Nearly eight years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Marion Von Rueden. She was the subject of a story I wrote for the Catholic Herald, a profile that shed light on her deep devotion to her family and her faith.
Mother to 13 children, she and her late husband John, valued Catholic education so much that despite the financial toll, they sent all of their children to St. Sebastian Elementary School, and the eight boys to Marquette University High School and the five girls to Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, all in Milwaukee. One year, they had four in high school at the same time with three boys at MUHS and one daughter at DSHA!
During the course of our interview, she told me that she recalled one time when her husband, worried about finances, somewhat heatedly told his wife, “You think there’s a money tree in our backyard.”
Marion told me that she calmly responded to him, “No, but I know Jesus is out there, always behind us.”
I suspect the Von Rueden family is leaning heavily on Jesus as their backbone these days as one member, Greg Von Rueden, 14, Marion’s grandson, battles an aggressive form of cancer.
The other thing that struck me about that interview with Marion was the fact that she proudly said that all 13 of her children – now in their 40s and 50s – are practicing Catholics. What a neat testament to the faith and example she and her husband must have been to their large family.
That faith must certainly be a source of strength and consolation for the family through Greg’s illness.
The next generation of Von Ruedens is the one currently enrolled at MUHS and DSHA. Visit either school these days and you’ll get a sense of the outpouring of love for this family. More than half the girls wear a yellow ribbon, bracelet or both in support for Greg, according to DSHA director of campus ministry, Kathleen Cullen, and at MUHS, Bobby and Jake, Greg’s older brothers, are leading numerous efforts to support Greg, where yellow is also the color of the season: yellow shirts, socks, headbands, shoelaces.
Beyond MUHS and DSHA, yellow is popping up all over the place in the New Berlin area as friends display “Yellow for Greg” yard signs and wear yellow shirts with Greg’s name and the slogan “You never fight alone.”
It’s amazing how Greg’s story has touched so many people and how they’ve responded with an outpouring of love. Read on page 8 about the many ways members of the community have stepped up to offer support and hope to the Von Ruedens as they travel this challenging journey with Greg. You’ll be especially touched by the love the two older brothers are showing to their little brother throughout his battle. It’s a story of faith and love, and a reminder to all of us to make sure that those we know who are fighting a similar fight know that they, too, will “never fight alone.”
Also in this issue, don’t miss Jeff Wenzler’s column on “stuff.” A little spring cleaning, says Jeff, will not only clear space, but may offer a less stressful life and even more time for family! Sounds like a good plan.
We’re accepting entries for our 2013-2014 cover photo contest so remember the camera when you head out for those family outings or occasions! We are accepting entries through Friday, Sept. 6.
This issue marks our last issue of Catholic Herald Family before we take a few month-hiatus over the summer.
Have a wonderful summer and we’ll be back with the October 2013 issue, published the last week in September!