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Love letters to Father Naus

He was always faithful, never at a loss for words, forever fatherly and loving, had a God-given gift for creating an infinity of smiles and laughter, and he was loved  deeply. Thank you, Father John Naus, S.J.

Excerpts from love letters you sent in care of Marquette Magazine.



My wife, Mary (Corrigan) Cary, Nurs ’72, used to say it best: “Father Naus is worth the price of tuition at Marquette.”

John Cary, Sp ’73
--
I was fortunate to have Father Naus as my academic adviser my freshman and sophomore years. I fondly remember sitting in his office in O’Hara Hall and telling jokes back and forth. The entire conversation we were both beaming with delight. Father Naus had a fantastic sense of humor and always made me feel incredibly special. I know that he’s in a better place, but I can’t help but miss such a kind and gentle man. He was truly one of a kind.

Jason R. Adams, Arts ’02
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I know I’m supposed to be sad. But as I remember him, I can only laugh with great memories and stand in awe of the love that radiated from that man.”

David C. Vaillancourt, Bus Ad ’85
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I am certain everyone in heaven has already learned the Wisconsin handshake in his short time there. Rest in peace, dear friend.

Tom Burke, Arts ’77
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He helped me when I was a struggling freshman; he helped me be a better RA and person.

Julio Rivera, Jour ’86
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As Warriors and Golden Eagles, we challenge ourselves to Be The Difference. Father Naus was the difference and, for me, will always be. Thank you, Father Naus, and MU for being the difference in my life.

Toni Ihler, Arts ’81
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So many memories of Father Naus  from Tumbleweed the Clown to his greeting of prospective students. Naus Christmas card notes dot my office, home and even bathroom mirror. Marquette and the world are a better place, thanks to John Naus.

Jerry Voors, Bus Ad ’82
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Father Naus and his Tuesday night Masses are a big reason I decided to become Catholic my junior year. His faith, love and compassion were beyond inspiring.

Haley Jackson, Comm ’13
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The beginning of my senior year, I learned that my dad had terminal cancer and might not live to see me graduate. Father Naus encouraged me, prayed for me  his Saturday night Masses became a staple in my life. Had he not taken the time to listen to me, cry with me, share with me, I wouldn’t have finished the year. My dad couldn’t come to graduation. He died three weeks after I graduated, but due in large part to Father Naus, I got to spend those last three weeks with my dad as a Marquette alum, which meant a lot to both of us.

Lynn Carter, Grad ’91
--
I have never met anyone else in my entire life whose absolute favorite thing to do was to make other people feel good about themselves.

Kevin Deters, Comm ’04
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I was a sophomore and went to Schroeder Hall chapel one week-night for Mass with Father Naus, but I was the only one who showed up. I told him I was worried I wouldn’t know what to do as the sole congregant. “Life is too short to worry,” he said. My personal Mass with Father Naus is a beautiful Marquette memory.

Shelley (Michelle) Spong Daily, Comm ’91
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Father Naus and Marquette are synonymous for me. I may have skipped a class, skipped a party, skipped a study session. But I cannot remember ever skipping Tuesday night Mass at St. Joan of Arc Chapel.

Holly (Gallegos) Dreier, Bus Ad ’00
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Gratitude is what I feel most today. Gratitude for his songs, the jokes and the joy he exuded. Gratitude for bringing us together in prayer and friendship every Tuesday night. Gratitude for him having seen on our foreheads, “Make us feel important,” and every time we saw him, he did just that.

Dan Maciejewski, Arts ’07
--
Father Naus had a way of making everyone he met feel better about themselves, better about others, better about life. He had a way of putting everything in perspective. He told me, “My Grandma Naus used to say ‘Do your best and leave the rest.’” I will miss Father Naus, Marquette will miss Father Naus, humanity will miss Father Naus. Smile at every stranger you pass this week  Father Naus would have liked that.

Tim Trecek, Law ’93
--
I remember the midnight Masses in Schroeder Hall and still have the letters and Christmas cards that followed me through my time in the Army and across four continents.

Kevin Kulwicki, Eng ’92
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Arriving at Schroeder Hall for midnight Mass, I found Father Naus in a vestment bedecked with clown faces. He handed me balloons and had me start blowing them up. I asked: “What’s with the balloons and the clown faces on the vestments?” He replied: “The theme of Mass tonight is Christ the clown. While Christ is God’s son, by taking human form he also embraced all things human, including a sense of humor.” Wow, talk about profound.

Gene Young, Sp ’77
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I knew this day would come and am both sad for our loss yet so grateful for the smiles, support and guidance we received from Father Naus. While I write this, I can see the quote he shared with so many hanging on my office door: “We rarely succeed at anything unless we have fun doing it.”

Dan Staddler, M.D., Arts ’86
--
In November 1966, I was rushed to St. Michael’s Hospital for an emergency appendectomy. When I woke in the recovery room, there was Father Naus’ big smiling face. I asked him if I was in heaven. He smiled and said, “Not quite.” He told me he had spoken with my folks in New Jersey and assured them everything was alright.

Joe Amatuzzi, Arts ’68
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I was in communication with Father Naus just days before his passing. He was busy as ever sending cards and notes to congratulate me on my upcoming wedding and to remind me how to live in the footsteps of Christ. I will just follow those footsteps left by Father Naus and they will lead the way.

Christian “Chip” Guy
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I was a foreign student that stayed on campus for Thanksgiving weekend. We would all go to the kitchen and help him prepare the food and then greet all the homeless that waited for his saying grace.

Apichard Andrew Wangsatorntanakhun, Eng ’71
--
One day he gave me a copy of “The Clown’s Prayer.” The prayer ends with the line: “When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.” I know Father Naus heard that in his final moment. Thank you to all who’ve shared memories of this great man; you make me realize why I love Marquette so much.

Karen Tegtmeyer, Arts ’92

See every memory, treasured videos and news about the Father Naus Scholarship Fund at go.mu.edu/remembering-naus.


Comments


Comment by Jim Gassert at Oct 31 2013 02:26 pm
.I was going through a very difficult time towards the end of my time at MU. Father Naus sensed this and without ever asking what the issue was he put his arms around my shoulders and and said let me take you to my My mother's for dinner tonight. That wonderful act of kindness I shall never forget. How could anyone forget walking with a truly Cristlike Man as Fr. Naus. I morn him and celebrate him. Jim Gassert '68
Comment by DON GOEPPNER MARQ EVANS SCHOLAR ALUM '73 at Oct 31 2013 02:44 pm
FR JOHN "TUMBLEWEED) NAUS WAS TRULY A GREAT
MAN OF THE CLOTH AS WELL AS OF THE PEOPLE THAT HE SERVED ALONG THE WAY. I CAN FIND NO BETTER AMBASSADOR FOR THE JESUIT ORDER AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC FAITH AS FR. NAUS. AS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE CHICK EVANS SCHOLAR
FRATERNITY AT MARQUETTE, FR NAUS WAS AS LOYAL TO OUR ORGANIZATION AS MUCH AS ANY OF MY FELLOW ALUMS ON AND OFF CAMPUS. DON ( LEO T.) GOEPPNER MARQ BUS AD 1973 ORLAND PARK ILLINOIS
Comment by Joe Slezak at Nov 01 2013 02:51 pm
Father Naus taught me that the real meaning of the Catholic Faith is in the spontaneous celebration of the human spirit in any format. His dynamic gentleness was like a puff of fresh air that slapped you in the face to remind you to let go of your restrictions and join in with the wide diversity of people at Marquette. Father John had a wild spirit that was experimental and contagious. I always worried that he might get kicked out of the ministry because he was so progressive and ahead of his time as free thinker and model builder of human partnerships. I have no doubt that Father Naus will shake up the "structure" of heaven now that he is there!
Comment by Gregg Abramson at Dec 01 2013 05:26 pm
Father Naus was my instructor for Phil-50 back in 1986 or 87, don't remember. He was always making cracks about "you Marquettes" , referring to some Beer drinking event he knew we were at, and perhaps he was there as well...
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