Written by: Rita Reif
It was the 5th GALA the Holy Family Residence has hosted since 2007.
It has been an honor for me to walk along side the Sisters and their staff as a committee member for this fundraising event held on June 11, 2014 at St Thomas University/Anderson Student Center.
The Little Sisters know and live the true meaning of hospitality so it should come as no surprise they would choose a venue that is simple, elegant and welcoming to all who come to support them in their mission.
The evening began with a cocktail hour and silent auction as the guests mingled with each other while enjoying a cool beverage and bidding on their favorite items. Yes, there were certainly those hovering around their special packages increasing their bids as often as it would take to be the prized winner.
The dinner tables were dressed with soft colored linens and flowers filling the space in the Hall of Anderson Student Center comfortably and cozy at the same time. Dinner was a delicious combo of beef and chicken cooked by the St. Thomas kitchen staff.
This year’s recipient of the St. Jeanne Jugan Award went to Jim Hannigan, of J and J Distributing. Jim and his wife, Debbie have long supported, very generously, both in time and treasure the Little Sisters mission. We are so grateful for their love and abundant blessings towards the Sisters.
The Keynote Speakers were Dr. and Mrs Edward Gatz. Dr. Gatz was the recipient of a miracle from St. Jeanne Jugan, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Her miracle of healing Dr. Gatz from his prognosis of terminal cancer, was the miracle that Rome awarded her the honor of her canonization in October, 2009.
The story shared by both Dr. Gatz and his wife, Jeanne, were both compelling and inspiring. Not often in our lives are we able to sit around table in the same room with a person being able to share such a profound experience. It was truly “Holy Ground” for all able to attend.
The evening ended with a spirited Live Auction led by Auctioneer Rod Johnson. Traditionally our guests anticipate some exciting items and are anxious to bid. Lucky winners walked home with auctioned items such as: A trip for 2 to Rome, tickets to a Notre Dame Football Game; Timberwolves Tickets; Boat Cruise on St. Croix River with Fr. John Malone; and many more.
Begging for the Little Sisters was my “calling” this year for the GALA….I always enjoy calling on merchants in our community and asking for their support as I share the mission and ministry of these beautiful women. So glad this year, once again….our “begging” paid off big time as our generous supporters helped the Sisters exceed their goal….in more ways than one!