1/12/2014 10:30:00 AM From one generation to the next - compassion for others
St. Anthony School photo
The Wasman family of St. Anthony in Tigard: Parents Tim and Michelle with Thomas, John, Robert and Anne.
TIGARD — Giving is not a seasonal thing for the Wasman family. It began long before Tim and Michele Wasman moved to the Tigard area in 2000 and joined St. Anthony Parish and School here.
“Find a good Catholic school and we’ll build our life around that” were the instructions Michele gave Tim before he traveled from their home in Bloomfield, Mich. to “scout” for their new home in Oregon. Tim’s giving nature stems from his Orlando, Fla. upbringing by parents Robert and Ann Wasman and Tim’s nine other siblings. They were not a family of means, but they never wanted for the necessities.
If matriarch Ann noticed someone along side the road looking a bit haggard, she would stop and ask if they were hungry, taking them home for a meal. It was not uncommon for her to spot someone walking down their street and sending one of her brood out with sandwich and milk in hand for the stranger. A 13th place setting was not untypical at their already cramped dinner table.
Robert and Ann taught their children to pray the Rosary before a statute of our Blessed Mother which Tim holds vivid in his memory. With all the responsibilities she had at home, Ann always found time to volunteer at the church or help the elderly.
To this day, at age 85, she continues her volunteering at the church.
Michele’s mom, Mary Henderson, set the same example for her four children. Mary was head nurse of an AIDS ward of a hospital that also cared for patients who were mentally ill and inmates from corrections facilities. If she worked with a patient who wanted for basic necessities, out of her own pocket she would provide them with toiletries and other sundries. Mary felt they were entitled to the same sense of dignity and worth as anybody else.
Tim and Michele have been raising their four children — Robert, 21; John, 18; Thomas, 16; and Anne, 12 — with the same sense of responsibility and desire to help others in need. As Michele puts it, “We try to stay open to the call and answer it.”
Beyond attending Mass every Sunday, praying before meals (including at restaurants), they love the Blessed Mother. On that rare occasion they do not make it to Mass, Tim will put a fire in the hearth and the family prays the rosary together.
“I can count on one hand the times I’ve missed Mass,” says Robert. If his schedule does not allow him to attend with the rest of the family, he will jump into his pickup and head to Mass by himself. All have been altar servers at St. Anthony Church. To this day, if the boys see a need at Mass either as an altar server or in some other way, they step up to help.
At their respective birthdays, Anne, John and Thomas have opted for attendees to bring gifts for others — canned food or money for St. Vincent DePaul. A “Christmas Jar” resides in their kitchen year-round and then given secretly to a family in need.
When Anne was small, the family adopted John, an elderly gentleman devoted to the same things as the family – our Blessed Mother and the Catholic faith. After John was brought to the house on a first visit by Michele, “He became part of our family.”
Tim and Michele encourage the children to pray daily and allow God to use them to help others in need. During Tim’s Chicago trips, he’ll buy an extra meal and have it placed in a “go bag,” and delivers it to someone sleeping on the sidewalk or asking for money. One day, moved by the Holy Spirit to help a man and his family on the street, with the family in the car, Tim stopped and gave the man money and then watched as he immediately took his family into a nearby restaurant.
Tim and Michele are passing these same values, same examples of living on to their children. And their children will pass on to the fourth generation of Wasmans a love of their Catholic faith and giving to others.
A theme of their lives comes from the Letter to the Hebrews: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”