Support of Glenmary Is Part of Family Tradition
One Sunday morning in 1959, J.J. Dauby and his wife, Ruth, heard a Glenmary priest speak during Mass at their Miamisburg, Ohio, parish. "What really appealed to us," J.J. says, "was when he talked about Glenmary's challenge of bringing the Catholic Church to priestless and poor counties in our own country. We wanted to help Glenmary reach people in those areas."
So these parents of four young children—with four more to come—started giving $1 a month to Glenmary, gradually increasing the monthly amount to $5 and then $10. Five decades later, J.J. is an 86-year-old widower who believes in supporting Glenmary's work and still avidly reads Glenmary Challenge magazine. In addition to annual gifts, he has also established two charitable gift annuities with Glenmary.
"The biggest sacrifice my wife and I were making back then was to send our children to Catholic elementary school," he says. "But we still wanted to help Glenmary." Glenmary Home Missioners and Glenmary Sisters are the two religious organizations they supported most faithfully over the years.
J.J. was born in Tell City, Ind., in 1924, and grew up in a devout Catholic family. "All four of us kids went to Catholic grade school," he says. "My parents were very involved in church activities and got us involved. We learned about generosity from them."
During the Depression, J.J. says, a beggar would periodically come to the family's front door, and J.J.'s father would give him 50 cents each time. After a while the children realized that gift meant the family couldn't afford to go to the movies the next Sunday. But, J.J. says, they didn't complain.
"My parents were also mission supporters," J.J. says. "We were taught that if you can't be missionaries yourselves, you should support the people who are. We passed this lesson along to our own kids."
As a boy, J.J. contracted polio. "I eventually got better," he says. "But I was left with a lame leg."
In high school he decided he wanted to become a chemist. "The state paid my tuition at Indiana University because I was a polio survivor," he says, "and I worked for the rest." After college, work took him to Celina, Ohio, where he met and married Ruth.
The couple moved to the Dayton area in 1947, when J.J. embarked on a 35-year career as a chemist with a large company. And they and their children continued the family tradition of helping others. Ruth passed away in 1978, and J.J. finished raising the younger children on his own.
J.J. spent 19 years volunteering with Helping Hands, an interfaith service ministry that includes a food pantry, clothing shop and more. "I liked the work because of the ecumenical cooperation and because we'd find out families' needs and try to meet them."
He and Ruth were also longtime auxiliary members of the Legion of Mary-"another love of mine," he adds. Auxiliary participants pray the rosary every day. "My family prayed the rosary together when I was growing up, and then when we had our own family we did the same."
J.J. became an active Legion member in 1990 and continues today, visiting homebound and hospitalized parishioners. "I have a bum knee and use a cane, but I can still walk!" he says.
He still feels very good about supporting Glenmary's home mission ministry. "One thing that's very satisfying to me is when I read that Glenmary starts and builds up missions—then turns them back to their dioceses and moves on to new mission areas. I've always liked their ecumenical work too," he says.
His close-knit family includes six surviving children, 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. He's proud of them because they're always ready to help people and have held onto their Catholic faith.
"My wife and I tried to set an example. Supporting Glenmary is part of that. I guess it couldn't help but rub off!"
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2010 Planning Ahead Newsletter