World War II Honor Roll

Christopher M. Buchler

Private, U.S. Army


Battery D
112th Field Artillery Regiment

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: October 6, 1944
Buried at: New St. Mary's Cemetery
                  515 West Browning Road
                  Bellmawr NJ 08031
Awards: Purple Heart

PRIVATE CHRISTOPHER M. BUCHLER was born in 1921 in Philadelphia PA to Joseph and Agnes Cunningham Buchler. Agnes Cunningham had emigrated from Ireland. She was from Swinford in County Mayo, Ireland.  

One of five children, Agnes Cunningham was the only one of her siblings to come to America and when she was sailing to America, she bought a ticket for the next ship - it was the Titanic. Fortunately, the train from Swinford to Queenstown broke down and Agnes Cunningham 
and other people from Swinford arrived at the dock in Queenstown late.  As a result, her passage aboard the Titanic was cancelled.  Only four people from Swinford boarded the Titanic but none of them survived.  Agnes Cunningham he only spoke once about it, telling a grandchild that she got the next ship to America with her cancelled ticket for the Titanic and on her way to America, she stood at the deck and could see all the clothes and furniture floating in the water from the
lost ship.  Once in America, Agnes Cunningham worked as a cook on an estate in Philadelphia and met Joseph Buchler.  They were married at St. Patrick's Church on Locust Street in Philadelphia in 1917.

The Buchlers were a deeply religious Catholic family. In the winter of 1929, young Christopher was about to make his first Holy Communion but had taken ill. In a dream, he received a visitation from St. Therese the Little Flower of Lisieux, France. Click here for the story of Christopher's Rose, as related by is neice, Roberta Ann Matysik-Marziani. 

By 1930 the Buchler family, which included Christopher, sisters Agnes and Anna, and brother Thomas, lived at 2121 Alden Street in Philadelphia. Sister Theresa and brother Frank Buchler came along afterwards. At the time of the census Joseph Buchler was then working as an electrician at a street car works. The family later moved across the river, to Collingswood NJ.

Christopher Buchler lived at 15 West Stiles Avenue, Collingswood NJ when he was inducted into the United States Army. His brother Thomas also served in the Army.  Private Buchler was killed in action on October 6, 1944 in Germany, at the age of 22. He had been overseas since March of 1943. Anna Buchler had  proudly displayed the Blue Star Banner when her sons went to the service, and the Gold Star Banner after her son was killed. At the time of Private Buchler's death, his brother Thomas was a corporal in the army then serving in Italy. 

Private Buchler was brought home after the war, and was buried at New St. Mary's Cemetery in Bellmawr NJ, with full military honors o May 4, 1949. He was survived by his mother, brothers Frank and Thomas, and his sisters, Mrs. Anna Matysik, Mrs. Theresa Voshell, and Mrs. Agnes Williams. His name also appears on the World War II War Memorial at Knight's park in Collingswood NJ, and on the Camden County World War II Memorial inside of City Hall in Camden NJ.


May 3, 1949

Click on Image to Enlarge




Christopher's Rose

My uncle's name was Christopher M. Buchler.  He was the third child of six children: Agnes, Thomas, Anna (my mother), Theresa and Frank.  He was 8 years old in the winter of 1929 and this story takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsyvania.  It was winter time and the weather was very cold and there was a lot of snow outside.  My Uncle Christopher was to make his First Holy Communion with his classmates but he became very sick a week before (he had bronchitis or tonsillitis).  He begged and begged the doctor to let him make
his First Holy Communion but the doctor said "I'm sorry, Christopher, but you're too sick and with all the snow and cold weather outside, you'll just get sicker.  I cannot permit it."  My Uncle Christopher was heartbroken. 

The night before my Uncle Christopher was to make his First Holy Communion, something wonderful happened.  St. Therese the Little Flower of Lisieux appeared to my Uncle Christopher in a dream holding an armful of roses.  She said to him "Don't worry, Christopher - you will eventually make your First Holy Communion.  In the meantime, here is a rose."  And in the dream, St. Therese handed my Uncle Christopher a rose.

The next morning when my Uncle Christopher woke up, there was a rose bud on his pillow!  He rubbed his eyes - he thought he was dreaming!  But there was the rose St. Therese handed him in his dream!  There was a lot of snow outside and the wind was blowing.  He called down to my Grandmother "Mom! Mom!   There's a bud on my pillow!"  My Irish Grandmother thought he said "bug" and said "Don't worry, I'll come up and kill it!"  My Uncle Christopher called to her again "No, it's a ROSE bud - St. Therese gave it to me last night!"  My Grandmother and Uncle Christopher were astonished!

Soon the word got out about my Uncle Christopher's rose.  People from all around came to see the rose St. Therese gave my Uncle Christopher.  When a person would look at the rose, they would all see a different religious image impressed on the petals (much like the images embossed on medals).  My Grandmother told me there were a group of nuns who came to the house to see the rose.  One of the sisters wasn't too nice and she cried and cried because she couldn't see any images on the rose petals.

My Uncle Christopher was killed in action on October 6, 1944.  That same exact day back in New Jersey, my Grandmother found a rose under my Uncle Christopher's bed and the whole house smelled like roses.

My Grandmother did not tell me the story of my Uncle Christopher's rose or show me the rose until I was fourteen years old.  One day in the summer of 1967, my Grandmother led me to her bedroom and said "Roberta, it's time you learn about your Uncle Christopher and the rose St. Therese gave him."  I was shocked!  I had overhead the adults mention a rose sometimes at family gatherings but I had no idea what they were talking about and would just run off and play with my cousins.  My Grandmother proceeded to tell me the story about my Uncle Christopher and the rose and when she was finished, she opened her bureau drawer and pulled out a metal container that looked like a pocketwatch.  It had a glass inserted and there inside was a rosebud.  My Grandmother said "Now, Roberta, I want you to look at the petals and tell me what you see."  On one petal I saw Jesus and the Sacred Heart and on another petal I saw the Blessed Mother with a crown on her head holding the Infant Jesus - I later found out it was Our Lady of Carmel.  My Grandmother said that everyone who looked at the petals would see a different image.  It's really interesting that I saw Our Lady of Carmel - my Dad died on the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel (July 16, 1990).

As time went on, I only shared this story with very close friends.  And  I always wondered why St. Therese appeared to my Uncle Christopher.  I thought it was wonderful but I always wondered why.  I attended two different conferences on St. Therese the Little Flower at St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia.  At one of the conferences, I found out why St. Therese appeared to my Uncle Christopher.  Fr. Frederick Miller, the dean of religious studies at St. Charles Seminary (who has been on EWTN), stated at one of the conferences that St. Therese was very sick when she was to make her First Holy Communion and because she was so sick, it was postponed and she was heartbroken!  That is why St. Therese appeared to my Uncle Christopher - to comfort him.  After the conference I went up to Fr. Miller (who is an expert on St. Therese) and asked him if he ever heard of anyone
physically receiving a rose from St. Therese.  He said yes and I told him the story of my Uncle Christopher and St. Therese.  Fr. Miller said our family has been blessed by St. Therese and he hoped that St. Therese would continue showering her blessings on us.

So, that is the story of my Uncle Christopher and St. Therese the Little Flower of Lisieux.