Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Letter, 2016

December, 2016

Dear family and friends,

Every day during this season of Advent, Cyprian, Clement, Cletus, and Chrysogonus eagerly take out the crayons and construction paper to make new ornaments for their Jesse Tree. And each week, they look forward to lighting another candle on the wreath. Forgetting for a moment the endless scraps of construction paper, the messy piles of crayons, and the squabbles over whose ornament is better and who stole what from whom; taking a deep breath after the youngest is found in the vicinity of the wreath striking matches; in sum, embracing the crazy imperfection of family life: This is the spirit of Advent as it exists in the Klein household. Prayers for you and yours, that you are also able to mark this special season in your own home, crazy or quiet, as the case may be.

Family Picture, from Cyprian's First Holy Communion in May

This year we’ve managed, for our part, the monumental task of keeping the house from burning down. More seriously, it’s been a year with its share of difficulties, especially with Rosemary suffering through three miscarriages. We now have four little ones living in God’s embrace: Cosmas James, Anastasia May, Andrew Joseph, and Agatha June. For all the struggles, though, it has also been a year filled with God’s blessings: Franz is still teaching and coaching at St. Thomas More Academy, where this fall his boys’ cross country team was the private schools state runner-up, and Rosemary oversees our own Little Flowers Homeschool, where both Cyprian and Clement are now tackling schoolwork in earnest. This May marked Cyprian’s First Holy Communion, and both Clement and Cletus are attending a Montessori “Good Shepherd” catechesis program. Chrysogonus has an ever-increasing vocabulary and an impetuous laugh. In the midst of it all, Rosemary finally earned her Taekwondo black belt in September after working at it determinedly during the past three years that we’ve called North Carolina home.

Busy as all that sounds, it won’t compare to the coming year. Many of you already know our news--that we are moving back to Wisconsin. Four years in Texas and four in North Carolina, and now we’re coming home to our beloved home state, only three miles from the rented farmhouse from which we left  back in 2009 with an overloaded Ford Taurus hauling a construction trailer. Specifically, we will be moving to the Korish homestead near Cashton, St. Jude’s Acres, with Rosemary’s parents building a brand new house on a small parcel of land that they carved off for themselves. The big move will occur in just a few months, at Easter. Then Franz will return to North Carolina to finish up the school year and, with God’s help, sell the house in time to return for the spring planting season.

It’s a big transition not just in terms of geography but also occupation, as we are planning to start farming in earnest. This past summer Franz was back in Wisconsin fencing a pasture for our growing herd of meat goats (who will make the trip from North Carolina to Wisconsin in a 16-ft. livestock trailer that we purchased). Then in late October Rosemary flew back to Wisconsin, with Cletus and Chrysogonus in tow, to plant our first crop of garlic. We will file the application for organic certification at the beginning of the new year, and, God willing, this spring a good portion of the tillable acreage will be planted with some sort of crop to sell to Organic Valley. We are also considering the possibility of raising Thanksgiving turkeys, selling produce in La Crosse CSA-style, etc. Really, we’re open to anything that provides an income stream.

Prayers are definitely appreciated as we make this transition. We know that the first year will be very difficult financially, as at first the goats and the garlic are break-even propositions at best. We are realistic enough to know that farming won’t pay all the bills, especially at first. But we also know that Franz holding a full-time job would make running a full-time farming operation nearly impossible. So, pray that we make the right decisions in considering the range of possibilities--adjunct teaching, freelance writing for Franz, which both worked well during our time in Dallas; possibly a return to nursing work for Rosemary; really, anything that the Lord might provide. Pray, too, that the means become available to purchase a tractor, a cultivator, and haying equipment. Please, pray that we don’t become discouraged in what is sure to be a challenging first few years.

We send this letter with a promise of prayers for you and yours during this time of preparation for Christmas. We look forward to reconnecting with many of you with the move back to Wisconsin. As was the case when we left Dallas, we are again sad to leave behind so many dear friends. We will always treasure you in our hearts. Please stay in touch!

God Bless,

Franz, Rosemary, Cyprian, Clement, Cletus, and Chrysogonus

Chrysogonus' first birthday

Cyprian after First Holy Communion with Fr. Phil Tighe, our pastor, who has since become vocations director

Praying for vocations at Compline, with the traveling chalice from our parish

Fresh fish from Crooked Creek, a half mile walk down Cheves Rd.
Rosemary's first-ever fish. Really!

Cyprian at the 4-County 4-H Livestock Show this fall with one of our young meat goats

St. Thomas More Academy, CIC Conference Champions (boys & girls), NCISAA state runners-up (boys)

A bountiful harvest from our garden this year.

All the veggies we can eat.

Our beloved Cardinal Burke visited St. Catherine's in Wake Forest last December.
Some of our dairy goats enjoying the front pasture.
We had all the pork we could eat this past year.  
Cyprian putting his 4-H premium to good use, investing in one of the batches of meat chickens we raised.

Rosemary, after years of effort, finally earned her first-degree black belt in Taekwondo. 

Boys and fireworks: an explosive combination.

Chrysogonus checking out his haircut after losing his baby curls.

Fun at the N.C. State Fair

Christmas cookies!


  1. A very Blessed & Merry Christmas to you & yours. Wishing you the best with all the big changes coming for you in the new year.

  2. Merry Christmas Franz and Family!