Kaarina Jager, from Finland, dedicated the completion of her master's degree in education to her Austrian husband, Reinhard, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1985, and to her youngest son, who died of cancer in 2002. She graduated from Eastern New Mexico University on December 6, 2012, incidentally also Finland's 95th Independence Day, with a Masters in education.

After being burglarized and terrorized in her neighborhood by gangs and vandals, Jager has volunteerd for two decades in her local Neighborhood Watch organization.

Kaarina and her husband, Reinhard, (top right) were Blessed in marriage in 1978 as part of the 118 couples at Lancaster Gate, London, England.

District Pastor, Rev. Mark Hernandez (fourth from left) joined Kaarina Jager (third from left) when she was honored at the 14th annual Women's History Month Celebration Brunch on March 23, 2013 in Roswell, New Mexico.

Kaarina Jager received a recognition award for outstanding commitment and dedication to the community at the 14th annual Women's History Month Celebration Brunch in Roswell, New Mexico on March 23, 2013.

A newspaper clipping of the article from the Roswell Daily Record published on March 17, 2013. Kaarina Jager (far left) was recognized for "mak[ing] Roswell safer and its people more educated."

A survivor of adversity, Unificationist Kaarina Jager was honored recently for outstanding public service at the 14th annual Womens History Month Celebration on March 23, 2013 in Roswell, New Mexico.

The Roswell Daily Record published the story "Discover some unknown feats of local women during the 14th annual Womens History Month Celebration Brunch on March 17, 2013 to highlight the extraordinary contributions of women whose "accomplishments are many and far-reaching; change[d] the Roswell landscape forever...and [made] Roswell a better place to live in.

Jager, born in Finland, was recognized for her "mak[ing] Roswell safer and its people more educated.

"As an educator, Jager has not only helped others up, but has skillfully turned negative situations into opportunities to do and share good, reported the Roswell Daily Record. "When her house was burglarized, she started a Neighborhood Watch group where she lives. Her belief in two-parent families as part of a stable society prompted her involvement in Wings for L.I.F.E. [Life-skills Imparted to Families through Education]."

In an interview with Unification News, Jager said, "As other Unificationist families moved away from Roswell in the last 20 years, and I became the sole Unificationist family in my town, it gave me a desire to meet and get to know my neighbors, and I then got involved with my community in Roswell and my hometown in Finland, too.

Jager joined the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPUP) in Turku, Finland in 1973. She was a student pursuing her masters degree in business at Turku School of Economics and worked as a tour guide when she met missionaries from the Unification Church. "I was at a point in my life where I was looking for deep answers, and one day I met two missionaries near "Archdiocese of Turku" near the Turku Cathedral in the center of the city, she told Unification News. "They had a center nearby, and I followed them. I was impressed with their teachings and I felt the spirit calling to join".

"It took me time to get organized, and I soon joined in 1975 the International One World Crusade (IOWC) in Europe and traveled for several years, said Jager".

Jager was Blessed to her Austrian husband, Reinhard, as part of the 118 couples Blessing in Lancaster Gate, London, England in May 1978. Her husband came to the United States as a missionary, and she came after him and they settled in Roswell, New Mexico as pioneer missionaries.

"I was never prepared for all of these things that were going to happen in my life, said Jager. She continued: "Reinhard was struck and killed by drunk driver and died in 1985, leaving me alone with my two babies, aged one and two, at the time. Unificationist families helped me, but soon they moved away. I was determined to remain in Roswell, because it was the hometown where my children grew up".

According to the Roswell Daily Record, Jager completed a K-8 teaching certification in 1998 and taught a few years at Chisum Elementary. Her youngest son was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma, a type of cancer, around that time, and she became a substitute teacher, so she could care for him during his final years.

"My widowhood/single parenthood has been a prolonged experience out of which you make the best possible life without a partner, son or funding," she wrote to Unification News in an e-mail. "Life can be rich in other ways: helping others, seeing beauty in nature, arts and people. However for young children and teenagers losing a parent and a sibling is often a challenging experience. Our surviving son, Risun, teaches physics in Albuquerque, NM, and is getting his teaching certification."

"Besides Rev. Sun Myung Moons life, [the founder of FFWPU], Finland has been a major source of inspiration in overcoming tough situations, said Jager. "I am from Finland, and thought "Well, if they, [the Finns], can fend against the Russian armies in Karelia [the eastern region of Finland bordering Russia] for thousands of years, I too can continue on, even though I was pretty much on my own."

Finishing her education was a priority for Jager, since her husband was not able to complete his, and her youngest son was not able to graduate from high school. The Roswell newspaper reported: "In honor of her deceased son and late husband, Jager decided to continue her education, completing a masters degree in education from Eastern New Mexico University in 2012. [Jaeger wrote to Unification News that she graduated on December 6th, 2012, incidentally Finland's 95th Independence Day.] She is now a teacher at the Creative Learning Center. She helps share and promote the arts to about 40 local first-graders. During the summer, she is a tour guide in her native Finland.  This summer Jager will travel to Naantali, Finland, her ancestral hometown known as "Valley of Grace," to celebrate her mothers 100th birthday", she told Unification News.

The article continues: ""For women here there really are more opportunities, Jager said". She said she appreciates America and how it allows women of all ages to pursue studies and work at the same time. This is in contrast to Europe, she said where retirement at age of 55 is encouraged, especially for women. Being recognized by the Womens History Month brunch is also special for Jager. "I am honored as an immigrant woman", she said.

Jager said she is able to continue forward, but she added, "Our church has a lot to learn about how to give support for members who have different situations. We need to look more into how we can take care of those who have faced casualties."

In the face of adversity, Jager says, "You have to tell yourself; I will go on and make the best of a miserable situation that I am in and live for the next generation to come".

Contributed by Krista Karjalainen from New York.

Comments (13)
  • cynthia nakai  - Well deserved
    Well deserved! Congratulations dear sister!
  • Su Young
    Hi, Kaarina

    I am so happy to see your picture here, very happy for you. when are you going back to Finland?
  • Kaarina Jager  - Thank you

    Now, I spend winters here in New Mexico (Roswell) and summers in Finland (Naantali). My mother will be 100 years old soon so I will be heading to the frozen North in a couple of weeks (snow still on the ground...). Are you still in Ohio?

  • Kitty Wojcik
    Yeah, Kaarina, congratulations to you for going through your life with so much grace and self determination.

    We all love you!

  • Kaarina Jager  - Thank you

    You know how it is, life with ups and downs...thanks to God, our Heavenly Parent, ever present, to the example of our True Father and Mother, and to you, my fellow travelers of faith, I became what I am now. So much remains to be done


  • Heikki Rissanen
    Congratulations Kaarina, and thank you.

    BTW, you did not even mention your dedicated effort to translate Father Moon's teachings into Finnish. Many thanks for that too.
  • Kaarina Jager  - Response

    The Unification News called me at my work...and I could only talk in snippets...then Krista Karjalainen called me the next morning when I was practically running off to work...the paper is on a deadline. In two of the articles in Roswell Daily Record/Women's History Month I did write about the translation work. It is my daily salvation!

  • Seija Kuenzig
    Sisulla, uskolla ja sydämellä, Kaarina!
    Congratulations! This official regognition hopefully comforts your heart for all the suffering and pain that encountered you in the past but which you have mastered with incredible "sisu"(Finnish for guts, never giving up, determined,neverending heart and endurance)but with faith and love as well.
    I'm proud of you!
    Love & Blessings!!
  • Kaarina Jager  - Kyllä!
    Seija, kiitän Taivaallista Isää, Todellista Isää, ja esi-isiäni siitä, että olen jaksanut, myös siskojen ja veljien rukouksia. Kaarina

  • F. George Russell
    Hi Kaarina,
    Thank you for being a great spiritual mother to me. I have always been inspired by your wonderful examples of love and faith over the years, since 1975. Your have always been in my thoughts and prayers as we continue to communicate on things of heart and providence in the will of God and True Parents.

    I am very proud of you, considering the immense difficulties you have shouldered, and through it all, you have brought substantial victories in Roswell and elsewhere.

    Please continue to be encouraged knowing that True Mother is also very proud of you, and let us keep marching toward the glorious completion of Cheon Il Guk.

    May Roswell be abundantly blessed because of your courageous witness to True Parents.

    "Mani Ok Mansei!"

    Your spiritual son,
  • Kaarina Jager  - Thank you!
    Nice to hear from you, George, on this site, too!

    Yes, Roswell is Austhan's hometown as he was born and raised, also died, here. That is the very reason I have wanted to make this place a better place for future generations - in addition to heading soon to Finland for my mother's 100th birthday and working there as a tour guide in my ancestral hometown of Naantali, Valley of Grace.

  • Malinda Vogel Vogel  - Congratulations!
    We are so proud of you.
    Love, Steve and Malinda Vogel
  • Kaarina Jager  - Thank you!
    Steve and Malinda,

    Many brothers and sisters work quietly and diligently in their respective hometowns. God knows that. It is interesting that I met a Unification Church missionary, Kirsti Laaninen, 40 years ago in Turku, Finland, on the bridge leading to the main Cathedral of Finland, Turun Tuomniokirkko. Time surely flies.

  • Kaarina Jager  - Thank you!
    Yes, Jack!

    Those were good times in the European IOWC! We were all so young and enthusiastic. Hey, I am still quite enthusiastic...

    Recently, I gave two talks here about European Union, to which both Finland and Ireland now belong. That, I believe is an accomplishment. However, I am always praying for my native continent to stay on its God-given path.

  • Jack Corley  - Congratulations Kaarina
    Dear Kaarina, congratulations for the great attitude you have shown in such difficult situations. Your story and life is an inspiration to many. I hope your family will be blessed with greater happiness. I still remember you from the old days on the European IOWC. You were always a positive personality.
  • Johann Hinterleitner
    During the European IOWC I briefly worked with Kaarina and got to know her a little. Despite the short encounter her mature and deep love for God and for her fellow humans left an unforgettable impression in my memory. When I learned of the passing of Kaarina's husband and son, it was hard to imagine how she would cope with what would have probably been faith-challenging events for me. Kaarina, I am glad you have made out of your life what it is today. You are a person whom I truly respect and admire and am grateful for the brief time I could work with and learn from you.
    Many blessing to you and your family.
  • Kaarina Jager  - Thank you
    Surely, Johan, you have done great things in Estonia. Americans are just more eager to publish the goodness in others (not to mention the other side too). Kaarina
  • Rosaura Davies
    Thank you for your testimony. May our Heavenly Parent bless you plenty!
  • Richard Urban
    Beautiful testimony. Thank you for your heart and your work, Kaarina. I agree; a lot more needs to be done to see how to support families with difficulties, and families in general as they work in their hometowns.
  • Kaarina Jager  - YES

    Originally, I wanted to work with the local abstinence programs, as prevention is far better than dealing with the after effects of misuse of love, but the state pulled the funding so I decided to work with the Wings for L.I.F.E. (Life skills Imparted to Families though Education)which program deals with the already displaced families here in Roswell, NM. I also work in public schools with the first graders teaching art but next fall I will tentatively teach an after school program according to the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets as part of the Wings for L.I.F.E. outreach.

    All the best to you endeavors,

  • Margaret Baron  - Congratulations!

    Congratulations Kaarina! You have a lot to be proud of!

    God bless you!
  • Justin Harding
    God bless you Ms. Kaarina.
    Your testimony brought tears to my eyes...