I like to think of myself as a fairly ordinary wife and mother—I raise my children, do laundry, walk the dog, grocery shop and care for my family’s temporal needs. I love to bargain and am always looking for that “great buy” which finds me carefully spending my monthly grocery allotment and scanning garage sales during the summer. I try to stretch our budget as much as possible, signing my children up for community school dance classes instead of private lessons and purchasing some of our clothing at resale stores and thrift shops. My husband and I have always abided by a fairly strict budget, a tool we learned to use during his years in seminary when our finances were quite lean. We’re not broke, but we’re careful.
So, why me? Why would a happy penny-pincher like me want to become a member of the Order of St. Ignatius? I’m not rich, I don’t have much status, I’m not a mover and shaker in any community, much less my parish community. I’m just your basic, everyday, wife-and-mother type, trying to provide for her family as best she can.
And right there is why I joined the Order. Finding the olives on sale, or a new pair of children’s shoes marked down is great for my family, but it is temporal. It is of the here and now and will not last. Joining the Order provided me a way to give to my children, my family, my parish, and my archdiocese in a concrete and enduring way. By being one small part of the Order, I can be a large part of the charitable works and programs the Order sponsors. I can give to a maternity home in California, or a camp program at the Antiochian Village, or help provide retired clergy with needed housing funds all while living my everyday life. For a mere $40/month (OK, it’s actually $41.67 and can be automatically withdrawn from your checking account, which is really convenient), I am part of a great force of good.
This is a true and lasting legacy for my children. Yes, I’ve had to give up some little things to be able to make the monthly payments, but when I think of the others I am serving with my small token, I am thankful and blessed.
So, if you’re looking for a great bargain, join the Order. You will be blessed along with your family, parish, and many others. Switch from a venti latte to a tall, go out to eat one less time each month, buy your next outfit resale, do without, just give. And trust me, you will receive!