Our Story–Why we give to St. Mary’s
Before we became members of St. Mary’s, we were members of a catholic church community that was fulfilling our family’s spiritual needs in so many ways. We were active and committed members and assumed we would be for the rest of our lives–or as long as we lived in St. Paul.
Many things occurred over a period of time including the loss of a beloved priest and a change in leadership with different priorities, and a big change in membership. In addition, we had always been conflicted with some of the Catholic Church’s teachings especially surrounding women’s rights and gay rights. As difficult as it was to think about leaving the faith community we worked so hard be a part, we realized we could no longer resolve these conflicts.
As we were wrestling with this, a national crisis came to light with the assault, bullying, and suicide of several adolescent and young LGBTQ men and women. Our oldest son is gay and, to our horror, he was also assaulted on his college campus that same year.
Some religious organizations spoke out against these atrocities, but our catholic church was silent. This silence was palpable for us. Furthermore, a week after our son’s assault, we received a dvd from our archdiocese explaining why marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman….The decision to leave the catholic church was easy. The loss of this was still very painful.
The first exposure we had to St. Mary’s was the next week. LeeAnne’s words were very powerful. LeeAnne said through tears…”this is our fault!!” She was calling out all the years of religious leaders and followers for our role in creating an unsafe environment for LGBTQ folks. We had never heard this stated publicly from ANYONE in religious leadership.
LeeAnne has preached many times since, naming things for what they are and calling for justice. And reminding us all to think about what God would want us to do or say.
What we have come to realize is that the entire St. Mary’s community has this same attitude. People here genuinely want to help each other and make change in the community in many ways. We CARE about each other and our greater community. Words MATTER, actions MATTER.
The amount of money and time we give to St. Mary’s is for many reasons. We are a small community, and we know how much money it takes to sustain the physical grounds and pay our staff a livable wage. We know we can do more for the greater community with more money. Our fellow members are very generous and their generosity is motivating for us. Selfishly, maybe the biggest reason we give to St. mary’s is because St. Mary’s gives SO MUCH…to us, to each other and to the the communities we serve.
Marty and Kathy Caron