A Gift Beyond Price

A lesson on how those with the least give the greatest gifts

By Rev. Joseph Gosselin, M.S.

October 12, 2021 | 40 Years 40 Lessons

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“When he looked up, he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest, for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.’” (Luke 21:1-4)

Sponsors help those in developing countries who need an assist to move out of poverty. That includes children, young adults and the elderly. Our sponsors in Unbound do tremendous good for thousands upon thousands of people.

We can also learn so much from those we help. One thing I’ve learned is that generosity isn’t always a byproduct of wealth. Those with little can be extraordinarily generous.

Embracing the most vulnerable 

One day, while visiting a very poor family in Cuernavaca, Mexico, I was taken aback by the sparseness of their tiny home. There was only one bed, a table with two benches and a couple of chairs. That was it. Three children were playing on the dirt floor.

Running out of conversation, I asked awkwardly and dumbly of the mother, “And Regina, what do you do on your day off?” (Did I expect her to say she played golf or something?) She answered without hesitation, “Father, I take care of the poor.”

Dumbfounded by her answer, I squeaked out, “Could you give me an example?”

She looked at me and quietly said, “Last year an elderly woman came into our yard and she had no place to go for she had been abandoned. I felt so badly for her that I asked my husband if we could take her in. He agreed. We gave her our ‘matrimonial’ bed and we slept on the floor until she died a year and a half later. Then we gave her a Christian burial.”

The majesty of hospitality 

I was so moved, I had a lump in my throat as I looked out at the poverty of her home. I couldn’t help but blurt out, “Regina, your name means queen and you will always be queen of my heart. I shall never forget you.” To this day, I never have.

What greatness and magnanimity of soul and spirit! I never knew that such charity and love existed.

We can also learn so much from those we help. One thing I’ve learned is that generosity isn’t always a byproduct of wealth. Those with little can be extraordinarily generous.

— Father Joseph Gosselin , Preacher for Unbound

Photo 1: With the help of an Unbound social worker, members of a community in Guatemala work together to repopulate a nearby forest. Care for their common environment has become a major initiative in many Unbound communities. 

Photo 2: At a meeting of the Unbound Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) in Kenya, Millicent, the mother of a sponsored child and a SACCO officer, reads a report. Microlending has allowed women in Unbound communities around the world to help each other. 

Photo 3: Isadora, right, is sponsored as well as an Unbound scholarship recipient. She lives in Chile where she’s working toward a degree in computer science. As part of her community service, Isadora teaches sponsored elders like Carmen, left, basic computer skills. 

Photo 4: As part of Unbound’s Agents of Change initiative, which provides funds for local needs, members of a flood-prone community in the Philippines purchased life jackets to distribute to residents. From left are community leaders Maria, Angelina, Zenaida and Emedio. 

About the author:

Father Joseph Gosselin is a priest of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette. He has extensive experience serving in missions throughout the economically developing world and has also served as pastor in several U.S. parishes. Father Gosselin has preached on behalf of Unbound since 2013.