Eleanor Badalich: ‘Thank God’
These two words are often spoken by Eleanor Badalich, a 1940 graduate of Providence High School, Chicago, and a faithful donor to the Congregation.
Eleanor is one of those people who seems to be able to make lemonade out of lemons. When she was in her 70s she made a decision to sell the home she shared with her brother, Frank, (RIP) and they moved into Casa San Carlo, an independent living retirement home in Northlake, Ill. While for many people a decision such as this is extremely painful, Eleanor and Frank made the best of the situation and got involved in many activities.
“I decided I wanted to do my own choosing of where I wanted to be. And I wanted to go into a facility while I was still able so I could establish myself there,” said Eleanor.
Many of her classmates and friends from Providence High School followed Eleanor to Casa San Carlo.
“At my dinner table we are four Providence graduates. Two of us are 1940, one is 1936 and I think the other is ’42 or ’43. And then there are one or two at other tables that were classmates,” shared Eleanor, who was also taught by the Sisters of Providence at Our Lady of Sorrow Grade School, Chicago.
Providence has provided Eleanor with lifelong friendships. And her years at Providence High School were not only enjoyable, but they also made a lasting impact on her life.
“I enjoyed [Providence High School] so much that I didn’t want to go home at night. You know, we’d get together and yak or fool around on the piano or do a little volleyball or basketball playing after school.
“I lost one semester due to illness. After that my mother wanted me to come home [immediately after] school, and, well, I just didn’t! I mean it would be four o’clock before I’d come home, and she actually threatened to put me into public school if I didn’t start coming home! We made our friendships there. Many a late afternoon was spent with some of the nuns. Especially for me, it was Sister Mary Charlotte [Miller, RIP]. We just hit it off,” said Eleanor.
Throughout her life, Eleanor has struggled with scoliosis. This medical condition prevented her from pursuing her education in social work, a desire that she had as a young woman. Her doctor told her that such a livelihood would be too demanding for her. Thank God, as Eleanor would say, for she spent 40 years at the Metropolitan Insurance Company, Chicago, which provided her with a great career and an excellent retirement.
And it’s part of that retirement that she so generously shares with the Congregation and many other charitable institutions. In 2008, her munificence was recognized with the Rooted in Providence Award, which is presented to donors who have given $100,000 or more in cumulative gifts to the Congregation.
“Financially I am in great shape, and I feel the least I can do is share a little bit,” said Eleanor, who has also remembered the Congregation in her will.
Since childhood, gardening has been an integral part of Eleanor’s life. Growing up on the northwest side of Chicago, she dug in the dirt and was introduced to flower bulbs by a tenant of her parents. She’s been digging ever since, including at Casa San Carlo. As the Garden Club president in her community she was instrumental in getting raised beds for planting, These higher beds allow more people to participate in vegetable and flower gardening.
Her first-floor apartment is a godsend. Although she has macular degeneration in one eye, Eleanor once more says, “Thank God.”
“Here again I have been so fortunate,” said Eleanor. “The one eye, the macula is gone, but I have peripheral vision. And the other eye has held up. In fact, my ophthalmologist says, ‘I hold my breath every time before you come in.’ And, if anything, the other eye has improved a little. ‘What are you doing?’ [asks the doctor]. I take lots of omega 3, and I do a lot of praying. When I open my blinds in the morning I look out over this pond, this fountain, the gazebo, all the gardens — it’s really lovely. And thank God my last days I have this to look on.”
And the Sisters of Providence thank God for Eleanor and her generosity!
For more information about planned giving, contact Connie Gualano, planned giving manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-535-2811.