Carmelita Cosgrove with spouse Wilfred during one of their travels in the 1970s.
Throughout her life, donor Carmelita Cosgrove was inspired by the caring example of others-her grandparents, her parents, and even her neighbours. She attributes her great faith and charitable giving to them.
Establishing an endowment was a goal Carmelita had always wanted to do. When her husband Wilfred was alive, she says, "We hoped to do some nice things that we couldn't afford to do in earlier years." But her husband died young, and so, to honour his memory, Carmelita established an endowment in his name and built it up over four years to meet her commitment. She is very proud of her late husband who joined the army during the Second World War and gave the best years of his life serving his country. He did so willingly and proudly, says Carmelita. They met and married upon his return from the war. The couple had six children, four sons living and two little girls who died early-the first, at eight days old, and the youngest, at two and a half years. Carmelita is grateful that God sent them their two little daughters even for a brief time. Her sons' names are Thomas Michael, Francis Joseph, James Gerard, and John Dufferin, and her two girls, Mary Catherine and Mary Alma.
Carmelita was raised in a deeply Catholic household, with her grandparents living with them as she and her siblings grew up. "My grandparents lived their Catholic faith to the fullest. They were always giving and sharing with others and with neighbours or friends who were sick or in need." Even when times were tough, her grandmother would cook a dinner and take it to a neighbour in need-she was a great example to young Carmelita. Her parents lived in much the same way. Her dad was a reeve of the township and in his job knew people who were in need and would find a way to help them. Carmelita and her siblings saw these selfless examples of giving and caring.
Her husband, who also came from a large family, had always shown compassion for others. "He was very unselfish, and made sacrifices to give to others."
Another significant influence on Carmelita was a neighbour who was a nurse. When Carmelita's young sister was bedridden with double pneumonia, this neighbour came on her own time and took care of her sister. The neighbour's generosity inspired Carmelita to become a nurse.
Goodness begets goodness is a running thread in Carmelita's story. Funding an endowment with Catholic Missions In Canada gives her a good feeling, says Carmelita. "We can share what we have with those in our mission communities who are in much need." An endowment, she believes, will help our Canadian missions and will keep on doing so long after she is gone.
Toronto Bishop Robert Clune was president of The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada (the name Catholic Missions In Canada was known by then) when Carmelita first became aware of the good work of the organization. Not being able to serve as a missionary herself, she felt she could help by supporting Catholic Church Extension, and in this way, allow her to do God's missionary work.
Carmelita is grateful to her family for setting a great example of always giving of themselves.
"My parents both worked hard. They were not rich, but they always gave if they knew of a need for help."