Becoming Part of the Family
Parents Discover a New Home in Christendom
On September 14, 1977, a handful of students gathered in a small classroom in Triangle, Va., to become part of a great adventure. Nearly forty years later, that handful of students has grown into a family of thousands: the Christendom College family, all connected by the similar goal of “restoring all things in Christ.” That notion of gaining not only a high-caliber education but also becoming a part of a vibrant, growing family attracted both students and their parents over the years, including the Deucher family of Pinehurst, N.C.
With twelve children, the Deucher family is already a “large” family—especially by the standards of today’s society. Why did the Deucher family desire to be a part of an even larger family? For them, the answer came through their experience of the college community.
“Christendom is a vibrant community that teaches its students a code of conduct, along with challenging them through academic rigor. My children entered as students, and left as soldiers, ready to restore all things in Christ. They became part of a family that we were all privileged to be able to join as a result, and I can’t thank the college enough for that privilege,” said Dr. Robert Deucher, father of the family.
Dr. Deucher, a medical doctor for Pinehurst Medical Clinic, and his wife, Beth, spent years homeschooling each of their twelve children, personally helping them grow both in knowledge and the Catholic Faith. When it came time to send their oldest daughter, Caroline, to college, the Deuchers wanted a place where their time and effort would not be stripped away by more secular institutions. To narrow their choices, they consulted the recently published Newman Guide for Choosing a Catholic College, which contained a shortlist of the best, most faithful Catholic colleges and universities in the nation—a list that prominently featured Christendom.
“We traveled to half a dozen of these Catholic schools, before visiting Christendom. When I stepped onto campus, particularly into Christ the King Chapel, for the first time, I truly felt the Lord’s presence. In that moment, I was struck by how everything that had been described to us about the campus was true,” said Dr. Deucher.
Since that visit, the Deuchers have seen their three oldest children—Caroline, Rebecca, and Peter—attend and graduate from the college. Each of them flourished, gaining a continued love of learning, as well as a sense of mission and service.
Peter is currently studying at Harvard University, while Rebecca is studying law at the Catholic University of America. Both Peter and Rebecca served in the college’s mission programs, and Caroline is currently teaching English in Japan. Most of all, the three of them continue to seek the Truth in all things and carry with them a Christian joy that they spread to all they meet—including their own family.
“Their education at Christendom has certainly made dinner conversations much more fruitful and interesting, for starters,” joked Dr. Deucher. “The kids are now able to educate us when they’re at home, thanks to their education in the Faith. They bring us current information, and help educate the younger kids as well. They’ve brought us into a larger family, one that I’ve been happy to represent at conferences and introduce to my friends.”
Dr. Deucher, who earned his own degrees from a secular institution, understands firsthand the stark differences between secular and Catholic institutions of higher learning, and the great need for Catholic institutions to continue to educate and train students long into the future—particularly in today’s troubled times. For that reason, he began to look for ways his family could help ensure that colleges, such as Christendom, would continue to flourish. Two years ago, he discovered one, in the very place that he first fell in love with Christendom: Christ the King Chapel.
While attending Rebecca’s graduation, Dr. Deucher realized that Christendom was quickly outgrowing its current chapel. After nearly forty years, the growth in the Christendom family had created the need for something larger, if the college was to continue in its mission of helping students grow in their Faith. Now, two years later, the Deucher family is helping make that dream a reality, by a generous gift to the Campaign for Christendom College.
“I’ve always loved the history of cathedrals—how people would sacrifice so much of their livelihoods toward the construction of one. That’s something that I believe we’ve lost in our society, and it’s something I want to try and bring back, through helping in the construction of the new Christ the King Chapel,” said Dr. Deucher.
The building, which will be double the size of the existing chapel, will sit on land recently purchased by the college and tower above one of Virginia’s major highways, I-66. With its new location, Dr. Deucher believes the chapel will bear incredible witness to God, in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
“The new chapel is something permanent that will positively affect people for generations, and ultimately will give greater glory to God, and give witness to Him, in a place that really is Heaven on earth,” he said.
“The Christendom family is getting bigger, and they need a place where they can come together and pray as a family. Helping build the chapel requires a sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice worth making,” said Dr. Deucher. “We, as a family, want to be a part of something that will be a House of God, where the Christendom family centers itself for years to come.”