You just never know…

Last year, the Franciscan Renewal Center received a very large gift from the estate of a man that we did not know anything about. It was a question that would rise to the surface every so often,
but with all that was underway, it was easy to set aside.

Then I discovered an email address that was linked to this gift last year. I sent off an email to another unknown person with a hope of some sort of “why” behind this most generous gift to us. In my mind, there had to be a reason that this place was special to him.

Weeks went by and then I received a phone call from a gentleman named Russ, who was attached to the email. Russ had befriended our donor years ago and what a story behind it all. It seems our donor had been a recluse who made very few friends and had little use for most people. He was not a wealthy man — he simply did not spend any money on himself or anyone. He had a very sad childhood and had little love in his life until he met his wife, who made up for all that he did not have as a child.

All was good until she died twenty years ago and our donor became consumed in his loss. Someone suggested that he contact the Franciscan Renewal Center to help him with his overwhelming grief. He came here and met with a friar who helped him move forward with the life that was left for him.

So, here’s the “why” behind our donor leaving such a large gift to us: this man repeatedly told Russ that he really liked the Franciscan Renewal Center because no one ever tried to get him to become a Catholic or clean up or dress nicer before he came for his counseling. Everyone that he encountered here was kind to him and welcoming and he never forgot that. I know for myself, I smile thinking that our donor must be very proud, as he watches from above. His gift ensures that the help that he received back in 1997 continues today so that others consumed with their respective grief can also see that love never really ends…and being kind is the start of it all.

— Sarah Privée, Donor Relations OfficerFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

2 Comments on “You just never know…

  1. Praise God. TY 4 sharing.

    Sarah, would you please contact me. Ty

  2. Thank you so much for this story. While I have no large financial legacy to bestow, I just wanted to say that when I have visited the Center, I have had the very same feelings, and I am a cradle-Catholic. Everyone I spoke to at mass and on campus when I was on my two-week training courses over the summers met me with a show of friendliness, love, peace, courtesy, and enthusiasm whether in the cafeteria, or at daily or Sunday mass–and also inside my training sessions.
    The Center is truly a remarkable place, and I still feel the love I experienced from folk there–especially as I attended the Sunday masses. I was welcomed, just because I was there. I still have the sense of feeling at home with the liturgies, the sermons (amazing and challenging!), and in the casual interactions I had among employees and other visitors. Hard to put into words without sounding cliche, but I clearly sensed that people at the Center were all on a “mission” and I became part of that journey while I was there and then carried that mission with me when I returned home. While at the Center, it seemed I was in close touch with the universal love of our Catholic Church. I wish all parishes reflected this love the way the Center did for me and others who were also there visiting. I hope to come back and visit soon.
    Thank you for restoring my faith in the Catholic community.

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