December 9

Karina Duffy

Senior neuroscience and theology major Karina Duffy is transformed by the gaze of Christ and now brings that loving awareness into her work with people in the local community.

“I work for the Self-Healing Communities of the greater Michiana region, a community coalition that aims to make community change through an understanding of the neurobiology of trauma, healing, and resilience. Our environment fundamentally influences the formation of the brain, and this work has helped reshape my gaze on the human person. Now, I approach people with more grace because I’ve seen how being loved has the radical power to restore the brain and nervous system. Christ on the cross is the ultimate source of this love.”

In this Advent season, let us embrace the mystery of our belovedness. By sitting and receiving the gaze of Christ, we can have the grace to remember that all people are showered with Christ’s love — a love that becomes visible at Christmas and culminates on the cross.



  1. Thank you for this beautiful Sacred story. When I was a Hospice volunteer I was blessed to experience the “gaze of Christ on the cross “ in a dying patient. When I heard your story that beautiful moment and blessing was reawakened within me. Offering prayers of petition and thanks for all who are working with those who are suffering. You are doing God’s work.

  2. Incredibly beautiful! My first husband was born with his dead twin in his head and as his physical/mental illness showed it’s ugly head, my two children and I chose to love and care for him with the support and guidance of Our Dear Lord and His Holy Mother. We honored him and his affliction for 27 years until he passed away at 56 years of age, 23 years ago, after having a sixth of his brain removed. We could not have done this without help from above.
    This beautifully delivered testimony this morning will carry me through the Christmas Season with a full heart reminding me that ‘everyday is CHRISTmas’ and we are His disciples.
    Thank You for sending these readings to me each morning – It is the beginning of my day and it never fails me!
    Merry Christmas!

  3. Thank You for sending me these readings each morning. It is the beginning of my day and they never fail me!
    Merry CHRISTmas!

  4. Karina, How spiritually wise you are to have already figured out that it is only when we draw close to Christ on the Cross that we can best become his agents of positive change within the world. May you continue to feel a great sense of purpose in your work with the Michiana self-healing communities. You are manifesting Christ’s love to those you serve, and in doing so, emulating St. John’s words, “We love because He first loved us”. 1John 4:19. Thank you for your inspiration. May you enjoy a memorably good Christmas break with family and friends.

    1. Thank you for this beautiful reflection and reminder to both receive and share Christs incredible love at all times.

  5. I would love to discuss the work of providing a trauma treatment environment for children in residential care in Detroit with you!

  6. Karina, I love this. I agree that one must ‘gaze” at the Lord and allow Him to gaze at us—- spend time with Him if we are to follow Him. Prayer, time of contemplation , is so needed to focus us humans on the beauty and. Gifts of creation. You didn’t explain why the Cross draws you. What increduble love He has for us—– the pain and suffering displayed….

  7. What an interesting combination, neuroscience and theology. Father Ted Hesburgh was always a great believer at knowledge of science and its application enhanced our views as spiritual people. You certainly show that through your location and your work with people with brain injuries and similar problems. Keep up the great work.

  8. The “gaze” of Christ…what an awesome interpretation of the power of God’s love for us in our everyday lives! Never heard it quite put that way before, definitely gives me food for thought in my daily prayers. Thank you. I’m betting on a bright, faith filled and loving future for you…blessings!

  9. Thank you for your intelligent and beautiful integration of neuroscience and theology to develop an inspiring and beautiful example of “unconditional love”.

  10. “I’ve seen how being loved has the radical power to restore the brain and nervous system.” This statement by Karina Duffy is highly significant to me. My hope and belief is that it is true. I have attempted to live this way for about two decades. I am still “working” at it in this physical body. I am so thankful to be reminded of this. Dr. Bruce Lipton showed this to be true in a science lab in 1986. He explained this to me about 20 years ago. His work would say 95% plus of who we are is determined by our environment(which includes our thoughts). He talked of this before the word epigenetics was coined. My understanding is that epigenetics points to the power and impact of our environment on each of us. Much for me to again ponder and contemplate.
    I am very thankful for this community of Sacred Stories.

  11. Karina, if practicable, I desire to learn more about the Self-Healing Community of Greater Michiana. I shall look for a web site. Wishing the best to you and all students as this seems to be final exam time. Peace to All.

  12. What an amazing person you are. After 65 yrs of marriage my husband ( ND grad) died of complications related to Parkinson’s. My faith and family have kept me going and hearing your journey is a true inspiration for me. God bless you in your endeavors.

  13. Karina,
    A Notre Dame experience as a Freshman…a charisma of St Francis … a call to embrace our belovedness… Your gift … your lens of interpersonal neurobiology where your (our) humanity (and all creation) is graced through Christ’s gaze from the cross … to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s transcendent source of unlimited potential … of love… of God’s eternal presence creating, incarnating and resurrecting all things with and in and through the Mind of Christ… Karina may your physical body’s kind and gentle presence and your spirit’s quantum interconnectedness continue to offer integration, unlimited potential, and hope through all forms of trauma and suffering and celebrations of peace and joy. Blessed are we and all to be alongside St Francis knowing our being +His beloved and journeying faithfully with our sisters and brothers in hope.

  14. Dear Karina: Lovely story.
    As a trauma therapist, I often use nature in my work with survivors of torture. Helping connect people in their healing journeys with the fundamental goodness of the natural world is a such powerful component in a belief that they can be restored and resilient.

  15. Karina, your reflection was incredible wisdom for all of us – thank you for sharing! The people with whom you work in the Self-Healing Communities are fortunate to have someone like you and the world will be a better place because of your grace and kindness.

  16. This was particularly moving for me in my current journey. I shall listen to it again, frequently, to guide me in compassion.

  17. I was diagnosed 2011. i was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. My symptoms progressed quickly. Soon i was having difficulty breathing, swallowing and even walking short distances. With the help of Health Herbs Clinic natural herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using diet, herbs, which i feel has made the most difference. The Parkinson’s natural formula immensely helped my condition, it reversed my Parkinson’s. my slurred speech, then the tremors, and mobility gradually disappeared, even my handwriting is getting better visit their website at healthherbsclinic . com people are suffering from this horrible disease due to lack of information.

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