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Evansville, Indiana
September 26, 1997     The Message
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September 26, 1997
 

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September 26, 1997 i The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana it i Jim and Mary Lou Beers 3 iiii i,i Couple shows world how to live out marriage vows, respect life During those bleak days, her young son Jimmy provided a conversion moment for her. When Jimmy entered the hos- pital room to see his father, "he jumped up on the bed, and he picked up Jim's paralyzed arm, and he crawled over a respirator. He said, 'Daddy, me loves you.' days taking care of her hus- band and her children. Despite the enormity of Jim's physical problems, Mary Lou says she never considered placing him in a nursing home. "After his stroke, he spent a year-and-a-half in the hospital, and he came home for weekends. I saw that t was possible to care for him at home." When Mary Lou was three, her mother died. "I had a wonderful father who assured me that my mother would be as close as my heart. And I always knew God was with me, to give me grace and strength. "Maybe, because my mother died when I was so young, I desperately wanted my chil- dren to have two parents. And Jim wanted to come home. He felt we could have a life that was rich and full." The doctors didn't hold out much hope for the young cou- ple. They told Mary Lou that Jim might survive a year. "We didn't even put a ramp on our home because we didn't see this as a permanent situation." But thanks to her loving care, Jim Beers has survived 24 years since his stroke. When he first came home, they developed a simple, yet tedious, way to communicate. She would recite the alphabet, and he would move his left knee when he heard the letter he wanted. Toda); he commu- nicates with the help of a laptop computer capable of speech. He has enough dexterity in one fin- ger to type. His first message was to his wife. "He called me by name, and said, 'I love you.' I hadn't heard that for many years." Today, they make their living speaking at churches, marriage conferences and schools. They began their work about 17 years ago when their parish asked Mary Lou to speak dur- ing a retreat day. "I could never leave Jim, so I asked if I could bring him. Then, another church asked me. I never set out to do this, but I feel that somehow God is using me." When she talks with stu- dents, she reminds them that "there is hope, that beyond whatever happens to our body there's hope because there's a part of us that's even greater -- and that's our spirit." Mary Lou believes her mar- riage has survived "for just one reason. We would not be here today if not for a deep and an abiding faith in a God who is our strength, who is our hope, and who is our love." Nearly every day, she push- es her husband's wheelchair eight houses down the street for Mass at their parish church. Then, they spend their days together "taking the Gospel of the day and trying to make it pertain to our lives." They are also sustained by the Eucharist. "It's more than receiving the breadHt's becom- ing Christ to one another." The Beers will be in Evansville on Oct. 4 and 5. Tluny will be talking on "And the greatest of these is love..." at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at St. Beneqict Church, Evansville. Admission; is free. On Oct. 5, they fl;ill be at a bung Adult Conference at Resur- rection Church, Evansville. The cost is $8 per person, or $15 per couple. For reservations, contact the Qtfice of Youth and Young Adult Minist at (812) 424-5536. " By MARY ANN HUGHES Message staff writer If pretty is as pretty does, then Mary Lou Beers has earned the right to be called beautiful. For the past 24 years, she has cared for her husband with grace and tenderness. She has taught her five children what it means to live out her marriage vows, and she has shown the world how to respect life. Nearly 40 years ago, back in 1959, Mary Lou and Jim Beers were high school sweethearts. She says she was attracted to him "because he liked life." " In 1964, they married and began their family. Eight years later, everything fell apart. Jim suffered a near-deadly stroke as he was driving home from Work on a Cleveland free- way. "They called me, and said my husband was paralyzed and he was unable to speak." When Mary Lou arrived at the hospital, she found that her 29- year-old husband had suffered a massive stroke. He couldn't hold her or say 'I love you.' : / , i ' ys knew God was with me, to .give me grace and strength. "That was really a conversion moment  a moment of seeing that if a little boy could look beyond a respirator, if he could look beyond everything and see his father, then maybe I could look beyond and see life." While Jim was in the hospi- tal, Mary Lou began support- ing her family by baking cakes in her home, sometimes mak- ing as many as 50 cakes in a weekend. She often baked all night long, after spending her Land-mine treaty moves world closer to a ban among all those involved in the negotiations, he said in an inter- view with Vatican Radio Sept. 18. While amendments to the treaty could have led to its sup- port by the United States and perhaps other military powers, it would have meant the loss of the treaty's humanitarian char- acter, he said. "This was not a matter of adopting a disarmament con- vention. Obviously, it would have been difficult to accept exceptions while preserving its humanitarian dimension," Msgr. Lebeaupin said. "One can and must hope that the convention will be signed and ratified by a large number By JERRY FILTEAU Catholic News Service 'WASHINGTON (CNS)  As the world moved closer to a com- prehensive ban on anti-person- nel land mines by international treaty, pressure increased for the United States to join that process. A spokesman for the U.S. bish- ops urged President Clinton to end his opposition to the treaty, and a Vatican official said the exceptions sought by the United States would have hurt the treaty. While more than 100 nations Were conferring on treaty lan- guage at a conference Sept. 1-17 .in Oslo, Norway, U.S. efforts to introduce exceptions to the ban tion to protect the 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea, where the Pentagon regards land mines as a major deterrent to an invasion by North Korea, and because it would not allow U.S. use of certain package defenses combining anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark, N.J., head of the U.S. bishops' International Policy Committee, said: "I pro- foundly regret U.S. rejection of the proposed treaty.... I fear that our nation's leadership has lost an important opportunity in the urgent struggle to effectively ban these indiscriminate killers." Msgr. Alain Lebeaupin, the bl.ought the unusual sight of an Vatican's charge d'affaires to the of countries," he added. Irish bishop picketing the U.S. European Community and its He said he hoped even the ambassy in Dublin. representative at the Oslo con- countries that do not sign "will The treaty agreed upon in fenc6,called the campaign for a consider this convention as a Ot slls part of the fast-track worldwide ban a success despite point of reference if not as an "-'awa process that seeks to take the U.S. rejection of the treaty, objective to be reached." aQVantage of growing world "Concern tO reach the total With such international and opinion against anti-personnel interdiction of these weapons as popular support for the ban, he land mines to prod the world's rapidly as possible was evident" said, it is hoped that "progres- gv.ernments into outlawing e etrproduction, saleoruse. Golden Jubilee a ne Ottawa process is so named because it was started Celebration will be Oct. 5 St year by an initiative of the naciian government and is to me to a conclusion this ":ember with a treaty-signing Cereraony in ,Ot. taWaannounced President Clinton Sept, 17 that he would not sign the treaty because of his obliga- Couples married 50 years or longer will be honored Oct. 5 during the annual Golden Jubilee Celebration at Holy Redeemer Church, Evansville. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger has invited over 1,250 couples from throughout the Diocese of Evansville. About 300 couples are expected to attend the cele- bration. Mass begins at 2 p.m., and a reception will follow the Mass. Kristel Riffert, parish support and community outreach direc- tor at Catholic Charities, said Willard and LiUian Ennis of Evansville have been married the longest  67 years, One-thousand-forty-three people, including couples and their family members, have made reservations to attend. For additional information, contact Kristel Riffert at (812) 423-5456. sively and according to own rhythms, these countries will rec- oncile their doctrines of national military defense and their legis- lation with the new convention on anti-personnel mines." Humanitarian and religious organizations, including many Catholic missionary, develop- merit and public y, i- zations, were the pmgmo.vers behind the ban campaign, : Among the estimated 26,000 people killed or injured by land mines each year, most are civil, ians. Many of the casualties occur long after the hostilities ale over.. i, . Following is a feature in the Message, designed to help draw together the People of God in southwestern hutiana. Readers are invited to submit information about people who may benefit by some extra prayers and attention. The children of Otto Forler are planning a 100th birthday celebra- tion for him on Oct. 5 neSt. Martin Church, Chrisney. He was born Oct. 13, 1897, A Mass will be offered at 1 p.m. at St. Martin, with a reception from 2 to 4 pan. in the Parish Center. All relatives and  are invit- ed; the family requests no gifts. He is the father of four children: Lajuan Reising of Poseyville, Roy OTtO FORLER of Martinsville, Tyrus of Chrisney, and the late Gilbert "Gene" Forler. He has 26 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren. He is a life-long member of St. Martin Church, and the old' est living graduate of Chrisney High School. He graduated in 1915. Friends who are unable to attend the celebration may mail cards to: Otto Forler; c/o Tyrus Foder; 2562 W. CR 900 N; Chrisney IN 47611. Please send information for PEOPLE WE CARE ABOUT to Mary Ann Hughes, The Message, P.O. Box 4169, Evans- ville, IN 47724. The e-mail address is messag@evans. ville.net. Subject: People We Care About.