Santa Rosa, CA,
08:46 AM

Alumna Poet uses words to turn pain and suffering into hope and healing

The proof is there,
And ample too,
You hold me close
And see me through.  
(excerpted from Fisch-Lemp’s poem “Rescuer”)

Alumna and author, Jennifer Fisch-LempJennifer Fisch-Lemp has a way with words. After a series of painful losses and living with an aggressive, recurrent cancer, the University of Saint Thomas-Houston alumna turned her words into soulful poems. Then, she turned the poems into a lovely book: “Resting on a Pillow of Prayers.”

The California native never wrote a book before this one and never imagined she would do so. But the poetry welled up and out as a means of communicating the truly profound. The first poem she ever penned was 15 years ago when she felt inspired to share with her daughters what she believed was the best way to live this life we are given. That writing would not be her last.

Loss and Hardship Spark A Return to Writing

"Resting on a Pillow of Prayers" by Jennifer Fisch-Lemp“I returned to writing poetry again about nine years ago to ease the pain of the untimely death of my older brother and have been writing ever since,” she explained. “I have come to realize that my poetry is the good that God has brought out of the pain and suffering in my life, and, especially, my ongoing battle with recurrent cancer.”

An Aim to Uplift

The author has “always found contentment in the sound and meaning of words.” Her aim with “Resting” is to uplift and encourage her readers through their trials.

I’m in a room
Inside myself
Where only
I can go. 

The light streams in,
It’s warm and bright,
With colors
All aglow. 

He sits with me
And comforts me
As only
He can do. 

Reminding me
Of His great love
And that He will
See me through. 
(excerpted from Fisch-Lemp’s poem “The Room”)

Fisch-Lemp said, “My poems focus on a variety of themes: hope, suffering, loss, recovery, forgiveness, love, grace, faith and Christian mission. My hope is that these poems will uplift and encourage readers and renew their faith in our loving God.”

Her Celt Roots

The Celt, who attended UST from 1975 – ’78, transferred to the UT Health Science Center to pursue her degree in Community Nutrition Dietetics. She became a registered dietitian and then earned her Master’s Degree in Public Health from the UT School of Public Health in 1982.  

What initially drew her to UST was her first visit, where she observed “the beautiful campus, small class sizes, personalized teaching approach, that it was Catholic and the Basilian fathers made up the core faculty.”

Once enrolled, she was especially impacted by a class called Liturgical Singers, taught by Sister Jane Conway, with whom she still keeps in touch.

“That class opened the door to sacred music for me and to my ministry in parishes for almost 50 years as a choir member and cantor at Masses and funerals. Also, some of my closest friends to this day are those I met in music ministry at UST.”

Guided by the Holy Spirit

From Santa Rosa, California, where she lives, Fisch-Lemp wrote, “I write when I am inspired to capture the truth of my deepest beliefs, longings and emotions. I feel that the Holy Spirit has guided my poetry writing, encouraging and reassuring me of God’s faithfulness and love, so my poems can do the same for others.”

A head bent in prayer,
With some time spent there, 

A trust that finds peace
Where all fear shall cease,

Faith to step up
And not to give up,

Hope that inspires
And sets you on fire,

Love with its root
As Jesse’s Blessed Shoot, 

Power that’s found
In laying your life down, 

Eternal life
After the strife  
(excerpted from Fisch-Lemp’s poem “A Truly Blessed Life”)

Jennifer Fisch-Lemp’s book can be purchased on Amazon.