family of fice at the botanic garden

Meet the Floeders! Crystal grew up near Elmhurst, Illinois, while Bernard is from Minneapolis, MN. The two met while on a car ride back from Chicago to the University of Notre Dame where they both attended school. One of Bernard’s roommates, who happened to be a mutual friend of Crystal’s, set up the meeting… From there they stayed in touch and began dating in 2016! After getting married in 2018, the couple have three children: Solomon (4), Violet (3) and Maisie (1.5).  

What role does your faith play in your family life?

Faith for us is everything. We begin our day with a morning offering and try to remember Jesus and Mary in little ways throughout our day. We also try to go to Mass everyday and revolve our schedule around that. 

As a family, we try to help each other remember that we are each a “child of God” and because of that, we each have to respect each other and show love through our words, deeds, and actions towards one another. 

What religious traditions do you have as a family?

We try to live as liturgically as possible by celebrating feast days and other fun days that the Church celebrates. We do this by eating a specific food that relates to that Saint or special feast day. We try our very best to go to daily Mass and visit the adoration chapel once a week where the kids get to take a new prayer card after we say “hello” to Jesus in the tabernacle. 

On Sundays, my husband or I, will read from the Bible to prepare the kids for that Mass’ readings, or we visit a chapter from the Old Testament. We try to say the family rosary together.

Share a moment when the Blessed Mother has helped you through a difficult time.

My husband and I have experienced two miscarriages which were both very difficult for us to go through. My most recent miscarriage proved to be more emotionally and physically difficult than I had experienced before because of the circumstance and medical intervention needed. My husband and I asked Our Lady for peace and guidance not only for comforting us in that trying time, but also to help us be more open to what God was asking of us as parents. 

Since then, we have received many insights on ways to better our family life and paths we should explore that require us to be more daring and trusting of God’s love. We rely on Our Lady for many things both big and small, and she always answers us in a way that is best for everyone. 

How would you like your children to remember Mary in their day-to-day life?

I want my children to remember that we always say “Hi, Mom!” to Our Lady whenever we see a picture of her in a room in our house or a statue at Church, etc. We should always talk to her as if she were our true mother and friend. 

I would like them to know that she really understands them, that she is timeless, and she loves them more than I could love them. We, of course, want them to also remember how we pray the rosary and how we take great joy in getting a new rosary and treating it well. 

What about your faith do you hope to impart on your children?

We want our kids to know that the faith is true, beautiful and when lived well, gives you more freedom. As we say in our household, “When you listen to the truth, you have more real freedom, and when you have more real freedom, you have more fun.”

We would tell them that God wants them to be happy and have a full, fruitful life, but they may experience suffering. That suffering is not bad, and it doesn’t mean that God has left us. 

Lastly, we would want them to know that they should always talk to God as the best friend they could ever have. When I learned this in my own life, I felt a true confidence and peace that I had never experienced. It is life changing!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about how Our Lady has impacted your life?

I remember praying to Our Lady during the Immaculate Conception novena asking her to help me discover my vocation. Ten years later, and I can say that the clarity she gave me to say “yes” to what God was asking of me, forever changed my life for the better. 

The year prior, she also helped me make a truly life changing decision of leaving a University I was set to attend and make my way to South Bend for school. I owe meeting my husband, all my dearest friendships, my career, and my children all to her intercession and guidance in the decision I made years ago. She is always there for me, and she does not give up on me!