St. Herman Joseph/Ron Schlautman
Humbly serving others
Saint Herman Joseph was born in Cologne, Germany in 1150. He was the son of very poor parents who at one time had been rich. At the age of seven, Herman began attending school and developed a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin that he maintained his entire life. Living in poverty, he would often go barefoot in the snow. One day he came to pray before a statue of Mary, with his bare feet blue from the cold. “Herman,” said Our Lady, “why do you go barefoot when it is so cold?” “Because, my Mother, I have no shoes, for my parents are poor,” he replied. “Go to that stone,” Mary told him, “and you will find all the money you need for shoes.” The child went and found the price of his shoes as Our Lady had told him, and returned to thank her.
At the age of 12, Herman entered the monastery at Steinfeld, Germany where he became known for living a life of prayer. When he was old enough, he was accepted into the Order and was assigned the humble task of waiting on tables in the refectory. Later, he was appointed sacristan as well as maintaining the grounds of the Order and other various tasks. St. Herman Joseph humbly accepted these roles. He loved his faith, and loved quietly performing maintenance tasks to ensure that all went well at the Order. Another such servant was Ron Schlautman.
Ron Schlautman was a true steward who believed that God abundantly blessed his life and he wanted to pass along those blessings to others through his service in the community. Whether it was servicing and fixing Catholic Social Services’ donated vehicles, painting and setting up furniture at St. Gianna Women’s Homes, or lawn work, snow removal and maintenance and repair work at CSS facilities – Ron made a huge impact volunteering his time and talent at CSS.
Born in West Point, NE on December 28, 1946, Ron lived on the family farm just outside of Howells where he graduated from Howells High School in 1965. About a year later, Ron enlisted to serve our country in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Air Force. In addition to protecting our country, he also participated in rescue and humanitarian missions. Upon his return from Vietnam, he was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, NE. It was during this time in Omaha that he met his future wife, Theresa Stracke. They were married in St. Leonard's Catholic Church in Madison, NE on August 22, 1970 and were married over 50 years. In 2010 Ron began his "second career" of volunteering. Not only did he volunteer at CSS and St. Gianna’s, he also was a regular fixture at Cathedral of the Risen Christ (making altar candles, serving as youth group leader, usher, acolyte, Knights of Columbus, Light of the World leader, and RCIA sponsor).
One of Ron and Theresa’s children, Carla Crist, shared that “Dad felt that God abundantly blessed his life and he wanted to pass those blessings on to others through his service. Dad identified with the mission of CSS and the goal of making life better for others. He knew that what might seem a small gesture to us could make a huge difference to those in need and modeled this selfless service to his family and friends.” His “servant’s heart” now lives on through the work of CSS. Ron passed away on January 7, 2021. Eternal rest grant unto you, Ron, and thank you for being a selfless friend and volunteer to CSS over the years!