Will Inclusion, Donations Help Support Future Mission Needs
Even though she’s a lifelong, devout Catholic and has lived in Greater Cincinnati her entire life, LaVerne Strittholt learned about Cincinnati-based Glenmary for the first time in 1980 at age 50—when a friend invited her to attend a Glenmary Guild meeting.
“My mother always contributed to a foreign mission group,” says LaVerne, now 83. “And in my Catholic schools, I learned about foreign missions and why we should help them. But what intrigued me about Glenmary was that their work is needed and done in our country.”
As she learned more, she soon became a dedicated Guild member. She and her husband, Charlie, started including Glenmary in their prayers and also making donations.
The Glenmary Guild was an organization of laywomen established to help promote and support Glenmary’s work. The Cincinnati chapter was active from 1945 to 2003—and was a key source of assistance for the society’s ministries. LaVerne participated in many Guild activities and fund-raising efforts for two decades, attended functions with Charlie, and even served for a time as the group’s treasurer.
“Our chaplains, Father Richard Kreimer and Father Dominic Duggins, and other Glenmarians kept us updated on Glenmary’s ministry,” she says.
“I was really impressed with how humble and giving they are, how they start missions from scratch and share their faith in areas where there are very few Catholics, and how they help people in so many ways no matter what their religion is.”
When Charlie passed away in 1999, LaVerne requested that memorial gifts be sent to Glenmary, and most Masses for him were celebrated by Glenmary priests. That same year, she also decided to include the home mission society as a beneficiary in her will. “I felt very close to Glenmary and still do, and I wanted to help them in the future. Also, my sister Gloria learned about Glenmary from me and set up an annuity with them.”
Despite the dissolution of the Guild, LaVerne has stayed in regular contact with Glenmary and loves attending the annual Father Bishop Legacy Society Mass and luncheon for those who have established planned gifts with Glenmary. She often brings a guest so another person can learn about Glenmary’s work.
“I look forward to those days, love being with the other supporters, and like finding out what’s new,” she says.
In addition, she reads every issue of the Glenmary Challenge magazine. “I get a lot out of it, and I’ve shared it with a lot of friends who are receiving it now.”
In 2008, LaVerne was one of eight participants who went on a Glenmary-sponsored mission trip to Eastern Kentucky missions and the Glenmary Farm. She says it was a great experience because they had the chance to meet Glenmary missioners and coworkers and see the work going on in mission counties.
“It meant a lot to me to visit the missions in person. It gave me a deeper appreciation of how dedicated these men and women are and why they need help.”
The mother of three, grandmother of eight, and great-grandmother of two, LaVerne has for many years also devoted time to ministries in her parishes. She has worked as a parish food pantry volunteer and ladies sodality officer, and she stills serves as a eucharistic minister and a member of the church cleaning ministry.
“These have all been ways of putting my faith into action,” she says. “I’m just very thankful I’m a Catholic. And I’m glad Charlie and I decided a long time ago to pray for and support Glenmary.”
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2013 Planning Ahead newsletter.