Gifts to Foley Legacy Fund support the underserved, SP mission
In doing research for this article, the image of an octopus kept surfacing in my mind. This eight-armed creature of the deep is an apt symbol for the many undertakings of Mother Mary Cleophas Foley, for whom the fund is named. She was General Superior for 36 years and her leadership resulted in the building of 17 of the major structures at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Her legacy also included introducing Mother Theodore Guerin’s Cause for sainthood and a strong program for the higher education of sisters. The Academy became Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and the first group of American sisters was sent to establish a mission in China.
Caring for each other
When so many structures and programs are set in motion, over the years, sustainability becomes important. The Foley Legacy Fund is a quasi-endowment. It was established with a two-fold purpose: to provide financial support to ministries that provide direct service to the economically poor and underserved and to Congregational ministries that further the mission of the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and elsewhere. Funds for Congregational ministries may be used to provide support for personnel, programs, buildings and grounds needed by the ministry. Any Sister of Providence, Providence Associate or individual in a Sister of Providence ministry may submit a written proposal for funding.
As I was reviewing the proposals funded for fiscal year 2022-23, I again thought of an octopus, its tentacles reaching in all directions. Funds were dispersed to 23 entities, far too many to detail in this article. Mid-year reports arrived at the end of February. This allowed me to highlight just a few instances of what the funding has meant to individuals or groups.
Supporting mental health
Funding for a second social worker was described as “a game changer for our community,” at Providence Cristo Rey High School (PCR) in Indianapolis, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Providence. “The money enables PCR to have social worker personnel available to provide staff, parents and students a better understanding of factors (cultural, societal, economic, familial, health) affecting a student’s performance and behavior, crucial understandings for the low-income students and families that we serve.”
For Eliana, a college student in Honduras, the funding has revived a sense of hope. She speaks of “how much she is learning, her gratitude for her financial assistance and her passion for breaking stereotypes of women in her country.” Rosa was brought across the border from Mexico as a child to work in the Texas fields. She is receiving financial assistance in the rearing and education of her three daughters, Leslie, Sara and Maria.
Another grant went to the Friends of Esquipulas in Nicaragua to assist with the operation of a health clinic. Patients report “experiencing a sense of dignity from the doctor and clinic staff.” Dr. Dali is known for her empathy. “Many people come here with heavy hearts … (they) need a kind face because they have seen far too many harsh faces.”
Closer to home, a junior at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College remarked: “I love the transformation of the Cecilian Auditorium. It feels good to see the College taking care of this important space with this much-needed refresh. I remember a guest needing special assistance because we did not have ADA accommodations as she was in a wheelchair. It took some effort to make her comfortable before our program began. With the help of the Sisters of Providence and the Foley Legacy Fund, we now have multiple seating options that will make all our guests comfortable and feel welcome in the auditorium.”
Grant recipient Bethany House in Chicago welcomes immigrants. “A resident from El Salvador shared: “From the time I arrived at Bethany House, I have had the opportunity to receive much help, from clothing to a room and the opportunity to continue my studies and learn English. I cannot find words for all that Bethany House does for us; they have made me feel safe.”
By making gifts to the quasi-endowment Foley Legacy Fund you can support one of the many arms of our mission — advocacy, education, prayer and service. We invite you join us in reaching out to make a difference in others’ lives.
Originally published in the summer 2023 issue of HOPE magazine.
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