Giving a stamp of support

Who would ever think that the stamp on your birthday card could help the poor and underserved. Well, it can, and the retired sisters of Saint Mary’s College make it happen.

Begun in the early 1970s by the late Holy Cross Sister M. Diomera McCue, the stamp program supports the order’s ministries with the poor, especially women and children, throughout the world. More than 25 senior women clip, launder, dry and press canceled stamps, which are sold to various stamp dealers who in turn sell them to stamp collectors.

Claude Renshaw, a retired Saint Mary’s accounting professor, also gives his time and talent to this outreach.

“I decided about a year ago that I was going to do some volunteer work with the sisters and talked to Lee Ann Moore, who is the coordinator of all volunteers at Saint Mary’s Convent. In her interview with me, I brought up that I was a stamp collector and had been one ever since I was a kid. Right away she knew the stamp room would be a good match,” Renshaw said.

Sister M. Jane Chantal Method, who recently took over the management of the ministry, knew Renshaw.

“The day I agreed to manage the Stamp Room Ministry a few months ago, I met Claude,” she said. “When I told him about my new role, he enthusiastically offered to help. He is in charge of the sale of our stamps, both at the South Bend area Stamp Club meetings and to local and distant stamp collectors and dealers.”

Sister Jane’s responsibility is to make the ministry effective. Assisted by Sister M. Carlita Hammes, she makes sure that there is always a supply of stamps, that they are properly identified, processed, sorted, stored or sold. She is accountable to Sister M. Rose Edward Goodrow, who directs the congregation’s development office.

“The stamp program has been a great gift to our congregation,” Sister Rose said. “The proceeds from the sale of canceled stamps assists us in supporting the works of the Ministry With the Poor. The preparation of these stamps for sale gives great opportunity for our sisters and numerous volunteers to be a part of the ministry. We appreciate our donors efforts to save the stamps and support us in this congregational ministry.”

Without donations there would be no ministry. Donated stamps and collections arrive at Saint Mary’s from all over the world. They come from sisters serving abroad, college alumnae, the University of Notre Dame, schools, businesses, families and friends of Holy Cross, etc.

Recently Holy Cross Father Christopher Kuhn, the Indiana Province Archivist, gifted the Stamp Room with over 40 boxes of collections from deceased Holy Cross brothers and priests. He has shared his knowledge and is a member of the Stamp Club.

There is an old saying that when you need a volunteer, ask a busy person. Sister Jane fits in that category.

“I agreed to take this position as Manager of the Stamp Room because the Stamp Room would have to be closed if no one agreed to take charge,” she said. “I knew little or nothing about stamps or stamp collecting, but having been a missionary in Africa for many years, I had appreciated the benefits of the Ministry to the Poor Fund. I also value the opportunity that so many of our sisters, families, friends and associates have experienced by being involved so directly in ministry to the poor. I thought I knew how to organize and how to delegate and I was assured that I could continue my present ministry to our sisters here at Saint Mary’s. Little did I imagine all that was involved in the Stamp Room Ministry. Somehow, through the generosity and assistance of so many dedicated friends and co-workers, the stamp ministry is flourishing.”

Anyone interested in donating may send stamps to Sister Jane Chantal, Stamp Room—Augusta Hall, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Sister Jane can be reached at (574) 284-5675 or (574) 284-5704. For guidelines, visit

Holy Cross Sister Margie Lavonis lives in Notre Dame, Ind. Contact her at