Catholic Charities honors foster mom
By Wendy Foster For The Sun February 5, 2013 3:08PM
Nance Bruss with Bishop Siegel of Joliet Dioecese. | Submitted
Updated: March 2, 2013 11:59AM
Although she has no children of her own, Nance Bruss has had a significant impact on many children in the area for 30 years. Recently, the resident of Monarch Landing in Naperville was honored with the Catholic Charities 2012 Spirit of Charity Award.
In the 1980s Bruss became a foster parent for Catholic Charities, taking youth and teens into her home.
“I had just bought a house and had a couple of extra bedrooms,” she said. “I was encouraged by someone to see about having foster children. I went over to Catholic Charities, and said I was interested and they accepted me.”
Bruss fostered eight children during a period of 10 to 12 years.
“These children, who came with a set of problems I had never been exposed to, were still a wonderful joy,” she said. “They enriched my life. One of these children (now all adults with families of their own) still enriches my life today.”
When her aging mother came to live with her in 1990, she felt compelled to give up fostering children. Because of her devotion to Catholic Charities and its programs, she set up a scholarship, Having Opportunities for a Purposeful Education.
This scholarship helped about 25 to 30 young adults in Catholic Charities’ Foster Care Program to finance college educations.
When Catholic Charities ended their Foster Care Program, the scholarship was terminated, and Bruss looked for some other beneficiary of her generosity.
“I talked to the development person at Catholic Charities, and she gave me a list of needs,” she said. “One of them was for Lending Libraries for their Head Start Program.”
Bruss decided to help launch two lending libraries in Joliet.
“The libraries buy materials for parents to borrow and take home to help their children,” she said.
Bruss said she believes the lending libraries have the potential of having a tremendous impact on children’s lives.
“I am hoping that these two lending libraries will help the parents to help their children with literacy,” she said.
Bruss said she was humbled when she learned that Catholic Charities was honoring her with the Spirit of Charity Award.
“I felt that there were people who deserved the award more than I did,” she said. “I was so surprised when they called.”
Maggie Snow, PR and communications coordinator for Catholic Charities of the Joliet Diocese, says Bruss is more than deserving of the honor.
“The contributions that Ms. Bruss has made to Catholic Charities have been truly outstanding. As a foster parent, she enriched the lives of so many children by warmly welcoming them into her home and providing stability and love,” Snow said. “More recently, we opened the lending libraries at two of our Head Start sites, thanks to the generous donations of Ms. Bruss.
Snow says the libraries let children bring books home to read to their parents.
“This was a great need at Catholic Charities — filled by the kind and generous heart of Ms. Bruss,” Snow said.
“We are forever grateful for the difference she has made in the lives of our clients over the past 30 years. She is a great friend, and we treasure her.”
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