In Memory of Rose Schaffhausen

With deep sadness, the NPH family mourns the loss of an inspirational leader, fundraiser and mentor, Rose Schaffhausen. She passed away on November 22, 2021, at the age 91.

For those of you not acquainted with Rose, she started Minnesota Friends of the Orphans, which today is known as NPH USA, with her sister Ann Arnold. In 1979, Rose received a letter from her sister Ann, who was working at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and began spending time at NPH Mexico.  The letter to Rose said “the kids need cooking oil to fry tortillas and beans”.  Rose yearned to know more and flew to Mexico to see for herself.  When Rose met Fr. Wasson she asked if he had any fundraising connections in Minnesota. He said, “I do now – I have you!” Rose came home inspired and, soon, her spaghetti dinners, pig roasts, and fiestas became the founding NPH fundraising activity in Minnesota.

Through the years, Rose raised well over $20 million.  In 2004, Rose was recognized with the “Leading With Faith” award from the Catholic Spirit. Rose was instrumental in bringing the NPH children’s music and dance troupe Ballet Folklorico to Minnesota.  Her publicity around the performances helped gain child sponsorships and support.

When Rose was asked why she focuses on international children when there are so many children in need of financial resources here in the United States, Rose responded, “Children everywhere need us, we need to care for our brothers and sisters internationally, too, and the measures of poverty in our third world countries are far worse”.

Rose grew up in Brainerd, MN, in a family of seven girls and two boys and credits her Christian upbringing and education in Catholic schools for her ethical foundation. While raising five children, she worked as a freelance writer for Sun Newspapers. In the 1980s she earned a degree in creative development at Metropolitan State University and taught creative problem-solving at Metro State and the University of St. Thomas and then conducted two corporate seminars a month and served as the Executive Director. Rose earned a master’s degree in philanthropy and development at St. Mary’s in 1998.

Rose was as devoted and feisty as ever at the NPH Gala in St. Paul, MN, on October 6, 2019, when we marked the 65th Anniversary of NPH. She was honored as the recipient of the Fr. Wasson Humanitarian Award for her tremendous contributions to NPH.  Rose’s dedication to the ministry of NPH is inspirational and her example of humanitarianism and boundless love lives on.

View her tribute video here: 

Rose Schaffhausen’s obituary will be listed on the Oakwood Family Funeral Home obituary site.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Oakwood Family Funeral Home & Crematory
2585 Stillwater Road
Maplewood, MN 55119

Mass of Christian Burial
Thursday, December 2, 2021
10:00 a.m. visitation 11:00 a.m. mass
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church of Little Canada
380 Little Canada Rd. E
Little Canada, MN 55117

Memorials to honor Rose’s life and her amazing fundraising efforts to support Fr. Wasson’s kids can be sent to NPH USA. Rose always wanted to be sure the kids were well fed with nutritious meals.  Please send your contribution to NPH USA, 20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 4000, Chicago, IL 60606-3193, or give securely below.

NPH GuatemalaNuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) means “Our Little Brothers and Sisters” in Spanish. NPH USA transforms the lives of vulnerable children in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. Together, we help children overcome poverty and become productive, caring leaders in their own communities. Founded in 1954 by Father William Wasson, NPH is supporting nearly 8,000 children, both inside and outside our homes, ensuring they have a safe and nurturing place to live, an education, clothing, healthcare, and a strong family support system.

Donations to NPH USA, Federal Tax ID # 65-1229309, are tax-deductible as provided by law and help provide nutritious food, clothing, loving homes, health care and quality education to thousands of children in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. To read our Charitable Solicitation Disclosure Statements, visit