By Mary Ellen Mahoney
In the past six weeks I have attended funerals and wakes for six dear people. Each service was uniquely beautiful and inspired me to reflect on how each person had impacted my life.
In thinking about June being Legacy Month here in the Diocese, I couldn’t help but also consider how each of these beloved people have left their own legacies here on earth.
The last funeral I attended was for Dr. Robert Miller, former president of Quinebaug Valley Community College as well as The Catholic Foundation of the Diocese, to name only two of the leadership positions he held. I had the good fortune to work with Dr. Miller while he was president of the Catholic Foundation.
Always very much the gentle man, kind, supportive and generous, I was not surprised to hear his five children describe Bob in just the same way. Bob’s public persona was the same as his private one. He was always true to himself; he was as he was, and at the core, he was a very good person.
Bob and his wife Sylvia were married for 64 years, being blessed with five children, 13 grandchildren and one very darling young great-granddaughter. Bob’s legacy was apparent in his family. His children talked about how he raised them to never stop learning, to travel, to appreciate nature and to nourish their own families in much the same way.
They have modeled their lives after their parents and now bear the fruit of witnessing their children growing up to embrace those ideals cherished by their grandparents. I especially loved hearing how Bob would gather the grandchildren together while at their lake house to identify the birds’ songs and the trees and plants, as a prelude to him teaching them how to paint pictures of the bouquets of flowers they had gathered together. It sounded very beautiful, actually idyllic to me.
We all have the chance to leave a legacy with the people we love, we also have the potential to take action now to remember our favorite Diocesan organization in our estate planning and thereby establish another type of legacy. It can be as simple as changing a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement account, or adding your church, the Annual Catholic Appeal, or your school to your will.
If you have already written your will, adding a simple codicil amending your will is an option. There are so many ways that you can act today to ensure that when you pass, your chosen Diocesan entity will receive some of the benefit of your years of hard work.
The legacy we decide to leave is as varied as we are. Each of us is unique with different passions and wishes. Some want to be public about their plans and others remain very private. We have a recent donor who shall remain anonymous who changed the beneficiary of her will, retirement and bank account to support a Diocesan entity. It was simple to do and ensured that her desires and priorities will be honored after her passing.
With the beautiful June nights here, it might be nice to take a minute to sit outside on a starry night and contemplate what you want your legacy to be. I can imagine Bob Miller doing just that on the shores of his beloved lake.
To learn more, please contact Mary Ellen Mahoney, Executive Director of Development at 860-886-1928 ext. 13 or memahoney@norwichdiocese. net. You may also visit the Planned Giving portion of the Development Office website at norwichdiocesedevelopment.org.