The Lord will provide. Trust in the Lord. These are maxims that we keep repeating because they are true! Not that you get everything you ask for, but when the time is right with the Lord, just asking will get you what you need.
The example of the Servant of God Blandina Segale
My mom’s favorite book was At the end of the Santa Fe trail, the diary of Sr. Blandina Segale (now candidate for holiness). This book is also one of my favorites because I admire Sr. Blandina’s fundraising style – do what you need to do and the money will come!
On several occasions, Sr Blandina started to build projects for a school or a hospital without any money. Somehow, however, the money was still getting to her. I suspect people would see how hard she worked and feel compelled to join her.
One example was when she needed a new school building in 1873 in Trinidad, Colorado. She borrowed a crowbar and went up to the roof to start loosening the adobes. A prominent woman came by and asked, “For God’s sake, sister, what are you doing?
Sr Blandina told her that she needed a new school. The woman asked how many men were needed. Sr. Blandina replied: “We need not only men, but also straw, molds, hoods, shovels – all that is needed to build a house with a shingled roof. Our strengths are good will and energy.
The woman replied, “I’ll get what you need.” In less than an hour, she returned with six men and supplies. Eventually, the town carpenters offered to help and the merchants donated nails, paint, etc. Sr. Blandina herself wore the city plasterer’s hood (and taught her a new method!).
A Jesuit pastor told others he was watching a case study of human nature in which goodwill and tact built a school. Even the bishop came to see “the school being built without money”.
Furniture for our new church
My parish has a satellite church in a very poor part of town. When some of us visited the church we were appalled at what we saw. The church consisted of three plywood sides with a tin roof. The fourth side was open and the floor was dirt!
The partial envelope from a previous attempt to build a beautiful church was still there, so we decided to raise funds and build on this site.
Thanks to a large donation from a parishioner, the rest we needed to collect was at hand. The simple but charming church was built. However, we did not have enough money for furnishings.
What to do? A convent about 400 miles away was closing, so two parishioners went there to ask (implore) the Mother Superior for whatever she could give from their chapel. We have lots of great accessories!
However, we still did not have benches. People were seated on rickety folding chairs and a few benches loaned by the main church, but that was nowhere near enough and, of course, looked ugly in this brand new church.
God send a solution
As Providence would have it, I was at the Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles that year. Among the exhibitors, I saw a manufacturer of church furniture.
So I asked one of the vendors, “When a church sets up new pews, what happens to the old ones?” Are they already donated to another location? He said yes, and he promised to put my name on a waiting list.
This blessed man called me several months later. A church under renovation kindly donated its old benches, which were in good condition. Our role was to organize transport.
It meant more fundraising and a lot of logistical issues, but we got there. Hiring this truck and his crew was much cheaper than buying a church full of furniture!
While we did all of this to get furniture for our satellite church, what we got turned out to be a perfect match for the main church. The benches we had were dark wood against a beige interior and were not the right size. We lost a lot of space that we needed to provide more seating.
The new church has dark accents; we realized our benches would look great there and fit well. An exchange solved the problem of furniture in two churches, and we had enough left to furnish our chapel as well. Parishioners in both locations were delighted with the results.
To accomplish this transformation, it was enough to ask the right question of the right person and to apply “good will and energy”. The Lord took over from there. Ask and you will receive.