As students at the University of Missouri in Columbia in the mid-90s, future spouses Kristy and Steve Allgeyer of Ballwin started a college ministry program called “Awakening.” Today, that legacy lives on with 20-year-old son Jacob, the second of the couple’s seven children and a sophomore at Mizzou.
“We never imagined when we were planning it that our own children would go; we didn’t even know we’d be married!” said Steve, Kristy’s husband of 23 years. “It’s a big blessing to see them living out their faith in college.”
The same goes for living their faith at home and in their parish, too — Incarnate Word Parish in Chesterfield.
The newly wed Allgeyers started the Life Teen program there, too, and, you guessed it, their children are reaping the benefits. Their older children already have gone through it, and the younger ones either are in it right now or will experience it the coming years.
“It’s emotional for me to see it come full circle,” Kristy said. “It’s neat to see how they’ve taken ownership of the faith.”
The Allgeyer children certainly have had good role models. Kristy and Steve met at the Missouri’s Newman Center, went to confession on the day they were married and have raised their children to be faith-filled Catholics. And that goes far beyond the basics of weekly Mass attendance on Sundays, the sacraments and Catholic education at Incarnate Word School. Prayer is so central to the Allgeyers’ family life, they have a dedicated “prayer room." And they leaned on prayer during Kristy’s battle with cancer five years ago.
“Faith is always something we do at home,” said Tess, 17, a senior at Parkway West High School. “That’s how we live around here.”
How does family prayer work?
“When we do prayer time, it goes from the youngest to the oldest,” said Noah, 8, the youngest and thus the first up. “I mostly pray that everyone has a great day, then I say all of the family’s names and then say someone on the wall.”
That would be someone whose photo is among a group of photos affixed to a wall in the prayer room, about 40 pictures in all of family and friends.
The Rosary is the centerpiece of family prayer time. With nine family members in the house before the two oldest left for college, the family almost had enough for one full decade, which is all the busy family has time for each night what with sports practices and school events keeping the family hopping.
“We’re pretty practical and realistic; our prayer time is one decade of the Rosary but by the end of the week we’ve gotten through the entire Rosary,” Kristy said. “Each of us says a Hail Mary, what our intentions are and the people we want to pray for.”
How has the family’s faith life impacted the older children in college?
“It has really shaped how I live out my life; it let my faith grow apart from my family, but my family is my foundation,” said Abby, 21, who plays volleyball and found herself with college teammates of differing views. “It was hard the first couple years; there’s definitely a learning curve: How do I show Christ to them? How do I show faith is important to me. Now that I’m older, I’ve started to realize my faith is my own. People will respect your views no matter what as long as you respect theirs.”
Similarly, living with other Evan Scholars at Mizzou, Jacob has experienced fellow students with differing viewpoints
“It’s a completely different atmosphere than what I’m used to around here,” he said. “I have to try harder (to live the faith) than I did here, but that’s God calling me to be more open with new opportunities and things.”
How has the family’s faith life impacted the parents?
“When you live the faith as parents, you’re afraid your kids will reject it, but for us, it’s a neat blessing to see them live out the faith in their own unique way,” Steve said. “All of them are very different. We just try to be consistent and humble as parents, because I’m not perfect … and they need to know that. I’m still working on my faith and I’m still trying to get better at it, to be a better husband and better father. They know faith is not just a punch card and we clock in Sunday at church. It’s all the time. … We try to live it.”
They lived it through cancer on 2013. When Kristy received the diagnosis, she approach it with a “bring it on” attitude and help from above.
“God, you got this,” she said.
God came through. After chemotherapy, the cancer was gone.
“A lot of people were praying and supporting us,” she said. “We’re very blessed.”
The Allgeyer Family
At a glance
Kristy and Steve. Kristy is a personal trainer and a retreat presenter; Steve is Vice President of Ministry Advancement at Life Teen, Inc.
Abby, 21, junior at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa
Jacob, 20 sophomore at University of Missouri in Columbia
Tess, 17, senior at Parkway West High School
Bella, 15, sophomore at Parkway West
Isaac, 13, eighth grader at Incarnate Word School in Chesterfield
Sophia, 10, fifth grader at Incarnate Word
Noah, 8, second grader at Incarnate Word