Recalling ninety-one years on this earth, a dear friend of the Priests of the Sacred Heart shares her family's inspiring story.
Mary's father, who was originally from Canada, relocated to South Dakota where he met and married her mother in 1912. At the time there were no churches in the diocese of Strool, South Dakota (no longer in existence). The area priest, Fr. O'Hora drove 170 miles from Lemmon, SD to Newell, SD in a horse and buggy, stopping by the homes of Catholics to offer Mass. The women made the hosts and baked them between sad irons.
During this time of severe shortage of priests, there were many times, up to four months, without priests – and at times, no Mass at Christmas.
Deeply devoted, Mary's father and mother built the first church in their community and furnished it. The church became known as the Sacred Heart Church. So began the family's devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Mary was raised on the prairies of South Dakota, the only girl of five. Sadly at the age of 5 Mary's father passed away leaving her mother to raise the children on her own. Mary's mother kept their faith alive having the children say the Rosary on their knees every Sunday for an hour along with the litanies.
When Mary first met her future husband, he had not been baptized and had many "false ideas" about the Catholic faith. Mary agreed to marry him if he learned enough about the Catholic Church. A year later at the age of 22, Ralph and Mary married and Ralph was baptized. Ralph was in the service and later in politics. He had become a "very good Catholic" and added much to the church they belonged to in Long Beach for 53 years.
Mary continues her family's devotion to the Sacred Heart that was started so many years ago. She says, "The Sacred Heart has always been special to my family." When Mary's mother passed away, she left land in South Dakota to each of her five children. Mary sold hers to her brothers and gave back to the Sacred Heart by establishing a Sacred Heart Charitable Gift Annuity with the money she received from the sale. The Sacred Heart Charitable Gift Annuity she established then, and the four additional she has added since, provide Mary with fixed income for her lifetime and the promise of prayers now and at her death.
Mary also is eligible to a charitable deduction and partially tax free income. In addition, all annuitants are enrolled in the Sacred Heart Auxiliary which means they will share in the daily prayers, Masses and monthly Novenas of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
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