Early March seems to be a time for gifting to St. Anthony’s. This entry appears in the House Chronicle on March 7, 1951:

Machinery for Cobblers  Fraters Cassian and Carmel, the local cobblers, were all aglow when they heard they were getting new machinery for their Sandal Shop. Well, it’s not exactly new. A stitcher and polisher and a tacker were laying idle at St. Benedict’s Mission and Fr. Edmund offered them to us. Br. Ronald rode down with one of the local merchants on Mar. 7th to get it. The big problem now is where to put it. It is too long for the cobbler shop. “Don’t worry,” says fr. Cassian, “We’ll think of something.”

Seventy years later, almost to the day, St. Anthony’s received another gift that left us aglow. In the role of Fr. Edmund arranging the donation was one of our deaconate students from the Diocese. Instead of cobbler’s machinery, which we would struggle to find a use for (though JustBob might be willing to learn), we were given two HP color laser printers, complete with more than a baker’s dozen of new toner cartridges. In the role of Br. Ronald and the local merchant we had two more deaconate students who pitched in to unload the rather bulky and very heavy units from the truck and walk them up the ramp into the house. The printers are rather large, but like the friars said, there is no need to worry, we’ll think of something. With this gift, we will be able to reduce the cost we pay for our color copier significantly and still produce the copies we need for retreat flyers, handouts and worship aids.

Now these printers and toner cartridges are far from the only gifts we have received of late, and we would be remiss if we did not mention some of the others that have kept us afloat in this strange and challenging time. Our donors were amazingly supportive throughout 2020 and in giving to our year-end Annual Appeal. In a year where many struggled with their own finances, our faithful donors came through in a big way to help us meet our financial needs during a difficult year and as we moved forward into 2021.

In addition, we were blessed to receive two grants. Late last year, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse gave St. Anthony’s a “Seeding a Legacy of Healing” grant. Their community’s generosity funded technology upgrades needed for virtual programming and will support our program development for years to come. The grant will allow us to carry on their legacy of healing and hope along with our mission of providing opportunities for deeper connection with God, Self, Others, and Creation.

The second grant was from the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin through their COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Because of their generosity we were able to purchase four handheld electrostatic sprayers along with four extra tanks and a supply of disinfectant solution. The E-spray system enables us to not only disinfect against COVID-19, but many other pathogens as well.

These gifts, as significant as they are, represent only a drop in the ocean of generosity poured out by the community of St. Anthony’s supporters over the more than 101 years of our existence. They can’t help but leave us aglow with joy and gratitude.

For the ocean of generosity, filled with gifts large and small, old and new, in cash and in kind, in goods and in services, we say Deo Gratias!