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July 25, 1997     The Message
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;, 1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 nt and Kelle Maurer couple learning to walk in faith together HUGHES staff writer Kent Mau- he looks at his Kelle. The two of a journey dur- that has led of hospitals treatments a walk -- hand in readily admit that t the same people they in 1986 when they , they were career-ori- "Cathedral fulfilling their and putting the collection bas- complacent. Kelle was diag- non-Hodgkin's lym- experience." "It changed how we started seeing the church," said Kelle. "Before, we did things out of habit," said Kent. "Now, there is a thankfulness, a trust in the Lord. We were not stopping and thanking the Lord for our bless- ings. It's more of a want now, as compared to a duty. It's not, 'Here's the money.' It's putting your total trust in God's gen- erosity, and knowing that every- thing is from him." As they became involved in their parish stewardship pro- gram, Kelle's health problems continued. She suffered anoth- er relapse in 1994, and again in May of 1996. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treat- ments; doctors recently discov- ered a tumor in her left leg. Surprisingly, when she talks about her illness, she talks about its "blessings." is hard work. takes constant focus. conventional in Evansville, faith in the continued their Sunday obliga- ended in Kelle suffered a to Nebraska transplant. returned home, Father Francis asked them to in their parish program. They was a "conversion "It changed everything. I was in denial at first. But in March of 1994, when I was diagnosed for the third time, it was a real conversion for us." That was when the two of them developed a deep, abiding reverence for the Eucharist. "I finally realized that it was the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Before, I didn't grasp it. It almost takes a real trial, until you have to rely on God alone because you can't get what you want from doctors. That's what it took for us. "We were Cathedral Catholics." Kent agrees. "We were just going through the motions, receiving the sacraments, paying our money." Once the couple learned about stewardship, they decided to tithe "because God asks us to do it," explained Kelle. "It's in the bible." Kent added, "Since we are tithing he has blessed us so much more. We realized we can't outgive God. It's not just in monetary thihgs, but it's in our faith and our spirituality." They both were raised on farms in the Haubstadt area, members of German-Catholic families. "Pretty disciplined" fam- ilies, said Kent. Their parents "laid the foun- dation" for their religious val- ues, said Kelle. "Then, when we had these trials, we knew where to go." They both admit that the past six years have been tough, both in dealing with Kelle's illness and developing their faith lives. "Faith is hard work," said Kelle. "It takes constant focus." Kent said, "Our new-found love for the Eucharist is where I find my Strength. I was receiving Communion out of habit without any apprecia- tion for what it really is." Kent says he prays "not to understand" why his wife has the illness, but he asks for "faith to accept it. In the rosary, the last joyful mystery, when Mary found Jesus in the Temple, she didn't understand it, but she accepted it." Kelle said she has also under- gone a transformation as she has shifted her faith from the med- ical profession to God. "At first, I believed, Thy look for God's help? The doctors can give me everything I need.' But each time (relapse) brought us closer to God." She does have faith that she KELLE & KENT MAURER will be healed. "I don't know how or when he's going to do it, but I know he will." She is currently on medical leave from her veterinary prac- tice because she is undergoing chemotherapy treatments. She spends her days saying the rosary, listening to tapes and reading the Bible. "It's God's word, and Jesus' word when he was here on earth." She says she receives great comfort from read- ing Gospel stories of Jesus heal- ing the sick. "It gives you so much hope." She also spends her day learn- ing to trust God. "If you trust someone, you spend time with them." The couple says that learning about stewardship brought great changes into their lives. "We've had a conversion to a new way of life," explains Kelle "From pay- check to rain, there was the feel- ing that I made these things hap- pen. Now we realize that God has blessed us with this, that every- thing is from him." Kelle said she takes her health problems "one day at a time." Kent added that they are learn- ing to "put our trust in the Lord. We used to look at her (blood component} counts." Kelle said, "Now we don't. We have learned to trust in God's love and mercy. The more time I spend with God, I spend getting to know him, it's easier to trust him." They both talk about the "blessing of the illness" because they believe "God has taken the illness and used it for good." Their biggest blessing, Kelle says, has been their "spiritual walk together." : " Kent said, rhere are times when rm down, and she pick me right up." Kelle added, "And vice versa. "We are struggling through our faith. Just like everybody else is, we are all on that journey. It's a daily struggle." ping for abstinence program in Dubois County, R. LEINGANG le editor have a powerful on younger ones. the program, "A "works so well, Eve Jackson from who talked with and profes- sionals at a recent meeting in Jasper. "A Promise to Keep: Treasur- ing the Gift of Human Sexuali- ty," is described as "a program developed to help teenagers understand their wonderful gift of sexuality and promote the value of choosing a lifestyle that is free from negative conse- we care about... feature in the Message, designed to help draw People of God in southwestern Indiana. Readers submit information about people who may ben- prayers and attention. for Providence Sister Mary Ruth Lucey, 99, were held July 22 at St. Mary-of-the-Woods. entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Prov- 15, and made her final vows in 1924. in schools staffed by the Sisters of Providence, 1 High School, Evansville. are requested for Janice Frey, a fifth grade )herd School, Evansville. recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Surgery 19, and she is expected to begin radiation In a few weeks, according to Benedictine Sister Maurer, Good Shepherd principal. Send information for PEOPLE WE CARE  Ann Hughes, The Message, P.O. Box IN 4 7724. quences of sexual involvement before marriage." The presentation at Jasper was arranged by the Religious Education Board of Holy Fami- ly Church, with cooperation and assistance from a wide range of church and community organi- zations. St. Joseph Hospital, Hunt- ingburg, paid travel costs for the presenters. Memorial Hos- pital and Health Care Center, Jasper, contributed the publica- tion costs for flyers. The pre- sentation was made at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Jasper, July 16. Also taking part in the pre- sentation was Jennifer Jo Doyel, from Lincoln High School, Vin- cennes, where the program has been in effect since 1994. At Lin- coln, the program is called T.A.S.K. Force, using the ini- tials, Teaching Abstinence from Sex to Kids. T.A.S.K. Force is described as "a group of high school juniors and seniors trained to present the message of abstinence to middle and high school youth." Members are "chosen by their commitment and compassion to the issue, undergo interviews by committee, and participate in several hours of training." Sixty members speak to approximate- ly 750 seventh, eighth and ninth graders in Vincennes each year. Participants at the Jasper presentation heard also from four teens who have been involved in the program: Megan Nolan, a senior from Loogootee High School; Chris Wick- man, a senior at Washing- ton Catholic High School; Erik Gillum, a Washing- ton Catholic graduate now at Indiana University; and Sarah Arvin, a Loogootee graduate now at Indiana State University. While the "experts  pre- sented the facts about the program, the most con- vincing part of the evening was the witness of the young people, according to one participant. A follow-up session is planned at Holy Family Church, in the school cafe- teria, Monday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. At that time, organiz- ers hope that plans can be made to start the program in the schools of Dubois County. Some 40 participants have already made a com- mitment to attend the meeting. They include par- ents and representatives of edu- cation, health care, community organizations, clergy and mem- bers of several faiths. For more information, contact Gene and Donna Humbert, (812) 634-9013, or Sister Nancy Brosnan, (812) 482-3076. Eve Jackson, right, discusses the abstinence program with Jen- nifer Jo Doyel and Grace Arvin, at a gathering of about 125 peo- ple who came to find out more information about the program, -- Message photo by Michael Woolsey