Couple Answers Call to 'Give Back'
"We see ourselves as a real part of Glenmary, in our small way," says Marilyn Knor of Centerville, Ohio, about herself and husband Rich. And well they should. The couple, both 75, have been supporting and building a relationship with Glenmary for the last 25 years.
Along the way, these longtime donors have remembered Glenmary in their will and recently established an annuity with Glenmary—in addition to being directly involved in hands-on volunteer efforts and many other activities with Glenmary and fellow supporters.
"We've been blessed, and we need to give back to the community and to charitable organizations," says Marilyn. "Glenmary has become the group with which we're most involved. As a Catholic, you can't just go to Sunday Mass and feel like you've done enough. God wants more. After our four children grew up and got married, we made some decisions about doing more for others and for the Lord."
For example, they traveled to Mississippi in 2006 to do volunteer work after Hurricane Katrina. And their many volunteer roles in their local community include—to name a few—working at the St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Social Services food pantries, as well as transporting baby supplies from the first pantry to a Right to Life Resource Center for new mothers. For the last several years, they've also participated in their parish's "Christmas Kindness" initiative to assist community members in need.
Marilyn says they began giving to Glenmary in 1987 partly because of her mother's longtime, quiet example of generosity to missionary groups. "Mom never talked about supporting these groups when I was growing up," Marilyn says. "But we always had mission magazines around our house, and she believed in supporting missionaries."
In 1997, the pair added a Glenmary bequest to their will. And in 2007 Marilyn went on a weeklong mission trip to the Glenmary Farm in Vanceburg, Ky., with a Dayton, Ohio, parish group, "because it was a good place to do volunteer work."
Later that year, the couple made their first major donation to Glenmary; had their first personal visit from a Glenmary team member, which further increased their understanding of the society's work and their desire to help; and attended their first of many Glenmary events. They concluded the year by going on a Glenmary-sponsored mission trip back to Vanceburg, where they helped with "Project Merry Christmas," a local effort to make sure needy children receive Christmas presents.
Marilyn stresses that she and Rich firmly believe in Glenmary's ministry of establishing a Catholic presence in U.S. counties where there has never been one before, reaching out to all the people in need, and bringing souls to Christ. "Reaching out to others is what we need to do in life," she says.
Over the years, Rich and Marilyn have also developed warm personal relationships with Glenmarians and lay coworkers. "They are so kind, friendly and down-to-earth, and there's such a camaraderie," she says. "They make us feel welcome and important. By talking to them directly, hearing them share what they're doing in the missions, and volunteering with them, we feel even more connected."
This past May the couple attended the ordination of two Glenmary priests. "We felt so proud and happy that these new priests will help carry on their work," Marilyn says. "We hope there are many more new missioners to come."
Marilyn and Rich still feel a need to help others in any ways they are able. "We know what Glenmary is doing out in the field and how the missioners and coworkers are making a difference in many lives—so praying for and supporting them helps us meet that need," she says.
"And when we included Glenmary in our will and set up the annuity, we realized these were two ways we could keep helping them with their great work in the future."
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2012 Planning Ahead newsletter.