Journals and Letters week 14: Mother Theodore the fundraiser
What stood out for me in this reading is the difficulties of the life of a fundraiser. Having worked for many years in the communications and fundraising office of the Sisters of Providence, it seems an honor to follow in the footsteps of Saint Mother Theodore, our first fundraiser!
In the journal, Mother Theodore tells how too much rain ruined so many crops, causing a difficult time for fundraising. This seems akin to where we find ourselves right now, needing to raise money for the sisters’ mission during a pandemic. It can be hard.
In the story of the sisters’ “big break,” getting help from Queen Amelia, I see many lessons. First, the value of allowing ourselves to be encouraged on by others when we get discouraged in our work. Mother Theodore only finally went to the royal house at Sister Mary Cecelia’s continued urging. Mother Theodore felt burnt out and ready to give up. Can’t we can all relate to having someone we care about urge us when we have lost hope?
The importance of connections also stands out for me. The initial letter of introduction the sisters had was to a tutor of the children of the king’s “keeper of the seals.” That connection and some persistent helpers led to help from the entire royal family by way of the Queen.
Queen Amelia offered kindness to the sisters and promised to pay their passage back to America and ask others for continued funds for the mission. Just what the weary sisters needed! But it was more than that. Mother Theodore said that even if the money for the voyage would fail to come through, just being with Queen Amelia brought comfort. “She had spoken sweet words which went straight to the heart, words consoling and strengthening, which poor solicitors seldom receive. How many times after having gone up and down stairs, climbing to the third and fourth stories, I wept in the streets before beginning another ascent to receive only a half franc with more contempt!”
How do I respond?
I felt so sorry for Mother Theodore reading this. How hard is the life of a fundraiser! I started to think of how I treat phone solicitors, probably the closest I come to being unkind to a solicitor. Ironically enough, as I was writing this, somebody called me from a breast cancer charity. This call turned out to be a robocall. I said hello about eight times and the caller returned two robo recorded messages pretending to be a real human being. So I hung up on the call with no regrets 😊. I doubt the recording’s feelings were hurt as Mother Theodore’s had been. But I will try to be polite the next time a real person calls on me asking for funds.
What are your thoughts on the fundraising efforts of Mother Theodore and Sister Mary Cecelia?
What in particular stands out for you as you read this passage?
Next week > page 123 to page 132 mid page