Brother Norbert is still 'Yours in Christ'

News-DemocratDecember 29, 2013 

Brother Norbert Karpfinger finally stopped going to the computer lab to help preschoolers learn how to use computers twice a week.

"I'm too old," he said.

But the Marianist brother, 81, still sends dozens of handwritten letters each month, asking for donations to Catholic Day Care in East St. Louis.

He made national news in March, when his fundraising efforts were chronicled in a New York Times story. BND Magazine followed up in May.

As of last week, the preschool had received about $65,000 by mail, in addition to the $60,000 from Brother Norbert's regular donors.

"I thought we'd get some donations from New York," he said. "But to get them from all over the country, even Hawaii ... That was really surprising."

Most of the money will be used for tuition waivers, allowing poor children to attend preschool free of charge.

Brother Norbert normally writes about 500 letters a year in his scraggly script, always signing "Yours in Christ." But that increased dramatically this year because of thank-you notes sent to each donor.

"I really don't know how many I wrote, but I'm guessing it's close to 1,000," he said.

Brother Norbert has been serving at Catholic Day Care since 1997. He lives in a brick home across the street.

His official duties are limited to cooking a couple nights a week for fellow brothers and sisters, as well as writing letters.

"I usually go over (to the preschool) twice a day," he said. "First to get the mail and second to bring back the checks."

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