One family's many 'blessings'
By Matt Abbott
Walt and Wendy Cukierski are the proud parents of eleven "blessings" -- Walter Jr., Weston, William, Wellsley, Wyatt, Wade, Waylan, Woodman, Walker, Wiley and Wilson (due any moment).
The Cukierski family, whose home is in the state of New York, has their own Internet apostolate specializing in Catholic sacramentals and dedicated to "help[ing] save the innocent unborn and to draw folks closer to the Catholic faith."
They have a wonderful story.
"Walt and I met on the third day of college," says Wendy, via e-mail. "I was 17 and he was 18, and within a month, we knew we wanted to be married. We were wed at the age of 20 and will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary next February."
Walt left his job as a salesman in medical supplies three years ago to help with the family's apostolate, which they started in 1996. Walt "also does his numismatic business (coins) to help out financially," Wendy says.
In addition to evangelization and pro-life activism, the Cukierski's love "raising chickens, organic gardening, hydroponics and all things simple."
What inspired Wendy and Walt to start their Internet apostolate?
"I wanted to get the word out that 'the pill' was an abortifacient, so I wrote a booklet on the subject in the mid-1990s," Wendy says. "Judie Brown [of the American Life League] was very encouraging to me and so we put out a second edition. The apostolate just kind of grew from there.
"We then began to study our faith even more and discovered sacramentals. We were blown away that no one was talking about or offering these precious gifts of our faith!"
Wendy and Walt homeschool their children, but, interestingly, that was a point of contention between the couple in years past. Wendy says her husband, a convert, "was not Catholic, pro-life or pro-homeschool 13 years ago. It was a dark moment in my life, but one that has had a tremendous silver lining ever since! He witnessed the fruit of home education and became an avid promoter to all who would listen. He now does more of the home education than I do - and he's extremely pro-life!"
I asked Wendy if she has any advice for parents struggling to raise their children in the Catholic faith in our culture of death.
"I truly believe our lifestyle of Catholic simplicity has kept our children close. In addition, we always let them know that the greatest gift God could ever give them is the gift of a sibling. They truly like each other! Home educating has also kept them close.
"If parents are struggling to raise their children in the faith, they need to get the negative influences out of their lives. That may be the wrong friends, the wrong TV programming, or the wrong music.
"I think parents tend to 'give up' too easily. It is extremely hard trying to combat the world, yet we have to do so, for the sake of our children. Perhaps my Irish temper helps. I simply tell the children that we are the parents, they are the children and we have to answer to God -- plain and simple -- no 'ifs,' 'ands' or 'buts.'
"I also highly recommend regular prayer time throughout the day. We live according to a Benedictine schedule, as adapted to family life. There are certain times of the day when we gather for prayer. It doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out process. Just the fact that you are taking a few moments to pray together. We do our longest prayer time in the evening.
"Lastly, responsibility. Giving a child responsibilities is good for his or her character and for keeping him or her busy - and, hopefully, out of trouble. Our children take care of the animals, the garden and are given special household duties. They also give at least one hour a day to help out with the apostolate. We balance this with plenty of 'fun time' for playing outdoor sports and so on.
"Without a doubt, being a parent is the hardest job ever! Yet I do believe the Lord gives us all the grace we need. We just have to remember to ask for it."
The Web site for The Cukierski Family Apostolate is www.cukierski.net.
http://www.catholic.org , US
Matt Abbott - Author,
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