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Stories of Giving

When Tragedy Leads to Transformation and the Joy of Giving


For St. Louis parishioner Marianne Faulstich, establishing The Murphy-Faulstich Endowment Fund represents more than the contribution she's leaving behind for pastoral needs.

It's creating a legacy— if not a challenge—for others to follow their hearts and revel in God's love.

A lifelong Baltimore area native, Marianne had a childhood rooted in 16 years of Catholic education. She grew up in Immaculate Conception Parish and graduated from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. For decades, Marianne, a retired federal employee, dutifully contributed to the church.

Yet looking back, Marianne says, "It's so easy for us cradle Catholics to take everything for granted, and for our faith to become a checklist of observances." For Marianne, though, one fateful day in 2003 changed all that. A.J., her husband of 31 years and a diabetic, died from heart failure as a result of the disease, leaving Marianne miserable and desolate.

Meanwhile, Marianne's two sisters had been planning a surprise visit to see her and their mother. Their arrival during that time buoyed Marianne's faith, and shortly after, she experienced an epiphany that would change the course of her spiritual journey.

Marianne adds, "I started to look back on my life and realized that no matter what was going to happen to my husband, it was going to be okay. Because even when awful things happen, there's a core of joy at the bottom, and I wasn't alone. It was my first clue that God's love was personal, and nothing's been the same since. It dawned on me that my life is not about me, but about whatever and however the Lord wants me to help with his kingdom."

Spurred on by this realization, she immersed herself in heartfelt discussions with the pastoral staff, and now shares her experience with others who have lost loved ones. Marianne also dedicates her time and effort to various church committees and programs, and serves as a lector and as a religious educator for grade-schoolers. She is also a member of the board of trustees of the Catholic Community Foundation of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and serves as chair of the Distribution Committee for the Foundation. In addition, Marianne has carved out time to enrich her understanding of the faith by pursuing a graduate degree in pastoral studies at Washington Theological Union.

Her deeper love of the Lord and unwavering sense of service comes as no surprise to Monsignor Joseph Luca, pastor at St. Louis Parish. "Marianne is a dear human being who is willing to do and give whatever is needed to further the cause of the Gospel. She is very much alive and attuned to the needs of others, and she is a role model within our midst as an example of what we really want ourselves to be."

Msgr. Luca realizes the significance of the endowment fund Marianne has provided and understands the need to encourage the building of endowments to provide for the ongoing mission and ministry of the parish. He adds, "Our parish family is working to preserve our treasured legacy we have built, not only with what we can give now, but with our accumulated wealth to care for what's important to us in the future."

The endowment fund will help two things dear to her heart: St. Louis Parish and the diocesan priests' ongoing education and re-energizing opportunities. But for Marianne, her generosity also invokes an invitation for others to join her on the incredible journey that has brought her closer to God.

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If you would like more information on how you can establish your own named family fund in the Catholic Community Foundation please contact the Foundation at 410-547-5356.

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