Catholic, Mother, Olympian
By Travis Baillie
Rebecca Dussault, 25, Gunnison CO, is a friend of the Community of St. John in Princeville, IL and is also my sister-in law. Rebecca will be representing the United States at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, skiing in cross-country events.
Rebecca is first a Catholic, then a Mother, and finally an Olympian. Why is the order important? Those around Peoria who know Rebecca Dussault (pronounced doo-so) understand completely.
Rebecca, a beautiful young woman, Sharbel, her ruggedly handsome husband and a charmingly cute four year old son named Tabor, make up their family. Do any of these names sound just a little bit Catholic? You betcha! This Olympic family is whole heartedly Catholic through and through. They pray the Rosary, go to Adoration, and attend Mass more than just on Sunday. Rebecca and Sharbel are also working toward instructing in the CCL’s Natural Family Planning technique. How Catholic are they? They once spent $ 88.00 on cab fare to get to Mass while traveling abroad!
If you are a fan of Life on the Rock (EWTN) you have seen Sharbel and Rebecca on the show. If you subscribe to the Catholic Register you have read about Rebecca. If you are a Nordic Skier, (cross country) and follow the sport, you have heard of Rebecca. If you watch the Olympics this winter starting on Feb 10th, you will come to know and admire Rebecca.
How does she juggle the dedication and effort it takes to be an Olympic athlete and yet remain true to the faith and be a devoted wife and mother? Rebecca and her husband Sharbel came up with a rather unorthodox way of accomplishing the task. They do it together, as a family, traveling, training, racing, working, and going to Mass, all together. When Rebecca decided to train for the Olympics, she had only one condition: If she couldn’t take her family, she wouldn’t do it at all. Consequently, the Dussault family set out on a world-wide adventure, racing in Europe, training in New Zealand, racing in Canada, traveling all over the US, staying together as a family. Hotels, restaurants, planes, trains, and busses, - all together, all the time, is how she has been able to maintain the faith, be a mother and an Olympian. She has her family beside her.
Rebecca’s athletic prowess is frankly astonishing. She has won just about every race she has ever entered in the U.S., her skill level is world class and her determination to win is profound.
What is truly impressive about Rebecca is her devotion to the faith, to be first and foremost Catholic. You can see this at the start of every race, as she makes the sign of the cross and prays not only for herself but for her competitors as well. After one particularly grueling race (which Rebecca won) she collapsed past the finish line in the snow. Asked if she was ill, she replied, “No, I am praying, thanking God for this victory.”
I have known Rebecca since she was a small child and I have watched her grow into a remarkable woman. She embodies all an Olympian should be. A prime athlete, a fierce and intelligent competitor, yet she has the humility to know that without God she would not be who and what she is today. I can think of no one who could better represent the United States at the Olympic Games. However, I am her brother-in-law, a member of St. Mark’s Parish here in Peoria and may be a bit biased!
GO Rebecca!!!! USA! USA! GOOOO Rebecca!!!!
To follow Rebecca’s Olympic progress and to learn more about this remarkable lady, go online to www.dussaultskis.com
The author, Travis Baillie, is the father of seven children and resides on a small farm outside Peoria, IL.
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