Tag Archives: development

Catholic Community Foundation award winner sees love and creativity in groups that serve others

October 27, 2011

0 Comments

Sue Morrison is a tiny bit of a woman, but she does great things.

Morrison heads up a committee that gives relatively small grants to nonprofits who serve the poor and needy around Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Again, although the dollars aren’t large, they have a huge impact.

Most of the grants awarded from the Catholic Community Foundation’s Community Priorities Fund are in the $1,000 to $5,000 range. But the groups that receive them are so appreciative and do so much with the money that it makes Morrison ‘s involvement especially rewarding.

She especially likes to visit the sites of the organizations that apply for grants to check out their operations and see just what they are doing to care for at-risk children, young mothers and elderly people who are living independently.

“I love the opportunity to see what loving and creative people dream up to serve the underprivileged,” Morrison said. “I get lifted up by the good hearts and the creativity of those who work on behalf of the less fortunate.”

Charity alive, but needs growing

Morrison’s remarks came Oct. 26 after Archbishop John Nienstedt and CCF president Marilou Eldred presented her with the Catholic Community Foundation’s Legacy of Faith Award for philanthropic leadership that supports the spiritual, educational and social needs of the Catholic community. A crowded ballroom at the Minneapolis Club gave her a standing ovation.

She made two good points with a connection you’ll get right off:

  • From her observations, Catholic grassroots charity is alive and well.
  • The need keeps growing; CCF has three times more applicants for grants than it can fund.

Surprise: People read their Catholic paper

Oh, and she opened her talk by expressing amazement at how many people read The Catholic Spirit. When the archdiocesan newspaper carried a Q & A with Morrison after it was announced that she’d be the Legacy of Faith recipient she said her phone rang off the hook. “Someone even sent me flowers!” she exclaimed.

Continue reading...

4 simple ways you and I can be good stewards

September 6, 2011

0 Comments

We’ve heard the words “time, talent and treasure” linked with stewardship for many years when pledge season has come around at our parishes.

Time, talent and treasure aren’t concepts that are disappearing by any means, but Mike Halloran does a good job of passing along four great points in language that can help all of us understand what living stewardship as a way of life could mean for how we might live more thoughtfully.

Halloran, who is director of stewardship and development for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, explains this more intentional way of life as following in Jesus’ footsteps by:

1. Receiving God’s gifts gratefully.

2. Cultivating them responsibly.

3. Sharing them lovingly in justice with others.

4. Returning them with increase to the Lord.

What a great, simple way to think about God’s gifts. You can read Halloran’s complete column in the Sept. 1 issue of The Catholic Spirit or here.

If you think this is an approach others would appreciate knowing about, please feel free to share with others through e-mail or your favorite social networks.

 

Continue reading...

Hundreds ‘get on board’ to kick-off archdiocese’s 2011 development drive

February 25, 2011

0 Comments

Rolling!

That’s the best way to describe the start of the main annual development effort of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

More than 300 Catholics who will be the feet-on-the-street for the 2011 Catholic Services Appeal literally “got on board” Wednesday, Feb. 23, hopping on buses from five different directions to first see for themselves how Appeal dollars are used, then meeting at the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis for dinner and even more inspiration to make this year’s campaign a success.

“This is like a field trip!” claimed a pumped Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Pat Regan, who owns a bus company headquartered in Hastings, gets credit for the idea.

Pat and Mary Regan said they were “humbled and honored” when the archbishop asked them to co-chair the 2011 Appeal, which begins the weekend of March 4-5.

“When he talked to us about leading the Appeal,” Pat recalled, “the archbishop said we need to get more people on board.

“I said if you really want to get ‘em on board, let’s put ‘em on some motor coaches and show ‘em what the Catholic Services Appeal funds really do in this archdiocese.”

Seeing the good donations do

Regan donated the use of five of his Minnesota Coaches to transport Appeal volunteers from parishes in the suburbs to five sites where donations to the Catholic Services Appeal help make ministry possible.

Buses stopped at three Catholic schools — Risen Christ and Ascension in Minneapolis and Blessed Trinity in Richfield — at the St. Paul Seminary and at Catholic Charities’ Seton Services in St. Paul.

Seton’s Mary Ann Sullivan said $1 million of Appeal funds help support a pre-natal program that serves some 500 clients each year. The poor and immigrant women receive counseling and medical care, get connected to resources, baby clothing and blankets, emotional support and even post-partum care that includes education for caring for infants and help to transition back to work or school.

“We don’t advertise, and we’re completely full just on word-of-mouth,” Sullivan said. “Most of the women are from high-risk populations who come from all over the metro area, many speak little or no English, and who are pregnant and don’t know where to turn.

“Our goal is to help these women — and the dads, too — make their lives as stable as possible before giving birth so that they have healthy babies.”

And it works. Moms cared for through Seton’s pre-natal program deliver babies who gestation weight and birth weight surpasses the norm in the Twin Cities area.

Sullivan thanked the Appeal volunteers for the continuing support of Seton Services.

“These are your dollars supporting the pro-life movement in a real, practical way.”

Representatives of each of the schools toured — including several parents of pupils — told Appeal volunteers that many of the young people at their schools wouldn’t be able to attend Catholic school without the generosity of the people of the archdiocese. Seminarian Brian Park said the tuition support from the Appeal has allowed him to follow his call to the discernment about the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary.

So that volunteers could get a preview, Archbishop Nienstedt introduced the short DVD that promotes the 2011 Catholic Services Appeal. “I’m kind of famous for DVDs,” he quipped, to a round of applause. The video itself earned another round of applause, and Archbishop Nienstedt followed up by “commissioning” everyone present to be missionaries for the Appeal, urging them to be sure to share widely the brochure that tells the Appeal story.

“It’s all in here,” the archbishop said, holding the brochure aloft. “We tell you where the money is going and how it’s transforming lives. Obviously our first love is our own parish, but as a community we have obligations no one parish can meet.”

In thanking the chair-couple, the volunteers and the staff of the archdiocesan Development and Stewardship Office — including new director Michael Halloran — Archbishop Nienstedt saved a special thank you to Pat Regan’s father, Don, who underwrote the cost of the dinner for the Appeal kick-off.

That earned applause, of course, but the founder of Premier Banks and patriarch of the Regan family was the one who had earlier started a show of gratitude at Seton Services.

Having been on the bus with the rest of the crowd from White Bear Lake, Don Regan put into words what many Appeal volunteers were surely thinking after stopping at Seton and hearing of the inspiring work Catholic Charities does for poor, pregnant women and their babies.

“May we all commend you all for all you do,” he said, and the crowded room applauded in agreement.

Continue reading...

Tragedy that is Brazil plays out in nun’s martyrdom

March 30, 2008

1 Comment

“The Greatest Gift,”
by Binka Le Breton

Read this story about the life of Sister Dorothy Stang and you’ll get angry about the evil and the injustice in our world.

Sister Dorothy would look you in the eye and very kindly tell you not to get angry — do something about it.

This sister with a passion to help the poorest of the poor and a mind all her own about how to that help would tell you that working for justice is difficult but wonderfully rewarding. Unfortunately, Sister Dorothy isn’t alive to tell us anything. A pistol was emptied into her in the Amazon jungle in Brazil just three years ago.

Fortunately, because the murder of this petite Sister of Notre Dame de Namur happened not long ago, many who knew and worked with Sister Dorothy are around to tell her story: the poor who strive to eke a living out of Amazonia; other nuns and lay people who shared her work; a bishop who opened his house to her whenever she needed shelter and sanctuary; and even an eyewitness to her murder.

“The Greatest Gift” shares a little of what many will find typical in the early life of Dorothy Mae Stang, daughter of a Dayton, Ohio family. Those early-life chapters may be the only ones in the book that don’t deliver eye-opening insight into the violence that is life for so many in the developing world. This is a book that lets us in on what is happening in parts of the planet where “development” equals greed and where law and civic authorities fail in their duty to protect people’s rights — even their right to life. It’s a book, too, that explores just what it is that makes a person live and die for a cause, for others.

Initially a teaching nun and then a principal in the United States, Sister Dorothy’s work with the migrant community in Arizona earned flattering copy in the Arizona Republic. It was that work with the poor in the Southwest that whet her appetite to work with those who have little or nothing. She asked to be assigned as a missionary, and spent 30 years in Brazil, most of it helping that country’s poor stay alive, feed their families, and take steps toward fulfillment — both temporal and spiritual.

When Sister Dorothy arrived in 1966, the part of Brazil to which she was sent was best described as a feudal state controlled by a few families of landowners and politicians. When the missionaries put religious texts to Brazilian music, the authorities confiscated the song sheets and threw some priests in jail. Their crime? The lyrics said that God created all people equal. Obviously the ruling class couldn’t have that.

During Sister Dorothy’s three decades in Brazil, the government was encouraging large-scale settlement of the western Amazon. The mantra was “Land for Men for Men Without Land,” and the poor and the landless poured into the forest, felling trees and planting crops by the thousands of acres. Sister Dorothy was one of the missionaries who went west with them. She taught people about their rights, helped to establish farm workers’ unions, gave literacy classes, built a center to train teachers, started some little stores, a warehouse, a fruit processing plant, a community trading post, a women’s association that focused on health care.

It was when she fought for land reform that she ended up on a death list. She stood up for stewardship of the land, conservation and interdependence with nature. She developed a program — adopted by the government — that taught people an agriculture method that utilized the forest instead of cutting it down. She travelled to civic offices to secure the paperwork that would verify her people’s ownership of the tracts they had settled on and planted only to have corrupt politicians, police and the Brazilian military sit by and watch greedy ranchers send armed men to chase the poor off that same land.

Her best friend, Joan, talks about Sister Dorothy Stang with these words:

“She was a strong woman,” Joan said, “but sometimes very obstinate. She had a soft voice that echoed through the halls of government offices and bounced off the giant trees of the forests, the same soft voice that could soothe an aching heart and assure someone that God loved them.”

She added, “Dot had a mind that could understand the laws of land reform, the intricacies of sustainable farming, the impact of the destruction of the forest on the world now and in the future, and the hope and conviction that one voice could make a difference.”

In June of 2004 the Brazilian Bar Association gave Sister Dorothy the Humanitarian of the Year Award. Nine months later, a paid gunman shot her down on a dirt road in the jungle. More people need to know about this heroine, so that her work continues. — bz

Continue reading...