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Stories of Giving

A Family Affair: Sisters Establish Endowment Fund

Donor

Betty Beachamp and Shirley Young can't remember a time when they weren't enjoying life within St. John's Parish, Westminster.

"When we were going to St. John's back in the '50s, the parish used to have a carnival," Betty recalls. "We'd go help serve the chicken and waffles. I can remember doing that for years and years."

Now retired and in their 70s, the sisters still spend their days in the heart of parish life. Sunday finds them sitting in the same pew at the same Mass. On Tuesdays, they are faithful guardians of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour. When asked what occupies the rest of their time, they laugh: "Well, we belong to the St. John's health care ministry, and we are Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist," Shirley explains. "So that's two days a week." The sisters visit nursing homes; buy food, gifts and clothing for families in need; volunteer in the community; enjoy needlepoint, travel and collectibles; and in their spare time, they exercise! "We keep pretty busy," Betty says with a chuckle.

Because St. John's has provided them with so much, Betty and Shirley decided more than a decade ago to "leave everything to the parish" they have always considered home. Working with the Catholic Community Foundation, they have established The Betty Beachamp and Shirley Young Endowment Fund to benefit St. John's. Half the interest on the endowment is designated for pastoral care; the other half will support the upkeep and maintenance of parish buildings, especially the school. "When we were growing up, we didn't have a whole lot," Betty says, "but all five of us went to St. John's school. And even though sometimes we didn't have enough tuition money, we still got to go to St. John's. So, we feel this is our way of giving back what has been given to us."

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