Why I Give
As teachers, mentors, colleagues and friends, the Sisters committed their entire lives to serving God’s people. Every day, dear friends and former students express their gratitude through their testimonies and extraordinary generosity.
There are so many reasons and so many different ways to support the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk. With little financial support from the Diocese, the Ursuline Sisters rely on donations to support the work of the Province and to secure the retirement of the Sisters no longer in active ministry.
I was recently asked the question “Why do you support the Ursuline Sisters?” There aren’t enough pages in a book to explain why!!
I first became aware of the Ursuline Sisters when my oldest son attended first grade at Our Lady of Grace School in Howard Beach. My children spent the greatest part of each day away from home in a classroom entrusted to the care of teachers. It is there that they built foundations for their future and support systems that carried them through their lives and into their children’s lives. The Ursulines were the greatest teachers any child could have had. Their mission was our children – the poor and the needy. They were the best example to help children grow with God’s love and in God’s way.
How can we thank them? I don’t think it can be done!! My husband and I were a young married couple when we moved into our community. Our fondest memories in our parish were the times spent with our Sisters in the convent. Today, if we ask for prayers – we know it’s a done deal. When we visit them in Blue Point (which we love to do) we are filled by their Christian way of life and example. We never leave without feeling a closeness to God.
Our Ursuline Sisters are “Our Silent Warriors,” who do so much in silence. We need to remember them with our contributions. Now it is our time to give back.
Joseph Stevens is a long-time supporter of the Ursuline Sisters. A 1951 graduate of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ozone Park, NY, Stevens credits the Sisters for putting him on the right path in life. He admits that his record “wasn’t the best,” but the Sisters, instead of expelling him, put him “on trial.” He was taught to read, write and above all, to be morally straight. “They gave me my faith – the greatest treasure I have.”
Joseph now sees this gift passed on to his five children and eight grandchildren. “He could drive you mad, but you had to love him,” said Sr. Anna, who developed a lifetime friendship with Stevens. “Anytime he had a job, he always bought something for the nuns.” Today, Stevens runs a family business, working with his brother, sons and a grandson. He attends church and receives communion daily, studies the Catechism and supports many Catholic causes. He thanks the Sisters for his faith. “I can’t stop thanking those great nuns who helped nourish this gift.
I was blessed to attend Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ozone Park, NY, where I received an excellent education and a strong foundation in the faith. The Sisters were loving, kind and great teachers. It was the happiest time in my childhood. As a Hebrew Catholic, I am also grateful to the Ursuline Sisters for their attempt to send food and clothing to Sr. Edith Stein and her fellow Jewish prisoners in the death camps at Auschwitz. What heroic courage and compassion they displayed. These consecrated Sisters are truly great daughters of the Church.
As a lifelong resident of Howard Beach, it was only natural that my siblings and I attend Our Lady of Grace School staffed by the Ursuline Sisters. I made lasting friendships with many of the Sisters, in particular, Sr. Paula Carey. I visited her after she was transferred to Seafood, Connecticut, Bellerose and finally Blue Point. In fact, for a few years in the 1950s, I accompanied Sr. Paula to Fordham University once a week, as nuns were not permitted to travel alone on public transportation.
The Sisters dedicated their lives to children asking for little in return. It is only natural that I give back to help them in their retirement. Many people are unaware that the diocese does not help the nuns and that they are on their own to survive. To give a little each month or annually is not too much to ask of their former students who (in my case) received a wonderful education for practically nothing.