Where Love Leads to Action
In 2008, when my mom, Marlene Offerle (Co-chair Coats for Kids) asked me to join CCSFW with her, I had no idea that I would one day find myself leading this awesome group of women. At that time, I was busy raising 3 sons ages 8, 11 & 14, ran a household and volunteered a lot for my parish. I had a hard time saying no and I loved it! I did not feel a certain calling to the Christ Child Society. However, I recognized women that were known to be the “doers and shakers” in this small, Catholic group and thought that my talents could be used within the communications of the Chapter. I found a need they had and filled it.
Little did I know, that our Founder Mary Virginia had a motto to find a need and fill it! I was just acting out what my mother had modeled for me with her volunteer work. I followed her and watched how the members and leaders of our Chapter kept the spirit alive in each ministry. Still it took me a while to really understand and be able to practice the motto. By observing the members working diligently for a purpose, I learned over the years to understand and work towards fulfilling Mary Virginia’s mission of seeing the Christ Child in every child.
Last summer, I was asked to represent our Chapter at the National Christ Child Society Conference that was taking place in September in Bethesda, MD. I was going to meet another member there however, I had to fly to Maryland and get to the hotel by myself. Also, staying in a hotel room alone. I was 49 years old and had never done any of that by myself! After a little freakout session with my husband, talking out if I could really do this, I set out to gather all the information, and then some, in order to feel comfortable enough to do this task. I knew that it was going to be an event I would either hate or enjoy. It was up to me to choose which attitude I was going to have… I chose the latter.
I’m not going to tell you every detail about my trip, it would be too long. I survived the whole trip and conference and gained a lot of knowledge about the Christ Child Society and its many Chapters. What I wasn’t expecting was how being in the same city, neighborhoods and houses where Mary Virginia spent her life changing children’s lives for the good would affect me! I left Maryland knowing that I was about to be the next Chapter President for Fort Wayne and I had walked on hollowed ground. It was so moving for me. The scale of the Society that Mary Virginia had built and how many children’s lives had been touched and encouraged by members was powerful. I recognize now that my spirit was being stirred up and I am overflowing with anticipation of my presidency.
I have realized in one month that this job is going to be a challenge at times. I still have a lot to learn about our ministries and the ladies who make up our Chapter. I’m choosing to bring an attitude of openness and respect in order to continue the mission that has been put forth since 1884 and 1997 with our Chapter. Today when I see a child playing or waiting in line to get a new coat, I can see the Christ Child in them and I smile. It is amazing to me that it took this long but then I realize the tagline, “Where love leads to action” does not have a time limit and I have been doing it this whole time! Loving my mom, then loving the members and now loving the children and acting that love out in my daily work with the CCSFW Chapter keeps inspiring me.
I would like you to pray for me and my board of directors that we can be good stewards and that our spirits can be stirred up and flow out to have ripple effects of excitement and renewal that will spread to you and our ministries.
Thank you for all you do for love of the Christ Child!
Tina Bailey, CCSFW President