Pictured: Maria showing CMIC donor Joan Pape how to make origami frogs leap.
By Elvira Santiago Foronda
With access to the internet on mobile devices that provide news, games, movies and more, one would not think of paper folding as fun. It was certainly fun meeting CMIC’s donor since 1988 and annuitant Mary Brath who showed me how to make origami stars and leaping frogs when I visited her at her home. She asked me to come for Mass that she attends daily at 9:30 am; it is always good to start a visit that way!
Maria was born in Hungary and grew up in a German settlement where everyone was Catholic and where her teachers were nuns. Her mother, whom she loved dearly and always wanted to please, was a devout Catholic. She learned how to fold cheap paper into fun shapes for entertainment because there was nothing to do during the war. When the war was ending, they were given only two hours to pick up everything that they could take and leave the settlement.
I asked how she remained faithful, and she replied, “if you lived through a war and there was nothing to hold on to, one quickly focuses on God for refuge.” She says, “all people we meet are sent by God.” Living at the retirement home allows her to meet people from all cultures and religions, and share with them the beauty of our faith and of listening to God. She brings them to the chapel and tells them about the beauty of solitude in praying to God.
Her introduction to Catholic Missions In Canada is a little unusual. Sixty years ago, she volunteered at a Catholic school library in Sarnia that soon hired her for the beautiful work that she did. She processed the mail, and she found Catholic Missions magazines sent to the school. She put them out for the staff to take and she began to take one home to read. She soon understood the need for the wonderful ministry that our missionaries provided. She was impressed by the stories of the priests and nuns who moved to unfamiliar and harsh places to proclaim the gospel to ensure the continuance of our faith. She understood the difficulty, having lived through the war, and knew that much help was needed.
She took an interest in the rates listed in our Charitable Gift Annuity advertisement. She consulted with her children who directed her to check with a professional advisor at her bank who confirmed that they were excellent rates and encouraged her to invest. She now has invested in several annuities with Catholic Missions and receives guaranteed tax-free income for life. She is happy that she would continue to support our missionaries knowing that the residual funds will be directed to missionaries at the end of her life. She also continues to support our missionaries outside of her annuities.
When asked why she agreed to be included in our publications, she affirmed that she wants to inform others about the needs at our missions and let others know that investing in annuities is a great way to secure income for life at great rates, especially in one’s later years.
In our books, she is truly a star! If you wish to let the stars shine brighter on our missionaries and support their fantastic work, I am happy to discuss with you the best options for your charitable giving that benefit you and our missions. I would also be pleased to show you how to fold paper into beautiful stars!