Ann and Mary Ruth Wagner

Ann and Mary Ruth Wagner

By Sarah Crowder

Mary Ruth Wagner has quite the resume: The Ursuline Academy grad served as student ambassador, a youth retreat leader and a varsity athlete, in addition to being a frequent volunteer. Her community work includes volunteering with Saint Louis Crisis Nursery for her junior service project at Ursuline—a school which features the motto, Serviam, as she notes—in addition to work with the Pujols Family Foundation.

“It was something that came to me easily, and helping others was something I have always wanted to do,” says Mary Ruth, who explains she will continue to volunteer. “It’s how I was raised. It’s my drive to want to help others.”

The strong philanthropic upbringing comes from the lead of parents Raymond and Ann Wagner. Mom Ann, the U.S. congresswoman who lists organizations such as Catholic Charities of St. Louis and St. Patrick's Center among the beneficiaries of the family’s involvement, says giving back is a family commitment. "It's our feeling that we should be involved as a family in giving back to the community, to our parish and to those who are less fortunate. The best way to do that with children is not to tell them, but to show them. Serving a cause greater than one's self is something that Mary Ruth and our two other children have not only been actively involved in, but have witnessed in their young lives,” Ann says. "You can tell your kids or you can show your kids, and I'm pleased they've picked up on this commitment through watching my husband and me, as well as others in my family who have decided to give back to the community in whatever way they can.”

Outside of her volunteer work, Mary Ruth played on the varsity teams in cross country, swimming and track, participated in a charitable swim-a-thon, and was the cross country team captain during her junior and senior years—a combination that surely influenced her nomination from Ursuline for the Skippy Keefer Sportsmanship and Participation award. Previously, while living in Luxembourg, Mary Ruth traveled as a member of the honors choir. Even at a young age, responsibility was present, as she says she understood she was a participating as a representative of the U.S.

Mary Ruth currently is a student at Miami University in Ohio, and recently was presented at the 55th annual Fleur de Lis Charity Ball.

"I was glad she was interested in attending the classes, doing the preparation work and making the commitment of service to the Catholic church and community through the Fleur de Lis program," says her proud mom. "We found it to be something very special, and we're glad she stayed involved and was able to be presented to the Archbishop."