New York Donor's Annuity, Other Gifts Help Glenmary's 'Important' Mission Work
In December 2005, a friend sent Doris Wood a Christmas card that struck her with its simple beauty. The back of the card identified the source, Glenmary Home Missioners, and gave a brief description of Glenmary's work.
Doris, a lifelong Catholic, called for additional information. "That was my first introduction to Glenmary," she says. "I was so impressed that there was a Catholic religious society dedicated to serving people in the home missions."
Wanting to know more, this New York City resident read Glenmary publications, talked with Glenmary priests and coworkers and even visited Glenmary's Cincinnati Headquarters.
In 2007, she decided to establish a Glenmary gift annuity. "I never knew about the many areas in our country that didn't have a Catholic presence, especially in Appalachia and the South and Southwest, but I do now," says Doris. "I love Glenmary's dedication to serving needy people in these regions, and I just want to help them."
This year, after corresponding with Glenmary pastors in Windsor, N.C., and Lafayette, Tenn., she decided to give two additional gifts to support Glenmary's ministry at these two missions.
Doris was born in 1928 in Pennsylvania, grew up in Philadelphia and attended Catholic schools. "My parents and the nuns who taught me helped instill my Catholic faith in me," she says. "They gave me a sense of honesty and a desire to do good and help others." Today, her faith remains very important to her.
She lived through the Depression, she says, "but we were poor before it hit. I do remember that my mother gave groceries to other people even though we didn't have much ourselves." After high school, Doris worked in a variety of jobs before moving to New York City to live with an aunt and pursue an acting career in the theater. Two years later, she decided to seek other types of work.
In 1980 she was hired as personal assistant to David Brown, a prominent producer of major movies such as Jaws and Driving Miss Daisy. Doris has worked in this job for almost 30 years, finally cutting back to part-time this year-at age 81!
Working in an industry often seen as glamorous, she still has a simple philosophy of life: "I try to be honest and kind to everyone and live up to my faith."
For the past 30 years, Doris has belonged to the same parish, where she has served as a parish council member and still serves as a eucharistic minister. She also distributes Communion to the sick at a local hospital and has volunteered at a nearby food pantry.
Doris sees her generosity to Glenmary as part of living up to her beliefs. "There's a real need to spread the Catholic faith," she says. "And I admire the way Glenmary reaches out and serves not just Catholics, but anybody in need in mission counties."
Looking ahead, she says she wants to visit Glenmary missions and continue to help in whatever way she can. She's also praying for additional Glenmary vocations. "If more people were aware of the important work Glenmary does," she says, "even more would support it."
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2009 Planning Ahead newsletter.