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Two men to be ordained to transitional diaconate

Mother donates her special talent to schools

The Catholic Voice

Terry Wiese, pictured in front of portraits she sketched for the eighth grade class at St. Thomas More School in Omaha, didn't let her disability keep her from becoming involved in her children's school. Instead, she donated her time and artistic talent to beautify the school and make the students smile. (Photo by Lisa Schulte)

Terry Wiese hasn't let a disability keep her from sharing her talents with her children's schools.

Born with osteogenesis imperfecta or 'brittle bone" disorder and confined to using crutches and at times a wheelchair, the 46-year-old is limited with what she can do physically, but creatively, her gifts are limitless.

Last year, Wiese offered to share her artistic skills by sketching the senior class at Mount Michael Benedictine High School in Elkhorn and the eighth grade class at St. Thomas More School in Omaha. She did it again this year, too.

Her son, Aaron, is a junior at Mount Michael, and her children, Amanda, Joseph and John Paul, attend St. Thomas More. She and her husband, Brad, also have two young boys at home "“ Daniel and Timmy. They have been members of St. Thomas More Parish for 14 years.

'Everybody volunteers here and I couldn't volunteer. I just felt like I was almost using the school and I can't be that way. I have to be a part of things," Wiese told The Catholic Voice.

The former teacher had sketched eighth-graders and confirmation students when she taught in Des Moines, Iowa, over 20 years ago and thought she could apply herself that same way here in Nebraska.

'I thought, "˜I can do that,'" said Wiese, who normally sells her sketches for $75 each. 'The kids just loved it and the parents loved it, too."

Wiese devoted six months to sketching chalk and charcoal portraits and spent three months working with each school.

From November through January, she traveled to Mount Michael and spent up to two hours three evenings a week sketching the seniors' portraits. There were 30 seniors last year and 46 this year. Then, from February through April, she worked on the St. Thomas More students, who gave her photographs of themselves for her to sketch at home. This year there are 46 eighth-graders.

Today, the portraits hang in a hallway at St. Thomas More. The young men at Mount Michael gave their portraits to their mothers around Valentine's Day.

'With her disabilities and her many children, to schedule that and find time for all of that, that's truly a sacrifice on her part, and also a tremendous gift to the school that she is willing to share that talent with us," said Roseanne Williby, principal at St. Thomas More. 'And for those children, that is a wonderful keepsake for them."

For Wiese, who had home schooled her children until last year, creating the portraits has allowed her to meet other parents and teachers at both St. Thomas More and Mount Michael. Plus it makes her feel good to be able to donate her time and talents in such a unique way.

'Parents have to ask themselves what they can do. Can you paint fingernails? Can you tell good stories? Are you good at telling jokes? It doesn't matter what the gift is," Wiese said. 'You've just got to get it out there and share it."


Contact Terry Wiese at 932-1988.

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