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An unexpected blessing

As February drew near, I dreaded the annual request for volunteers to make calls to our donors asking for donations. How did I know how this year of COVID-19 had affected them? How many had lost jobs, lost loved ones, waited in line for hours for food or vaccine shots?

My response to the request was slow and reluctant, but finally I volunteered telling myself our donors would welcome being able to share with us what this year was like. The important thing was to allow them to share the stories whether or not they could make a donation at this time. Little did I know what a blessing awaited me.

I spoke with a 90-some-year-old in Texas. Thankfully, she was only without power for three hours. She was facing an upcoming surgery, date unknown. She was so grateful for her son who lives with her and is her caretaker. She was deeply concerned for those children, families in the area without power, whose homes were damaged, who were facing empty grocery shelves and lack of water. An amazing, compassionate women, I thought.

Initially she didn’t feel she could donate at this time, but changed her mind at the end of the phone call. I talked her out of it, feeling it was not a good time for her to do that. A couple days later, she called me back to say she felt better and wanted to donate now.

I talked with someone who is a caretaker for her sister who has Parkinson’s. She herself is struggling with cancer and complications with the drugs she needs to take. I asked if it was even appropriate for me to request a donation. Without hesitation, she responded with a very generous amount from both of them and asked if that would be enough. Oh my goodness, yes!

Another woman shared her life story of significant medical issues with her children when they were young and how they are doing now as adults. Her husband, now deceased, was a fire chief which meant he was in a profession risking his life every day. I knew I was talking to a valiant woman whose life is an incredible inspiration. When I asked about a prayer request, she responded with: “That people will respect each other and get along with each other.”

I am grateful even for those who allowed me to make answering machine requests because it allowed me to express my concern for what this year has been like for you. Also, 43 percent of our phonathon donations usually come from our answering machine requests.

My heart is filled and overflowing for your sharing your stories as well as for your donations when that is possible.

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Sister Donna Butler

Sister Donna Butler has been a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for more than 60 years. Sister Donna has served in elementary education, parish ministry, diocesan social justice, as well as the Congregation’s liturgy office, archives department and social justice outreach. She also administered as the director of the Providence Volunteer Ministry. Sister Donna currently volunteers in outreach with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students.

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  1. Marsha Speth on March 4, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Lovely, Donna! Thank you for opening yourself and sharing with all of us!

  2. Carolyn Kessler, SP on March 4, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Donna, this is just beautiful from both ends – your input and the response you received. Thank you for representing us so beautifully! The Blessings of Providence abundantly!

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