Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Friends in All Places

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Friends in All Places

Article excerpt

In the Aug. 25-Sept. 7 issue of NCR, I wrote about Sr. Helen Garvey and the motivating spirit she brought to gatherings and communities. For many years, Helen was the chairwoman of the NCR board's development committee, the panel tasked with guiding us in our fundraising endeavors. As many of you know, we have created an endowment fund to honor the work of Tom Fox, NCR's longtime editor and publisher. The purpose of the fund is to ensure that NCR's journalism--the stories we tell, the analysis we offer, the opinions we espouse--can survive the economic changes that are challenging this industry.

Helen, who spent much of her vocation organizing sisters into action, wanted to tap into the resource of women religious for the Tom Fox Fund. She knew there would be interest, but she also knew the sisters had to be asked, and to be asked in just the right way. If anyone knew that "right way," it was Helen Garvey.

But Helen, who passed away Aug. 6, also knew she could not start knocking on the doors of congregations across the country if she had not first approached her own community--the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary "I felt that I could not ask other congregations in the future, unless I started with my own," she said in an email to me last year.

Helen was not shy about asking for anything. But soliciting a donation for NCR from her own community's board, she later told me, was one of the hardest things she'd ever done. Braced for a reaction she could not anticipate, Helen boldly and bravely went to the BVM leadership, spelled out the situation at NCR, and made the ask. The board quickly came back with a pledge for the amount Helen had sought.

Helen, with the help of Sr. Mary Dacey, an NCR director and member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia, went on to raise $336,500 from women religious communities. …

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