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Couple’s family, faith go hand in hand

Green Bay — When it comes to the history of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Bay Settlement, there is one family whose name has been synonymous with the parish for more than a century. Meet the Jadins.

"It was just 10 years ago when I first moved off the road where I had lived my entire life ," said Joan Jadin in reference to her 60-plus years on Bay Settlement Road.

Joan has nothing but fond memories of her grandmother and said that it was she who emphasized the importance of the Catholic faith while Joan and her brothers and sisters were growing up.

Norb and Joan Jadin (Rick Evans For The Compass)

"I can remember Grandma Odile always leading us in the rosary. We learned by observing what our parents and grandparents did," said Joan.

An interesting part of Joan's family history is that her grandmother, Odile Le Mieux, had the Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua built in 1925. According to Joan, her grandmother had a special devotion to St. Anthony. The small limestone structure, which is now on the wooded grounds of UW-Green Bay, was a place for her to pray as she could no longer make it to church in her old age.

"It was also built so that her son, Fr. Ed Le Mieux who was a diocesan priest, would have a place to pray just down the ridge when he would come home," Joan told the Compass.

To this day the Jadin family still keeps the chapel in the woods going in cooperation with the maintenance crew at the university. It is favorite spot for Norb and Joan to visit during the summer months after Saturday evening Mass at Holy Cross.

Norb Jadin was born and raised in nearby Holy Martyrs of Gorcum Parish (now Prince of Peace Parish). In 2008, he wrote a book called "Growing up on the Farm." The 120-plus page book details Norb's first ten years of life on his family's dairy farm the 1930s and '40s.

Norb and Joan met on a blind date at a Valentine's dance at Central Catholic High School. They were married in April of 1955 at Holy Cross. At the time, Norb was finishing his studies in business at St. Norbert College.

Norb and Joan have four sons and two daughters. The couple is very proud and grateful for the fact that all their children and their respective families are involved in some way in their own local parishes.

"Education was very important for us," said Norb. "We had all our kids go to Holy Cross Grade School and we were very heavily involved in the parish as the kids were growing up."

That involvement for Norb and Joan has included being active members of the school board, the choir and serving as lectors and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, among other things.

They noted that the Jadin clan, which now includes 16 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, gets together several times a year. This includes Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day. However, everyone in the family, young and old, looks most forward to their annual Christmas celebration.

Since 1991 all the extended family has gathered together each December at an area hotel to celebrate Christmas. This celebration includes a Christmas pageant which features the grandkids as the cast in the Nativity scene.

"It was Thanksgiving of that year (1991) when we had all the family over at our house and it was a madhouse with everybody running around and everything going on. We agreed that maybe we should bring some order to these gatherings. So that was the inspiration for the Christmas program," recalled Norb.

While Norb does the narration, Joan has been in charge of organizing the family choir for the annual pageant. Each year she puts together a program booklet for the event which includes the music to be sung as well photos and memories of the year gone by.

"The grandkids always look forward to it," said Joan.

With more than 55 years of marriage, Norb and Joan said they are thankful for all the family blessings that they have received over the years. They noted that it hasn't always been easy but love conquers a lot.

"We've taken it one day at a time with lots of prayers," said Joan.

"I would say the secret to our longevity is having a short memory," added Norb with a laugh.

Reprinted with permission from the The Compass. Story by Eddie O'Neill. Photos by Rick Evans.

The Compass newspaper offers a lively mix of local, national and international Catholic news along with columns, spiritual reflections, and weekly Scripture readings. In the last 10 years, The Compass has received more than 33 CPA awards. For subscription information, please click here.

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