Uplift Spring 2019
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Our seond set of recipients of the annual Fr. John Maronic, OMI Achievement Award is a husband and wife team from the San Antonio VM Chapter - Warren Clare and Susan Krantz. This is one of the things that has been said of them: "Generosity is their powerful gift. They are tender caregivers to all the Lord sends their way."

Recipient of the 2019 Fr. John Maronic Award
Warren Clare and Susan Krantz

Warren Clare and Susan KrantzBefore retirement, Warren Clare built a home on five country acres near Wichita, Kansas. The house was one of his proudest achievements. His world radically changed beginning in 2006 when his first wife, Mary Ann, suffered the effects of two strokes that left her bedbound and totally dependent. His son, John, offered to help with Mary Ann's care if Warren moved to San Antonio, Texas for a new job. He accepted, sold his home and headed south.

Warren's interest in finding a support group led him to the Victorious Missionaries. Warren and Mary Ann became regular members. He was glad to see her socializing with others in the group, and members visited their home and helped him when he needed someone to be with her.

In October 2012, his wife of 56 years died at home, as she wished to do. Warren felt a strong kinship with the Victorious Missionaries. He was very grateful for their presence in his life as he recovered his strength from years of twenty-four-hour home care. He became active again in ministries at his church, the Knights of Columbus, the Legion of Mary and other parish events.

In January 2013, Warren was invited to join a small group of VMs to visit Susan Krantz while she was a rehab inpatient after her foot surgery. He volunteered for Wednesdays and Saturdays because he wanted to be sure to take Susan to the weekend Vigil Mass. Thus began a deeply felt love between Warren and Susan that surprised them both. They were married on August 3, 2013 by Fr. Richard Houlahan, OMI, the VM Chapter Spiritual Moderator. After the wedding, Warren became even more involved in the VM Chapter, as he continues to serve as Vice President and as the "priest finder" for their chapter's monthly VM Masses. The VMs fulfill his passion for service despite the tiredness of aging. His determination overcomes his limitation. He wants everyone to love the VMs because the ministry has meant so much to him.

Susan Krantz's life story brought her to the VMs through a different path. She had years of suffering from a disability and facing all the physical, mental and spiritual challenges chronically ill people face. She was committed to making a small contribution to her world. In gratitude, she thanks God for her wonderful first husband, Philip Krantz, who helped her overcome disability barriers that led to a life of full participation.

Susan's struggle began at 26 years old when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthitis. She had just finished her academic work when an opportunity fell into her lap! She began a 37-year career with the Department of Veterans Affairs - and the beginning of a long struggle with her disease. She prayed fervently for the strength to maintain her independence. She felt satisfaction with her career advancement into mid-level management and the opportunity to serve veterans in several different cities. Philip accompanied her on the journey, loved and cared for her. They would have no children because of the medications she had to take, but they had a good home life together. In her work, Susan felt the pain of loneliness and rejection arising from her disability. Over the years she had the opportunity to select disabled candidates for positions in her department.

In 1991, Susan's first husband died under hospice care leaving Susan along and grieving. After participating in hospice activities, Susan eventually joined their Governing Board. She became so passionate abut hospice work that she left the VA and entered the School of Social Work at the University of Texas.

Susan found the Roman Catholic Church as an adult. In May 1994 at age 52, she was confirmed. She wanted her professional goals as a future hospice social worker to align with her religious beliefs. So many blessings have poured forth since Susan's conversion.

By God's grace, the VA re-employed Susan in a new location - San Antonio, Texas. For thirteen years, she worked with veterans who needed cancer care and palliative care. She felt so completely at home conversing about intimate, very personal suffering and pain with veterans and their families. Often she saw them greatly relieved of their burdens.

In 2002, Susan was introduced to the Victorious Misisonaries in an unusual way - through her dog sitters who were members of the local VM chapter and lived a life of continuous gratitude. How the VM members dealt with their health challenges as faithful Christians inspired her. The group affirmed her and fully accepted her deformaities and bruises of the mind, body and spirit. The realization came to her that all people suffer. Instad of "Why me?" the question becomes "Why not me?"

In 2006, Susan took an active part in the chapter's leadership, serving as Vice President and President over the years until she was hospitalized for a serices of surgeries in 2012. She continues to produce the chapter's monthly newsletter and Vice President Warren publishes it.

In 2013, Susan's life changed when she married VM member, Warren Clare. After their marriage, they did not foresee what the future would hold. Susan has had a series of health challenges involving four major surgeries, but, unlike her years as a widow, she is not alone now. What a blessing! She is currently getting treatment for cancer.

Susan is grateful to the VMs for enriching her life immeasurably over the years.

Congratulations, Warren and Susan, on your well-deserved award!

VM Chapter News

Granite City, Illinois

Many plans are in the works for the Granite City VM Chapter for the first part of the new year. In January, we had a gentleman come to our monthly gathering to play his guitar and have a sing-along and enjoy some snacks. We had an ice cream social and crafts in February. The March meeting included crafts and snacks. We plan to play bingo with lots of prizes along with snacks in April, while May will be a "Hot Dog Party" with all the fixings. We also hope to schedule a Cardinal baseball game once we hear from the organization as to what dates are available. Sister Linda presides over our meetings and does a short religious lesson for our members as well.

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