Rita Rupiper counts blessings: 100 years old, 79 years with CDA
June 10, 2013
Rita Ruiper (front, left) last week received a vase of roses from Catholic Daughters of the Americas St. Rose of Lima chapter co-regent Twilla Hoffman. Visiting Rita wer (back, from left) daughters Deb Quandt, Karen Hess and Joan Hannasch and son Jerry Rupiper. Rita celebrated her 100th birthday on May 22 and has been a Catholic Daughtters member 79 years.
Rita Rupiper has a few thoughts to live by.
Religion comes first in life.
Savor the beauty of the family.
Have a good attitude.
Life is what you make it.
Putting those thoughts to practice have taken Rupiper a long way, producing a rich, fulfilling life.
Last month, in celebration of her 100th birthday on May 22, she was showered with love of her family, as 122 out of her 134 descendants came for the party that featured a cookout, refreshments and music at the home of her son Jerry Rupiper and his wife, Reen, near Roselle. Large contingents came from California and Tennessee. Some traveled from as far as Australia and Paris, France.
Religion has been the foundation for Rita throughout life. She was baptized in Sacred Heart Church in Templeton. The third-youngest of John and Gertrude (Fox) Horbach's eight children, she grew up in a home where faith was utmost priority, and she's impressed that on her children as well.
Rita was honored last week by Catholic Daughters of the Americas St. Rose of Lima chapter. Chapter co-regent Twilla Hoffman delivered a vase of red roses to Rita at SunnyBrook Assisted Living in Carroll, where she's lived nearly four years. Jerry Rupiper and Rita's daughters Joan Hannasch, Karen Hess and Deb Quandt were on hand for the presentation. Not only did Rita just turn 100, she's been a member of Catholic Daughters for 79 years.
The Catholic Daughters website says the organization donates to charities, administer scholarship programs and strive "to be helping hands where there is pain, poverty, sorrow or sickness." The CDA motto is "Unity and Charity." Co-regent Hoffman says members engage in creative and spiritual programs that give them the chance to develop their God-given talents. The organization also supports priests and seminarians. The St. Rose of Lima chapter, which was chartered in 1904, has 167 members.
Over the years, Rita has enjoyed the friendship of CDA members and the opportunity to further express her faith. She's also been a member of Holy Angels Altar Society in Roselle Serra Club in Carroll and Legion of Mary in Carroll.
"Religion has meant so much to me," Rita said in a recent interview at SunnyBrook.
Deb Quandt and Jerry Rupiper were visiting their mom that day, and they talked about her serving as a role model in matters of family, religion and hard work.
Jerry says, "I think the key thing here is stressing family and getting along with each other. Don't be greedy. Say prayers before and after every meal. And we ate every meal together. And every night at a quarter to 7, you came home from chores and you hit the deck. You were on the hardwood floor kneeling, praying the rosary."
The family lived by the schedule of the rosary program on radio.
"It didn't matter what age you were, and it included Dad," Jerry recalls.
Quandt says everybody had to kneel up-straight - no leaning against furniture.
"She's a very faith-oriented mother, as was dad and the families around us when we were growing up. You didn't miss Mass," Jerry says.
Rita and Norbert Rupiper, son of Frank and Mary (Steffes) Rupiper, met at a dance and married on April 24, 1934. They lived on a farm near Lidderdale for four years before moving to Norbert's home farm near Roselle. They moved to Carroll in 1989 after Norbert retired from farming.
Rita and Norbert's six daughters and two sons all attended Holy Angels Catholic School in Roselle and then graduated from Catholic high school. They are Karen (Mrs. Bill) Hess, Joan Hannasch, Jerry Rupiper (wife Reen), Deb (Mrs. Dave) Quandt, all of Carroll; Lois (Mrs. Dennis Eischeid of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Gayle (Mrs. Lynn) Brinker of Santa Rosa, Calif.; Maribeth Arthur of Waterloo; and the late Father Darrell Rupiper. Jerry and Reen live on the farm near Roselle where Norbert and Rita moved in 1938.
For Rita, it was a dream-come-true when son Darrell became a priest, serving in the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Rita recalled that when an Oblate recruiter who visited locally asked Darrell, who was in grade school at the time, how long he had thought about becoming a priest, Darrell replied, "Since I was 3 years old."
Father Darrell presided at numerous ceremonies for the family - such as baptisms and weddings, plus the funeral of his father.
Rita and Norbert knew tough times - the Great Depression and World War II. But everybody was in the same boat, she says, and people helped each other. Rita herself grew up in the days of Model T cars and no indoor bathrooms. Water was pumped from a cistern and heated over cobs in a cast-iron pot, then dumped into a washing machine to clean clothes. Rita milked cows by hand from the time she was 6 years old. On the farm, everybody in the family worked. Rita picked corn by hand, taking a horse-pulled wagon into the fields.
Son Jerry observed that a dump wagon on a combine today may hold 1,200 bushels and can be filled in short time.
"That's what it would take a couple of days to pick corn (by hand)," he says.
Jerry says he took his mom on a country drive recently and she marveled over the huge machinery and scores of wind turbines across the landscape.
Rita moved into SunnyBrook in August 2009, just about a year after the facility opened. She raves about the care, comfort and attractiveness of SunnyBrook. She enjoys card games and visits with fellow residents. And she especially enjoys opportunities SunnyBrook provides for residents to practice their faith. Rita leads the rosary-based Chaplet of Divine Mercy. On a couple of Fridays each month, a priest visits to celebrate Mass. Last Friday morning, a social room next to Rita's apartment was set up for celebration of Mass. Rita was reminded that the service would be starting soon.
"Good," she said. "I'm ready."
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