Audrey Clare Werle entered eternal life in the early morning hours Wednesday, August 24, 2022.
As a memorial to Audrey, please add your stories about her in the comments section below. We will gather these stories for a Celebration of Life, to be held at a later date.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to the mental health organization of your choice.
Audrey was preceded in death by her parents, Alvin and Eleanor (Schulte) Lucking, five sisters: Marie (William) Kleiman, Eleanor (Joseph) Wintering, Adaline (Leonard) Partusch, Dorothy Lucking, Dolores (Thomas) Bowles, and one grandson, James Werle.
She is survived by her husband of 71 years, William Cyril Werle, and her children: Joseph (Patricia) Werle, John (Paula) Werle, Mary Louise (Kenneth) Norman.
Her spirit also lives on in her grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Angela (Andrew) Lucas (Wyatt, Delia), Nicholas Werle, Michael Werle, Benjamin Werle; Megan (Gregg) Edwards (Grant, Garrison, Jackson, Gwen), Peter (Laura) Werle (Winnifred, Isabel), Colleen (Paul) Doran, Neal Werle; Rachael (Duke) Beaver (Rhiannon, Rebekkah, John, Jeremiah, Joshua), John (Jennifer) Norman (Matthew, Emily, Paige, Jack), and Sarah (Eric) Lybolt (Lillian, Delilah, Eric).
In her youth, Audrey attended Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati Ohio. Yearbook photos reveal her involvement with extra-curricular activities and leadership roles. Recently we discovered a remarkable 8th grade sketch of her sister Adeline, demonstrating her early artistic talent. Following her wedding to Bill Werle in 1951, they lived with his mother Rosa Werle on the family farm just west of Cincinnati. Her culinary skills blossomed, learning Rosa’s recipes which we enjoy to this day. Joe’s first memories include eating jelly toast in Grandma Rosa’s pantry on the first floor next to the wood stove.
A few years later after the birth of Jack and Mary Lou, job opportunities led to a move to Madison Indiana in 1960. She raised her kids in a typical small-town Indiana atmosphere, including Catholic schools, Scouting, transportation to swim lessons, and playful times with friends and at St Patrick’s parish. She rebounded from an infection and mental health difficulties by immersing herself in art classes at the local high school under the tutelage of Lou Knoble, whose wife Mary Clair became her lifelong friend. A high school pen pal correspondence with New Guinea pioneer missionary Fr John Cohill SVD led to a decades-long friendship. After his consecration as the first bishop of Goroka, New Guinea, he visited our family and offered a home Mass as well as sharing many pictures of native culture. A year later, their relationship with Fr John’s sister resulted in a trip to Rome to attend a private mass by Pope John Paul II. Audrey’s daughter cherishes the “Pope Hat” which Audrey wore on that day.
After the upsetting years of the late 60’s, her political and social consciousness widened. One day per week she conducted research into early black settlers of Indiana. She took daughter Mary Lou along on searches for gravesites, homesteads, and stories passed down. Her work is now cataloged at the Indiana State Library, from which Harvard historian Anna-Lisa Cox referenced her work in the book, The Bone and Sinew of the Land.
In the early 70’s, Bill and Audrey felt called to Catholic Charismatic Renewal. This led to their next adventure, moving the family from rural southern Indiana to inner city Indianapolis. They founded the non-profit Ephesus House of Prayer. She sensed a word from God to “Let the little children come to me”, which led to offering neighborhood children fruit and conversation in the kitchen. Once the children began to trust, the parents did as well, resulting in relationships across cultures and income levels. With support from the Channel of Peace prayer group, their work expanded to food and clothing ministries as well as musical productions, children’s theater, and inviting community friends to live on the other half of their duplex. Ephesus published a newsletter, In Spirit and In Truth, which included her artwork and prophetic words from the Lord. During this time Mary Lou met and married Ken, who mom affectionately called her “favorite son-in-law”.
Following Bill’s retirement in the late 1980’s, they felt called to serve a blossoming Covenant Community centered around the Franciscan University of Steubenville in eastern Ohio. This allowed them to share times and memories with their grandkids in Pennsylvania as well as filling their own spiritual needs. Audrey (now known as Clare, her middle and Franciscan name) supported a prayer ministry serving the religious clergy and community members. They joined the Third Order Secular Franciscans in 1997. She researched Franciscan history and indexed newsletters from various Franciscan orders.
As an artist and someone known for her healing and prayer ministries, Audrey was particularly perceptive of the ways God worked in people’s hearts. Fr Michael Scanlan TOR, President of the University and a nationally known speaker, visited their home once. We recently unearthed a thank you note, in which he poignantly pointed out that no one else had ever prayed for his broken heart.
As the 21st century began and they aged, they returned to Indiana to be close to their grandkids as well as siblings in the Cincinnati area. They bought a home in Richmond, IN, which they decorated with Christian photos, memories, and Audrey’s artwork. They remained active in the local Catholic community.
In spite of her cautious nature, she accepted personal growth, change and took risks. She challenges all of us to follow God’s presence, filling our lives with faith, hope, and love.
We are comforted that she is now enjoying her heavenly abode with her parents, her sisters, her Godmother Aunt Lily, and others.
A Liturgy of Christian burial will be 10:00 AM Tuesday, August 30, 2022, at St. Mary’s Church 720 North A. Street Richmond, Indiana 47374 with Rev. Sengole Gnanaraj officiating; burial will be 2:00 PM Tuesday in St. Mary Cemetery, 701 E Ross Ave. Cincinnati, Ohio 45217 with Rev. EJ providing prayers for the committal. A visitation will be held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 PM Monday, August 29, 2022 at Stegall-Berheide-Orr Funeral Home 222 N. 10th Richmond, Indiana 47374. Condolences may be made by visiting www.stegallberheideorr.com