Early Awareness of Glenmary Led to Later Support, Bequest
Gerri Turiano, 70, of Verona, Pa., first heard about Glenmary during a Sunday Mass in 1957—as an eighth-grader at her parish in Rochester, N.Y. A Glenmary priest gave a mission appeal presentation that day, and she has never forgotten it.
Now a widow, mother of four adult children and grandmother of two, Gerri began donating to Glenmary in 2000, became a Boost-A-Month Club member in 2002, included Glenmary in her will in 2008, and prays for Glenmary every day.
She’s also considering establishing a Glenmary gift annuity, which would be another way to contribute and would give her an additional source of income, too. But the seed for her support of Glenmary was planted in her mind that Sunday in 1957.
“The Glenmarian’s talk had a big impact on me,” she says. “I had learned from my parents and teachers about the importance of helping others and supporting the foreign missions. But I was amazed when he told us about the large number of counties in the United States with no Catholic churches or priests. And I was really impressed that Glenmary had started missions in many of these counties and helped all the people there, not just Catholics. Ever since then, Glenmary has stayed in my heart.”
At Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, her mission awareness was heightened a great deal. Every year, the school focused on missions in October and celebrated Mission Week the first week of November. “In October a representative from a missionary group would speak,” says Gerri, “and we had a school assembly to discuss the missions’ importance.
“We worked hard that month getting ready for our November play, bazaar and raffle, which were mission fundraisers. Our school was known for its Christian spirit, and our mission spirit was a big part of that. Since then, life has always shown me that when you give to others you get much more back.”
She later attended college and married Joe Turiano. And as they raised their children, they contributed to their parish and a Native American mission. After Joe died in 2000, Gerri still had a strong desire to support missionary causes—but decided it was time to donate to Glenmary.
“The Spirit led me to help Glenmary,” she says. “I also started reading Glenmary publications with great interest.”
When explaining why she has kept increasing her support, she says that “it’s the crystal-clear accountability Glenmary presents in those publications. They explain exactly what’s going on—whether it’s about beginning missions, progressing with them, turning them back to their dioceses, or other news.”
Gerri spent her career as a dental hygienist until, in 2010 at age 67, she decided to get a nursing degree. “I felt I could help people even more as a licensed practical nurse, and I especially wanted to care for those with Alzheimer’s disease.” Since 2012, she has worked as a home care nurse.
During the last 14 years, Gerri has also served as a eucharistic minister at her parish, a nearby Alzheimer’s unit, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. For several years, she and her youngest daughter also helped serve meals to the homeless once a month.
And, sometime in the future, she says she’d like to do volunteer work for Glenmary.
Gerri appreciates this chance to share her beliefs, experiences and reasons for supporting Glenmary. “It lets me pass along the message about giving—and about how the gifts you receive in return grow inside you.”
This article appears in the Spring 2014 issue of the Planning Ahead newsletter.