Chicagoans Anne and John Scheurich contribute to the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Mission for many reasons: personal experience, family, and love.

It started with growing up in big Catholic families in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Their parents instilled in them both the cherished values of faith and family.

Anne was sixth oldest of nine children. “My mom worked part-time as a nurse at the hospital where all of us were born. Dad was a Chicago firefighter. He’d work a 24-hour shift and then go on to another side job directly after. On day three, he’d stay home and Mom would go to work. We all went to the parish school. Church was at the center of our lives. Oh, how the older parish ladies would stare as the 11 of us trooped into church and filled the whole pew!”

When she was seven, Anne’s oldest brother, Raymond, left for the seminary to join the Vincentian priests.

John grew up in Beaumont, Texas, one of six kids. He remembers his mom always generously supporting Vincentian ministries. She belonged to the Association of the Miraculous Medal, starting in his youngest years. “My own involvement began in 1974. That’s when Vincentian Fr. Richard O’Brien gave a vocation talk at our grade school. I decided to attend their minor seminary; I continued on to college at St. Mary’s and the Novitiate in New Orleans. After a discernment period, I decided to end my studies toward the priesthood — but my love and appreciation for the Vincentians has continued to this day.”

John and Anne later met through their Vincentian family and friends. They were married at St. Vincent DePaul parish in Chicago with Anne’s big brother, Fr. Ray Van Dorpe, C.M., presiding.

A high school religion teacher in Beaumont, John moved to Chicago when he and Anne married and followed in the footsteps of Anne’s father and other brothers, joining Chicago’s firefighters.

The couple agree that the formative influence of the Vincentians on both their lives is one of the primary reasons they donate to the care of the senior members at St. Mary’s of the Barrens.

“The Vincentians have shaped who I am as a person, Catholic, friend, and husband,” John says. “I am truly grateful for all the priests and brothers who have done so much for me.”

For Anne, the inspiration to give is rooted even closer to home. “Ray was always there, always the one to answer life’s big questions for me: “How do I tie my shoes?” “Is Santa Claus real?” “Should I marry this guy?”

And there’s one last thing. Desiring to honor and emulate their parents’ values, the couple admit to another especially important reason why they support the Vincentians.

“’Cuz our mommas told us to.” 

John and Anne Scheurich live on Chicago’s north side and are active in their parish, St. Priscilla Church. A retired battalion chief for Chicago Fire Department, John works as a hazardous materials instructor for the International Association of Firefighters. Anne attended her mom’s alma mater and worked as a nurse in both oncology and home health. More recently, she helped start two telehealth companies.

This story originally appeared in the June 2022 issue of The Vincentian newsletter.