Editor's note: Introducing NCRonline's blog series "Reader's Retrospective": A special project that commemorates NCR's 50th anniversary by telling the stories of readers who have been faithfully subscribing to the National Catholic Reporter since its beginning. Read about the project's origins here.
When NCR first arrived on the scene in 1965, Chuck and Ede Radloff and their four young children were living in Menomonee Falls, Wis. Encountering the newspaper at a Christian Family Movement meeting run by Fr. Fran Eschweiler, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, they were "immediately attracted to NCR as it was a timely and vital source of information concerning Vatican II and civil rights issues," Chuck said.
"We had a thirst for information to assist us in developing actions to alleviate social problems and assist in our spiritual formation," he said.
NCR also exposed them to leading Catholic figures, including Thomas Merton. The couple's interest in his writings inspired them to visit Merton-related sites, including Columbia University, Corpus Christi Church and Merton's homes in New York City; the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky; and the Greek island of Patmos, where they spent four memorable days with Merton's friend and former secretary Robert Lax.
Educated in business and finance at Jesuit-run Marquette University in Milwaukee, Chuck Radloff spent much of his career as a "fixer-upper" for Oak Industries, a multinational New York stock exchange. The Radloffs now live in San Diego.
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The couple is committed to "bringing Christ into the world." Their efforts over five decades have included fostering relationships with African-American families in still-segregated Milwaukee; providing self-help housing in Tijuana, Mexico, with Esperanza International; and assisting with education for children working in municipal dumps in Tijuana through the nonprofit Responsibility.
Since 2003, the Radloffs have served as volunteers in the Holy Land for the Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as with other agencies in the region, such as USAID and the Society of St. Yves, a Catholic human rights group. In 2014, Chuck and Ede Radloff received an award from Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem, in recognition of volunteer services the couple provided to the patriarchate's programs for schools, parishes, seminary and humanitarian programs.