Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rose cremated with body of Father Jack Trese emerges from furnace virtually unscathed

(this blog has grown up and is now a full website.  Please go instead to

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 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.  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.

Pat Lynch, Funeral Director
Father Jack Trese
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."

(Read the rest at


  1. I spent over a month trying to track down what happened to the rose, contacting people at church, Mary Fran's secretary, and Father Jack's sister Ginny Dauer. The rose was given to Father Jack's good friend, Sister Mary Fran Gilleran, who put it into a shadow box with a glass front that she kept on display. Jim N. from St. Columban saw it once at Sister Mary Fran's house. He said that it was dried out, but had almost all of its color. It did not look burnt.

    When Mary Fran died, the rose was placed in Mary Fran's casket with her. There are no known photos of it.

  2. Father Jack's sister Ginny Dauer of Findlay, Ohio wrote this comment that she asked me to include here:

    "I describe the friendship between my brother Jack and Mary Fran as a modern day Francis and Claire (both saints). The fulfillment and insights that came from their friendship increased each other’s desire to serve God and His people through their individual vocations. It was a beautiful thing to witness."

  3. Jim N. also told me just now via email that his wife Dawn also saw the rose in its shadow box when they were visiting Sister Mary Fran.