August - 2012
Family Name: Rouillard
Parents: Shawn and Teresa
Children: James (age 9), Clare (age 7), Simon (age 5), Violet (age 3), Eliza (age 1)
Our questions for the Rouillards:
Tell us a little about yourselves - a paragraph or two . . . Where do you live? What parish do you attend?
We live in Manchester and attend Ste. Marie’s Parish. Shawn is originally from Maine, and Teresa from Rhode Island and West Virginia, but we met at Elmira College in upstate NY, where we were both undergrads involved in theatre. Once Shawn graduated (two years before Teresa), he moved to Providence while Teresa finished college. We were engaged during Teresa’s senior year and got married shortly after graduation on November 13, 1999 at St. Augustine’s Church in Providence, RI. Teresa’s job at that time relocated them to NH that same year. We have now lived in NH for almost 13 years and love it here. We are so close to both the ocean and mountains, so we have the best of both worlds.
Shawn is in medical sales, and Teresa is a stay-at-home mom. Our second child, Clare, has a rare genetic deletion, Williams syndrome, which includes cardiac defects, developmental delays, and other medical issues. So we are not only busy with the normal activities of a young, growing family (soccer, ballet, church events, school!), but are running around to doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions as well.
What is your favorite family activity?
We love to take “adventures” together. The kids pack up backpacks of gear (some of it quite interesting!), and we pack a picnic lunch and head up to the mountains or towards the ocean. Sometimes we have a plan or destination, and sometimes we don’t. One of our favorite drives is through the Kancamagus Highway to go on a “moose hunt” – the boys saw their first moose (with baby) this past summer in the Kancamagus on their way up to Father-Son Camping. Hopefully the girls will see one as well some day on one of our adventures!
What is a favorite family tradition?
The children look forward to two family mini-vacations we take every year. We go to Catholic Family Weekend in August, and then we spend a weekend in the fall at Santa’s Village in Jefferson with Shawn’s parents. Another year-round tradition is that we celebrate the children’s feast days. We have chosen a saint associated with each child’s name (they all have saints’ names, except for Violet Grace, so we celebrate her feast day on May 31, the Feast of Our Lady of Grace). On their feast day, we say special prayers for them and they choose a favorite dinner and dessert.
How does your family pray together?
Our consistent daily prayer time as a family is before meals, an extended prayer before dinner in which we offer up intentions, and then bedtime prayers, which includes every member thanking God for one thing that day. With small children, prayer time is often slightly chaotic, but even the baby knows how to fold her little hands in prayer! Throughout the week, we attend Mass together, say the Rosary, read Bible and saints stories, and we are trying to go to Eucharistic Adoration more frequently. During Advent and Lent, we make an extra effort to add more prayer time and learn some new prayers as a family (this past Lent, I taught the family how to chant the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy). We are always striving for more prayer during our day!
What does your family find most challenging to living as a Catholic family in our society?
We find two particular challenges as a Catholic family in our secular society – having a large family and having a child with special needs. We hear many, many comments about the number of children we have. (We are still working on our perfect response!) We feel a particular responsibility to show society that having a large family is not a burden on society, the economy, the environment. Each and every one of our children is a valuable part of our family and of society. Unlike much of society today, our family life involves a lot of sharing, sacrifice, and service! How is that a burden?
In the same way, it is heartbreaking to live in a world where children such as our precious Clare are aborted every day because they are not “genetically perfect.” We have faced the question “Did you know when you were pregnant?” so many times, as if they would have made a difference to us. It is not always easy to be visibly pro-life and open to life in this culture we live in, but with the grace of God, we pray we are a positive example to our neighbors on our street, in our school, and in our work of what a large Catholic family is all about!
Thank you Rouillards! Check back next month to see another family featured on our Family Spotlight.