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A Saint Among Us

Thomas S. Vander Woude:

Thomas S. Vander Woude, 66, died last week while helping his son Joseph, who has Down syndrome, after he fell into a septic tank while working in the yard, police said. The tank was eight to 10 feet deep, Steve Vander Woude said.

His father climbed into the 2-by-2-foot opening, managed to get under Joseph and was pushing him upward to keep his head above the sewage. Initially, Vander Woude was able to keep his own head above the muck, telling a workman who was helping from above, "You pull, I'll push," Steve Vander Woude said. But he eventually sank and was later pulled out by rescue workers, who were unable to revive him, Prince William County police said.

Joseph, 20, was hospitalized last week with pneumonia but was released Saturday and attended the Mass for his father in a wheelchair, connected to an oxygen tank. His family said doctors expect a full recovery. A few days after his father's death, Joseph's family sat with him in the hospital and explained to him that his father had died.

Upon hearing the news, Joseph "sat back . . . he closed his eyes, his chin quivered, and he started crying," Steve Vander Woude said. "I think he understands as much as he can right now."

Another of Thomas S. Vander Woude's sons, Tom Vander Woude, pastor at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Alexandria, gave the homily. In it, he likened his father to Saint Joseph, a man who patiently and quietly supported his family, did odd jobs for those in need and was content to worship God and not seek the limelight, Tom Vander Woude said.

The headline of the article---"Father Who Saved Son Is Remembered For Generosity"---is a ridiculous understatement, and a testament to the inability of the Left Wing Media to understand the world except through the lens of the Culture of Death they embrace and for which they advocate ceaselessly.

To them, a heroic act such as this is quite simply unthinkable. Joseph Vander Woude's life to them should have ended in utero, as 90% of children with Down's Syndrome's lives do. They lack the moral compass to begin to understand how a man like Thomas S. Vander Woude could climb down into filth in order to rescue his disabled son.

For the rest of us, we can understand such love and devotion on some level, because that is the love which God has shown us through Christ's sacrifice, and the sacrifices of the saints, of which Thomas S. Vander Woude is surely one.

May God bless and keep him forever, and look out for his son, Joseph, given the remarkable gift of life from his father in a way the rest of us fathers can only hope we'd be willing to give for our children's lives.

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Blogger Kate P said...

I'm amazed this story got attention, but that's good (albeit sad at the same time). My younger sister and many of her friends from college (with which he had a connection and which was closely associated with the homeschool) knew him and his family. The news was stunning to hear, and I knew of many people planning to attend his viewing and funeral, so the numbers didn't surprise me.

7:28 PM  

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