Tag Archives: Stewardship

Who was ‘O’Shaughnessy,’ anyway?

October 23, 2014

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That Great Heart-coverBy Bob Zyskowski

In St. Paul, the name “O’Shaughnessy” graces a handful of buildings at the University of St. Thomas, including the library, education center and football stadium, and at St. Catherine University there is the architectural masterpiece of the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium.

Who this O’Shaughnessy was and how he came about the financial means to support Catholic higher education — plus an amazing variety and staggering volume of charities and individuals — is told in an enlightening new book, “That Great Heart: The Story of I.A. O’Shaughnessy.”

It’s a rags-to-riches tale: Ignatius Aloysius O’Shaughnessy, born in 1885, the youngest of 13 children of a Stillwater bootmaker, graduates from the then College of St. Thomas, becomes the largest independent oil refiner in the United States, makes millions and gives millions away.

Where he started, how he grew his businesses, how and to whom he donates — and especially what motivates him — gives readers an insight into the man behind the buildings.

It makes for good-paced reading, thanks to the journalist’s writing style of author Doug Hennes.

Hennes, vice president for university and government relations at St. Thomas and a former reporter and editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, never met O’Shaughnessy.

He was a freshman at St. Thomas in the fall of 1973; O’Shaughnessy died at 88 in November that year. The oilman’s funeral was held at the Cathedral of St. Paul, and a memorial Mass was held on campus.

“I remember looking out a window from one of the buildings at St. Thomas at what seemed to be an endless procession of black limousines,” Hennes said. “I’ve always been fascinated by the guy.”

Decades later Hennes wrote about O’Shaughnessy for the
St. Thomas magazine and helped with a video about him. That sparked an interest in Hennes to learn more about I.A.

Boxloads of letters

At the Minnesota History Center he discovered 14 boxes of O’Shaughnessy’s correspondence and newspaper clippings, all in files organized alphabetically.

The material painted a picture of the man who is likely known to few who enter the buildings that bear his name.

“Some material even surprised family members,” Hennes said.

IA-St. Thomas football portraitThose surprises include facts such as:

— O’Shaughnessy played on the first St. John’s football team that beat rival St. Thomas, was dismissed for drinking beer (at age 16), went to St. Thomas and became a star for the Tommies.

— As part of a marketing effort, his Globe Oil Company sponsored a basketball team, and players on the Globe Refiners made the bulk of the U.S. squad that won the gold medal in the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

— For a short time he was a part-owner of the Cleveland Indians.

— He was offered the post of U.S. ambassador to Australia but turned it down.

How O’Shaughnessy made his millions is interesting: He borrowed money to finance drilling and refining projects and either paid back investors or bought them out when the projects succeeded.

He played a major role in the development of the oil industry in the Oklahoma and Kansas area, risking building a refinery at the height of the Great Depression.

He eventually used a vertical marketing strategy to not only drill for oil but to refine it for multiple uses — gasoline, kerosene, burning oils, turpentine and lubricating oils and greases — and to distribute it under the Globe trademark to 600 independent dealers in 12 states in the middle of the country and into Canada.Globe Oil truck

“He was pretty sharp,” Hennes said. “He had a shrewd business sense — he had an instinct about what would work and what wouldn’t. And he hired really good people to run the operations.”

O’Shaughnessy was an early adopter of new technologies and methods, and also understood the need to keep employees happy. After starting to give Christmas bonuses, he felt compelled to continue the practice even in years when the company lost money.

Generous beyond measure

Still, it is O’Shaughnessy’s charitable contributions that are the real story behind the man.

“He gave to everything,” Hennes told The Catholic Spirit. The files contain letter after letter of requests for loans and donations, he said. If he decided he would give, he’d write yes and an amount right on the bottom of the letter and write the check right away. Many are for $100 here, $200 there.

“If he was saying no,” Hennes said, “there would be a letter, because he’d always say why.”

 

IA-St. Thomas library mortar work

Outside the O'Shaughnessy Education Center at St. Thomas.

Outside the O’Shaughnessy Education Center at St. Thomas.

While O’Shaughnessy donated millions for buildings at the University of Notre Dame as well as St. Kate and St. Thomas, he often donated only if organizations  raised a matching sum.

“He really saw himself as trying to leverage other gifts,” Hennes said. “He was willing to give, but he wanted to get other people involved, too.”

His faith and his understanding of stewardship both come into play in giving.

Hennes quoted him, “The Lord has been good to me, so I figure I might as well spread some of my money around where it will do some good.”

There’s much more, including O’Shaughnessy’s part in the war effort during World War II, his commitment to his parish —
St. Mark in St. Paul — and the meeting with Pope Paul VI and Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh that led to O’Shaughnessy financing one of the pope’s dreams, the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in the Holy Land.

I.A. O'Shaughnessy and Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh at a private meeting with Pope Paul VI at Castelgandolfo.

I.A. O’Shaughnessy and Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh at a private meeting with Pope Paul VI at Castelgandolfo.

About the book

“That Great Heart” by Doug Hennes, Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, Minn., 2014; 259 pages.

Events

Doug Hennes (2014)A book launch will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on St. Thomas’ campus in St. Paul. The event will include a reading, reception and book signing by author Doug Hennes.

Other “That Great Heart” signings include:

— Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, bookstore, Terrence Murphy Hall, St. Thomas’ Minneapolis campus, 1000 LaSalle Ave.

— 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, Anderson Student Center, St. Thomas’
St. Paul campus.

— Sunday, Nov. 9, after 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses, St. Mark’s Church, 1976 Dayton Ave., St. Paul.

— Saturday, Nov. 15, 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m., St. Patrick’s Guild, 1554 Randolph Ave.,
St. Paul.

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Today is Give to the Max Day! Support your favorite Catholic School or cause!

November 15, 2012

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Today is the day to potentially give your giving a little more punch.

From the GiveMN website:

Today our communities come together for 24 hours of online giving. Every donation you make during Give to the Max Day 2012 will help qualify your nonprofit or school for prize money and awards, furthering the impact of your donation.

There are several ways your donation can go further on Give to the Max Day.

Leaderboard prize grants – nonprofits which raise the most dollars will earn a spot on one of the four leaderboards. There are prize grants for each of the top 10 spots on all leaderboards. Prizes are as follows: 1st place – $12,500; 2nd place – $5,000; 3rd place – $2,500; 4th-10th place – $1,000.

Golden Tickets – One nonprofit donor and one K-12 public schools donor will be randomly chosen every hour to have $1,000 added to their donation. One nonprofit donor and one K-12 public schools donor will also be selected randomly from throughout the 24 hours of giving to have $10,000 added to their donation!

Matching grants – hundreds of nonprofits are offering a dollar-for-dollar match so you can double your donation.

Learn about the nonprofits and schools serving our area, make a donation, and watch your generosity change lives. For complete rules and prizes, click the link below.

Here’s how to find your Catholic School or organization

1) Click on this link

 

2)

 

Note: The “Find a School” button seems to apply to public schools only.

3)

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Stewardship toolkit is growing

June 8, 2012

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Corpus Christi parish in Roseville used elements of the Archdiocesan Stewardship Toolkit last year when it was first introduced.

“The toolkit was helpful in setting up our ministry fair,” said Tom Dohm, who is a member of the Corpus Christi parish pastoral council as well as its stewardship committee. “But more than that it helped us with the broader stewardship effort in our parish.”

Dohm was one of more than 300 parish leaders – clergy and mostly lay – who attended one of five workshops intended to present the new tools that have been added to the toolkit in this its second year. The workshops were spread geographically across the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis the first full week of June.

Along with presenting the new elements of the toolkit, the workshops offered parish leaders time to share challenges and ideas with others engaged in parish stewardship initiatives and to suggest other needs that might be addressed in the toolkit in the future.

At each workshop Michael Halloran, archdiocesan director of development and stewardship, briefly ran through the elements new to the toolkit:

  • A chapter on Shared Ministry;
  • More scriptural references to stewardship;
  • A chapter on Planned Giving;
  • More samples of commitment forms, pastor talks about stewardship, and,
  • A section to facilitate the segmenting of parish lists through the Logos software system for more effective annual stewardship renewal efforts.

The toolkit is available both in three-ring binder form and on http://www.archspm.org, and Halloran invited parish leaders to browse through the updated version to see what’s available now to see what they may want to adapt for their own parish stewardship initiatives.

 Added time and talent pieces

At the workshops Mary Kennedy and Sally Carlson-Bancroft described the additions to the toolkit aimed at supporting approaches to parish volunteerism.

Kennedy, coordinator of stewardship at Pax Christi in Eden Prairie and chair of the archdiocesan Stewardship Committee, pointed out that in its first year the toolkit’s emphasis was on the more financial aspects of the parish annual stewardship renewal effort.

“This year we collaborated with the Shared Ministry Association in the archdiocese to work on the time and talent part,” Kennedy said.

Carlson-Bancroft, coordinator of both volunteer support and new member welcome at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, noted the importance of encouraging all aspects of a giving community, not simply financial stewardship.

“So much of our life is about how we steward our time and talent as well as our treasure,” she noted.

The new toolkit chapter on Shared Ministry includes a baker’s dozen ways to link parishioners’ gifts with ministry opportunities and samples of ways to invite people into parish ministry.

 More for Logos users,  new Planned Giving section

Mike Laughery introduced the new segment of the toolkit that shows the step-by-step process to segment donor lists using Logos, a process he used as business administrator at St. Michael in Prior Lake, and Pam Burke, the Logos consultant to the archdiocese, walked attendees through a sample of the possibilities the software affords for better stewardship results.

Finally, Bill Marsella of the Catholic Community Foundation offered a glimpse at the new chapter on Planned Giving and the reasoning behind adding it to the toolkit.

The chapter includes sample letters, suggested resources and steps for building an endowment.

During a roundtable discussion with parish leaders from St. Patrick in Oak Grove, Corpus Christi’s Dohm said he liked the new things that have been added to the toolkit.

“I like the strength-finder idea, and maybe working on the endowment, too,” he said.

Mark Flynn from St. Patrick said his parish began using the new stewardship logo from the toolkit last year, and is looking forward to the new portions on Shared Ministry.

“We need help with volunteer development,” Flynn said, “re-generation of volunteers. We need to work on how to ask for volunteers.”

Ideas for future additions to the toolkit that surfaced at that one table included stewardship education for children, family activities with a stewardship focus and education pieces on the benefits of electronic giving.

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Making giving easy — stewardship’s next goal

January 17, 2012

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You’re paying most of your household bills online.

Instead of writing a check and putting it in the usher’s basket each week, you’ve got automatic-withdrawal set up so your parish gets your donation right from your checking account.

Think about the hassle it would save both you and the parish bookkeeper — not to mention the savings in printed material and postage — if you could make your annual stewardship pledge right online.

That was the kind of thinking that came out last week at a gathering in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development joined efforts with the Association of Parish Business Administrators for a listen-and-learn session that allowed parish administrators to hear some best practices of their peers and to give feedback to the archdiocesan Stewardship Committee about its efforts during the past year.

Stewardship director Mike Halloran was especially looking for feedback on the Stewardship Toolkit the archdiocese made available last spring.  Sample pastor letters, pledge forms and the suggested timeline for a parish stewardship campaign were among the most-used pieces of the toolkit, which was available both in a three-ring binder and online.

Parish business administrators also asked for more copy-and-paste features, for instruction on how to write good “ask” letters, and for help in bringing pastoral leadership (read clergy) on board with the approach the archdiocese itself is promoting, that is, stewardship as a way of life.

Four administrators showcased their efforts during the “best practices” portion of the morning.

From Deb Langlois, of St. John the Evangelist in Little Canada:

  • Rekindled the parish stewardship committee and used the Stewardship Toolkit as a roadmap;
  • Added accountability to the annual parish report;
  • Tailored two separate messages, one to active and engaged parishioners and one to inactive;
  • Suggested “growth-step giving,” asking, “Could you grow a step in your pledge, and if you do here is what we will do with the money.” Results? Biggest percentage back from new parishioners ever.

From Mike Laughery, St. Michael in Prior Lake:

  • Began sending out quarterly giving reports;
  • Added a ministry fair — and got 250 new volunteers;
  • Invited a nationally known speaker to give stewardship talk at Masses.

From Scottie Bahr, Holy Spirit in St. Paul, offered goals for coming year’s stewardship efforts:

  • Allow credit-card giving;
  • Give donors a personalized history of pledge giving.

From Jon Jakoblich, Transfiguration in Oakdale:

  • Saved $10,000-$14,000 by not using a consulting firm;
  • Did a parish census, reducing wasted mailings and postage;
  • Used the theme, “Reinvest in Your Parish”;
  • After a short homily, did an in-pew ask at all Masses and gave parishioners time to fill out simple pledge card that concerned finances only, not time or talent. Result was increased pledge of $140 per family.
  • Wrote hand-written thank yous that Sunday that were in the mail Monday.
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3 Simple Ways to Think About Sharing

September 22, 2011

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Here are some good thoughts to help us get a handle on giving.

Having generous eyes allows us to focus on giving what we can, where we can. We begin seeing others the way God sees them: as people in need.

Dad was a great Little League baseball and grade school basketball coach. He taught a simple, 3-step way anyone could become a better player:

1. Practice.

2. Practice.

3. Practice.

The same goes for deciding to give to a church, a charity or a cause. That’s the advice from Pastor Craig Groeschel, who wrote a column in Relevant Magazine that really made me think about whether or not I’m rich. He says we all need to practice having generous eyes. And:

“The only way to cultivate generous eyes is to practice — to look for opportunities and then give in to them.”

We’ll be drawn closer to God, he suggests, we’ll start seeing life from God’s perspective, if we practice, practice, practice giving at three levels. They’re easy to remember, too, because they all begin with “S.”

1. Spontaneous. When you see a need you can meet, do it.

2. Strategic. Plan your giving. Calculate ways your generosity can achieve maximum impact.

3. Sacrificial. Live like you’re managing not your own resources but God’s. Give both spontaneously and strategically, but use only the minimum that you need and give the rest away.

Is two out of three bad? 🙂

Are there other folks you think would appreciate reading this? Feel free to share to any and all via e-mail and social media.

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4 simple ways you and I can be good stewards

September 6, 2011

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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.

 

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