Fr. Richard A. McGarrity, SJ (1931-2009) was a marketing professor and later an associate vice president for academic affairs at Marquette University. He served as president of Jesuit Partners in Milwaukee.
By Jim Mahaffey
Many years have passed since I was a student at Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, but the impact of that experience is still very fresh in my mind.
It was the foundation of my education and the greatest influence of my later life.
Since my time at Campion, my appreciation for my Jesuit roots has only grown. I also took advantage of Jesuit-led retreats and developed a friendship with Fr. Richard McGarrity, SJ.
This relationship started when I read a publication about Fr. McGarrity, who headed the Jesuit Partnership. Interested in learning more, I called to ask about the work he was doing. At that time, his assignment was in advancement for the Society’s Wisconsin Province, raising funds for the care of elderly and infirm Jesuits, training of seminarians, and support of national and international Jesuit ministries.
I told him I was interested in financially supporting the Jesuits’ efforts, but I wanted to know firsthand where my donations were specifically going. So I flew to Milwaukee and Marquette University, and together with Fr. McGarrity, toured the St. Camillus facilities where elder Jesuits “retire.” Seeing how the retired priests are cared for, and continue to serve, impressed me.
When it came time for estate planning, my Financial and Estate Planner advised me there were significant tax advantages in benefiting a charity. While I’ve given to various causes over the years, I’ve never been what I’d consider a philanthropist. So this was an opportunity to think about where I believed a meaningful donation would do a great deal of good.
For me, the choice was clear: I named the Jesuits–and particularly their efforts to care for the elder retiring priests–as a beneficiary in my trust. I think when you’re choosing a cause to support, it’s important you know something about it, and have a relationship with it, versus a worthwhile, but “distant” charity. In my case, the Jesuits have had a powerful, personal, special effect on my life, and I know they will use the funds well.
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