Editor’s note: “Love is the heart of marriage and family” is an ongoing series about families in the Diocese of Superior whose practice of their Catholicism is a public witness of their faith. To suggest a feature family, please contact Anita Draper at 715-394-0213, ext. 2213.
Catholic Herald Staff
Humor, faith and a strong Catholic support system form the foundation of one Superior family.
Meghan and Brett Jones are members of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior. The couple has six children: Aidan, 12; Emma, 10; Gianna, 8; Veronica, 5; Felicity, 3; and Marciana, 9 months.
Advocates of natural family planning, they are a teaching couple for others wanting to learn. They serve their own parish as well as the wider church – Meghan is a cantor at the cathedral, and the older children are altar servers.
Brett and Meghan were both raised in South Dakota. They lived in Texas for seven years, where the couple blossomed into a family.
“We moved there right after we got married in 2000,” Brett said June 4, “14 years ago yesterday.”
They relocated to the Superior area seven years ago for Brett’s job. He is an associate professor of percussion at UW-Superior, and Meghan homeschools the children.
“I think it was one of the kinds of decisions that took five years to make,” he said of their opting to provide education at home.
To Meghan, it felt unnatural to pack up the kids and send them off to school so young. One of Brett’s professors in Texas homeschooled his children, which also influenced their decision.
Plus, the parents wanted to share their Catholicism.
“We try to pass on our faith through homeschooling,” Meghan said. “Our goal is getting the kids to know our faith isn’t separate.
“There’s a good core of Catholic homeschoolers in the area,” she added, then joked, “There are days when I try to flag the bus down as it passes.”
The family prays together each night, and maintaining friendships with fellow Catholics is an inspiration to them as well. They try “to encourage each other in the walk,” Brett said.
They also strive to build relationships with priests and seminarians.
During the family’s annual New Year’s Eve party, Fr. Andrew Ricci, rector of the Cathedral, celebrates Mass at their home, and the children – much to their delight – are allowed to stay up until midnight.
A few years ago, the Joneses bought a fixer-upper near Pattison State Park, in rural Superior. The house was vacant for several years before they moved in, and they’ve been busy with building projects ever since.
It’s been a learning experience, Meghan said. When they saw the first mouse, they thought he was cute.
Forty-two (expired) mice later, they stopped counting. They’d even started naming their visitors: Houdini Mouse was an accomplished escape artist; Gluten-Free Mouse had a preference for non-glutinous grains.
Now, their three cats deter invaders, and the chicken coop is full of fowl.
“We love it here,” Meghan said. “We like living out of town.”
Unfortunately, they aren’t quite as green-thumbed as they’d hoped.
“We just garden. We don’t grow anything,” Brett joked.
“Not even the weeds grow,” Meghan added with a grin. The family gets “sympathy squash” from their more horticulturally inclined neighbors.
The family’s other hobbies include reading, outdoor recreation, karate, and “killing stuff,” Brett says with a laugh – deer and squirrel hunting.
“The kids are big readers,” Meghan added. “We like to read out loud as a family.”
This summer, Brett plans to finish building the deck with help from Aidan.
While Meghan plans a year’s worth of lessons, Brett will be teaching a world music class for four weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland. Emma and Aidan are traveling with him.
“They have to sit through my lectures, take notes,” he joked.
Other plans for the summer?
“We’ll hopefully actually grow something in the garden,” Meghan said. “That would be nice.”