Indiana families welcome french exchange students

Published by The Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana • The Catholic Moment • front page • November 25, 2018

France and America have a strong and profound history of friendship, particularly in Indiana. St. Theodore Guerin was born in France in 1798, laid to rest in Indiana in 1856 and canonized in 2006.

The first and only Indiana saint has numerous namesake schools, patronages, tributes and awards, including a memorial highway sign along U.S. Route 150 in her honor.

The co-patron of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana words might be more prevalent today than ever before: “Love the chil- dren first, then teach them.”

Some northcentral Indiana families whose children attend St. Theodore Guerin High School in Noblesville and Central Catholic Junior- Senior High School in Lafayette have put the words of St. Theodore Guerin into action by opening their hearts and their homes to “Inspired Gateways” French Catholic exchange students.

The primary role of a host family is to share the Catholic faith with the next generation of leaders, and to be willing to discover common values and history that bring prominence to the Universal Church.

David and Teresa Cramer, parishioners of St. Lawrence Church, Lafayette, responded to the opportunity to share their faith. The Cramers were the first French Catholic host family in Central Catholic history. Because they hosted foreign exchange students previously, and had traveled to visit their older son who studied at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, they wanted to provide a unique opportunity for their younger son.
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We could not have received a more wonderful gift’ (Continued from Page 1)
For their younger son to learn about French culture. The Cramers took their
French exchange student, Archibald Lecointre, to Chicago to experience various sights and sounds, including a jazz musician; and they attended a Pacers game when native French- man Nicholas Batum and the Charlotte Hornets played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. “We thoroughly enjoyed every day with Archibald,” David Cramer said. “It was like leaving my own family when I left
Indiana,” Archibald said, “I hope the Cramers will come to France.”

Maggie and Paul Hunkler, from St. Maria Goretti Parish in Westfield, hosted Clementine Crussol. “It was a very special month for the Hunckler fam- ily and we could not have received a more wonderful gift than to spend it with Clementine, especially Thanksgiving,” Paul Hunkler said. One unexpected result from their experience was the invitation that their daughter, Danielle, a student at Guerin Catholic High School, received to visit France. The international trip expanded the girls’ friendship. Being a host family helped their family grow, learn and make connections that otherwise would not have happened.

The hardest part for the Mosters was saying good- bye when it was time for the visiting students to go back to France. However, their daughter, Caroline, and son, Ethan, traveled to France to stay with their French companions over the summer.
“The experience changed the trajectory of our family life,” Brenda Moster said. “We could never have pro- vided a trip to France for our kids without the friendships they cultivated. This was so much more than vacationing in France on our own!”
The most impactful part of hosting for the Moster family was sharing their faith.

When Tamara and Jimmy Dulin, parishioners at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Carmel, said “yes” to hosting a French Catholic student, they never realized the generosity of friendships and travel opportunities that would emerge.
During the summer of 2018, their daughter Ali, a junior at Guerin Catholic, spent one week in France with the family of Maylis Luzzatto-Guiliani.
It was such an incredible experience that the Dulins felt called to host another French Catholic student in the fall of 2018.
In the summer of 2019, Ali will travel back to France and Italy for two months and visit Maylis’ grand- mother on Lake Como, in Italy.

James McNeany, principal of Guerin Catholic High School, said, “The partner- ship between ‘Inspired Gate- ways’ and Guerin Catholic High School has been a blessing to our school. It is part of our mission state- ment to be committed to serving diverse backgrounds which serves the greater Church and enriches our overall school environment.” While in Indiana, some French Catholic students also visit the Shrine of St. Theodore Guerin, located at the motherhouse of the Sis- ters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, near Terre Haute.

It is good and holy to remember the words of St. Theodore Guerin: “You will be happy yourself in making other happy.”
St. Theodore Guerin, pray for us!

Kerin Buntin has a master’s degree in pastoral theology and can be reached on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or at info@ PeaceLovePilgrimage.com.

 

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