Holy Spirit at the heart of Mora man’s card ministry

Stanley Kuchar and his wife, Helen, were married for 67 years. When Helen died in 2013, he was devastated. “I was married to the dearest wife,” he said. “God gave me a better partner than I deserved, I think.”

Stanley Kuchar sits in the dining room of his home in Mora writing messages in cards he makes himself. photo by Dianne Towalski

The Kuchars, who moved to Mora in 1949, were active in their parish and well-known in the community, so he received many sympathy cards.

“After Helen passed away, I answered all the messages in the sympathy cards, and then I was at a loss,” said Kuchar, who is 99 years old.

He started looking for people he could write to and found them in the local newspaper.

He searched through the Kanabec County Times and picked out people that he thought needed encouragement or deserved recognition. Then he sent them cards.

What started as a way to cope with his grief has become a ministry touching countless lives.

For the past nine years, Kuchar, a member of St. Mary Parish, has been sending cards with hopeful messages to people in his parish and wider community.

He mails them homemade, handwritten cards that he creates using photographs of flowers that he grows around the house in which he and Helen raised their family.

He sends the cards to local students to recognize academic or athletic achievements or to someone he reads about who is struggling and needs encouragement. Some students have been so touched by his messages that they have invited him to their graduation parties, he said.

Cards also go to other members of the community to celebrate milestones like retirements or new jobs, to wish happy birthday or to say get well.

“If it’s somebody that’s ill, I’ll write a message that they aren’t alone, that God’s the greatest healer,” said Kuchar, who worked as a pharmacist until he retired at age 82.

“It’s been beneficial for me, it gave me a sense of worth and it made me get up in the morning and get busy because I was needed to help somebody,” Kuchar said. “But it wasn’t that I did it. It is God working through me. It’s surprising what comes up when I ask the Holy Spirit for help.”

Rita Clasemann gives Stanley Kuchar a hug after a visit. photo by Dianne Towalski

He’s lost track of the number of rolls of 100 stamps he has gone through.

“There’s hardly a week that goes by that someone doesn’t say to me, ‘I got a card from Stan,’” said Rita Clasemann, a former parish life coordinator at St. Mary’s.

Clasemann takes Communion to Kuchar most Sundays. Getting to Mass is a little harder for him these days, but he spends a tremendous amount of time in prayer, she said.

“I am quiet all day so I can pray for people,” he said. He watches the news in the morning and evening, but keeps the house quiet during the day for prayer.

Kuchar has been very active at St. Mary’s over the years, serving as a parish council member, trustee and choir member. He was one of the founding members of the parish’s bereavement committee and served on the RCIA team for a number of years, he said.

Now with his prayers and cards, Kuchar continues to touch people without even leaving his house, Clasemann said.

“Well, God through me,” Kuchar said. “It’s the Holy Spirit.”

Father Derek Wiechmann, pastor of the Four Pillars in Faith Area Catholic Community, which includes St. Mary’s, has received many cards from Kuchar.

“They’ve all been so encouraging and uplifting and just extending that, ‘I’m praying for you,’” he said. “And that means so much, because how often do we hear that in a day?”

Kuchar, is being Christ to others in his prayers and card ministry, Father Wiechmann said.

“The heart of the Eucharist, of course, is our Lord’s body and blood shared with us, and certainly this sharing should be a part of every aspect of our lives,” Father Wiechmann said. “When we receive the Eucharist, the graces flow through us and live in us so that everyone we meet, everyone we see, can see Jesus.”

The ministry is a fruit of Kuchar’s prayer life and how often he has received Jesus in the Eucharist, Father Wiechmann said.

“That charity, the fire of charity,” he said. “That’s a way that the heart of Jesus is described, and that charity then flows through Stanley.”

Author: Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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