Sisters Continue to Pray for, Support Glenmary

Posted: 2/1/2013

Joan Boltz and Helen GuschingSisters Helen Gusching, 85, and Joan Boltz, 82, of Sidney, Ohio, are dedicated Glenmary donors today. But their history of support started with Helen, who says her first real introduction to Glenmary came a couple of weeks after she and her husband Nagle married in 1954.

Glenmary Father Jim Kelly—a close, lifelong friend and neighbor of Nagle—couldn’t attend Helen and Nagle’s wedding but visited the newlyweds on his next trip home. That’s when the couple made their first, rather unique donation to Glenmary.

“Nagle told me about Father Kelly and Glenmary,” says Helen. “When I met Father Kelly for the first time, he talked about some of the challenges of establishing a Catholic presence in home mission areas and helping the people in need there.

“During the conversation, Nagle and I mentioned an oversized electric roaster we had received as a wedding gift, which we had no use or space for. Father Kelly said, ‘We could use that in one of our missions.’ We decided then and there that we would donate it!”

Helen and Joan grew up with their other two siblings on the family farm near McCartyville, just north of Sidney. They both say they were raised in a devout Catholic home—and that their parents always helped others in need, lived their faith, and taught their children to do the same.

“Our teachers talked about missionaries in foreign countries and encouraged us to support them,” Helen says. “But I had never heard about missionaries in this country until Nagle told me about Glenmary.”

After Father Kelly retired, he would spend time with the Guschings whenever they came to Glenmary’s Cincinnati headquarters for annual donor gatherings. Those events, says Helen, always feature presentations by Glenmarians working in mission areas. “Whenever we heard them speak, one of us would say to the other, ‘We’re giving to a really good cause.’”

About 15 years ago, after raising their four sons, the couple made a provision for Glenmary in their estate plans.

Nagle died in 2002, and Father Kelly celebrated a Mass for his friend every day for a month. (Father Kelly passed away in 2012.)

Joan, a registered nurse, had moved to California in the 1950s. She eventually married and had two children. But when her husband died in an accident, she moved back to Sidney in 1961 with her young daughter and son.

In 1993, as she approached retirement, she started contributing to Glenmary “largely because of what I had learned about their work from Helen and Nagle.” After Nagle passed away, Helen began taking Joan to donor gatherings. “In listening to and reading missioners’ stories,” Joan says, “I’ve been very impressed by their faith, courage and joy.”

Then in 2008, she decided to establish an annuity with Glenmary. “This way, I could continue helping them and also have another source of income.”

Besides their prayerful and financial support for Glenmary and other charitable causes, the sisters continue to do volunteer work for their church and community. For example, Helen serves as a lay Communion minister at the local hospital, helps with the hospitality ministry for parish RCIA candidates, and is active in pro-life efforts.

And Joan coordinates daily Communion distribution at the hospital by lay ministers; inputs medical records at a free, faith-based medical clinic; serves as an on-call nurse at the local pro-life pregnancy resource center; and is involved in other pro-life activities.

Both say they feel fortunate that they’re still able to help others—and very happy they can keep praying for and supporting Glenmary.