A Family's Support of Glenmary: From Legacy to Major Commitment
Over the years, Carolyn and George McMahon's support of Glenmary has been both a family legacy and a personal commitment. As far back as Carolyn's 1950s college days, she remembers her mother Julia's work with the Glenmary Guild, a group of women who assisted Glenmary in many ways.
As a college student, Carolyn herself helped Glenmary, too. And after retirement, she joined her mother in the Guild, while Carolyn and her husband George—now ages 79 and 81—became dedicated Glenmary donors as well as planned givers through their will.
"Mother and other Guild members used to make quilts and also sew and mend a lot of items," said Carolyn. The items included vestments, altar cloths and more, as well as layette sets for infants.
"My mother was especially talented at quilting, and those quilts were raffled off to raise money. She had this gift and wanted to give back to God. And she helped with many other fundraising activities. She thought Glenmary was a very good cause because the missioners serve people in need in U.S. mission areas."
As a University of Cincinnati student, Carolyn joined the Theta Phi Alpha sorority only to find out that the national group's chief philanthropic cause was Glenmary! She wholeheartedly participated in the local chapter's support efforts.
After Carolyn graduated, she married George, began raising their two children in their native Cincinnati, and later pursued her teaching career. And George worked as an accountant and business manager.
"During that period of our lives, it was hard to devote time to other things," she recalled. "But after I retired from teaching in 1996, I talked to my mother, decided volunteering with the Guild was a good way to go, and started going to meetings with her." What's more, Carolyn and George began making regular donations. And after about two years, Carolyn became the Guild's corresponding secretary and got even more involved in fundraising projects.
Through the years, she went on several mission trips that strengthened her belief in the importance of Glenmary's work. "I think every donor or prospective donor would benefit from going on one or more of these trips. They were real eye-openers. The dedication of the priests, brothers and coworkers was obvious. And the mission members were wonderful people. We also saw the poverty in these areas."
She went on most of these trips with fellow members of the Guild, which finally dissolved in 2003—just three years before her mother's death.
The 2007 group trip Carolyn and George took to the Vanceburg, Ky., mission made a strong impression on them. "We worked as volunteers for an ecumenical effort called Project Merry Christmas, where people in need could choose donated, age-appropriate gifts for children and adults," she said. "It gave us another close-up look at some of Glenmary's work." The couple also hope to go on a mission trip in 2016.
She said they support Glenmary financially and prayerfully as major donors because they believe in the society's mission and because "it's what we can do. We don't have the calling to be missionaries ourselves, but we can help make sure Glenmary's important work continues."
In 2011, when the McMahons were revising their will, "We never thought of not including Glenmary."
In retirement, Carolyn and George—now grandparents of three and great-grandparents of two—are both active community volunteers. For example, Carolyn works at a resale shop whose profits benefit local community members, mainly in the form of school scholarships. Meanwhile, George volunteers at Cincinnati Museum Center as a greeter, docent and narrator.
They also keep up with Glenmary ministries by reading the group's publications. "We're very glad we can carry on our family's support of Glenmary," added Carolyn.