Couple Impressed by Glenmarians, Inspired to Make Lasting Gifts
Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Rensing, 85, and her husband Joe grew to love Glenmary and its U.S. mission work after Betty became aware of the religious society in the 1960s. Many years later, the Cincinnati couple made some major life decisions to support the missioners—first through their will and then, after Joe’s passing in 2000, through Betty’s will and annuity.
What happened over those decades, she says, is a story of the pair’s increasing understanding of, and admiration for, this group and its ministry.
Betty was a teacher in Catholic grade schools from 1952 to 1971. “In 1967-68, I taught at a school just up the road from Glenmary’s first headquarters in Cincinnati,” she says.
In those same years, Betty also met then-Glenmary Brother Roger Kreimer (later ordained Father Richard) during her summer job at Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was doing some volunteer work. “I believe he told me about Glenmary’s ministry, and later on I read stories in their magazine about their mission efforts. So after Joe and I were married in 1973, we decided to begin donating to Glenmary.”
Betty had started a new full-time job in 1971 at Good Samaritan, and the couple continued a friendship with Father Richard in the 1980s.
But what solidified the Rensings’ relationship with Glenmary was a 1984 European pilgrimage they went on with a group, accompanied by Glenmary Father Bob Bond and two other priests.
“The Glenmarians we had met, observed and gotten to know really impressed us,” says Betty. “They were simple, open, honest, down-to-earth and joyful. I have never seen a gloomy Glenmarian.”
The most compelling factor that inspired the couple to include Glenmary in their will in 1990 was what they had learned about the society’s founder, Father Bishop, and his vision for the U.S. missions.
“His whole idea of starting missions where there was no Catholic presence, making maps to depict mission need, and helping people in need in poor rural areas totally impressed us, too,” Betty says. Her own will now includes this bequest.
In 2002, Betty decided to support Glenmary in still another way—a Glenmary gift annuity. “I established it to help these missioners I admired keep serving others. I also liked having another source of income.”
Over time, other events reinforced Betty’s belief in Glenmary. In 2005 and 2008, she participated in two group mission trips, the first to Glenmary’s Logan, W.Va., mission and the second to three of its eastern Kentucky missions.
“They (the missions) became a reality for me. I could see that the missioners bring joy to the people. Their spirit of joy, acceptance and love helps them deal with all the challenges of mission work.”
She has also attended donor events at Glenmary’s chapel and residence in Cincinnati. And she has been struck by the welcoming, peaceful environment and the missioners’ simplicity, lack of pretense, and senses of humor.
Betty retired from the hospital in 1996, but she and Joe continued volunteering. The couple served as lay eucharistic ministers at Good Samaritan and their parish.
And Betty has volunteered for 19 years at the motherhouse of a Cincinnati-based women’s religious order, reading and typing materials for the community’s archives and assisting elderly nuns in the arts-and-crafts room, where they make items that are sold to benefit the retired sisters fund.
In addition, she has been working one day a month for several years at a local pregnancy center, where she helps with educational programs for pregnant women and mothers.
“I like what I’m doing and feel like I’m still helping people and making a difference in their lives,” she says—just as she has done for so many years by supporting Glenmary’s ministry.