. Jack in a men’s fellowship meeting about some of the small miracles I had reported, and other men had reported (many of which are written in this website). Jack contentedly said “I have never had anything supernatural happen, and it doesn’t bother me whatsoever. I’m just as convinced of the reality of Jesus and His message and His divinity without any additional evidence in my own life.” I remember thinking to myself that his attitude illustrated a strong faith to feel that way without the benefit of any personal miracles of Jesus. What was it about Father Jack that made him such a Godly priest? He placed his full attention towards truly understanding what the life of Jesus meant to the people of his parish and in Southeastern Michigan, and worked to bring that meaning into reality. He was kind, patient, loving, inclusive, gracious, generous, self-effacing, and unruffled in the face of conflict. It was easy to tell that Jesus was not just an historical figure for Jack, but his main daily influence. He seemed to have much of the spirit of Jesus in him. The miracle of the Rose for me is confirmation that Jesus felt similarly, and that Jesus wanted to let us know that Jack was to be looked upon as an example of a Godly man.
Editor's Note: St. Columban Church of Birmingham, Michigan merged with St. Alan Church of Birmingham, Michigan in 2013 to form Christ Our Light Church.