Jim and Mary Claus – Committed to Supporting Future Parish Priests

Jim Claus and his wife Mary have been supporters of Mundelein Seminary for many years. For National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 19-25), they have graciously shared their story with us in hopes of inspiring others to consider planning for the future and supporting the next generation of parish priests in their estate plans.

Jim first connected with the seminary in 1963 when he visited the seminary with a group of friends from St. Norbert’s Parish. He fondly remembers being impressed with the beautiful campus, especially the gymnasium, swimming pool and even setting bowling pins in the bowling alley! Years later, Jim and his wife had the good fortune of becoming friends with Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and they enjoyed dinners with him at his home on Mundelein Seminary’s campus.

After all these years, Jim and Mary have made lifelong friends through the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary community. In addition, they support the mission of Mundelein because of the impact they see in forming parish priests to serve the Church for future generations. Read the following Q&A with Jim to learn more about his earnest support and past involvement with the seminary.

What caused you to support Mundelein Seminary?
I became involved with the Celebration of Mundelein and the Rector’s Classic Golf Outing more than 25 years ago and continued to come back to Chicago for those annual events, even though Mary and I have lived in Connecticut for 28 years. Chicago is still home to us, and I was fortunate to be in a position that brought us back here frequently, so we did not lose touch with the seminary and the Chicago Catholic community that we love. 

What about our mission appeals to you?
Many of our closest friends are alumni of Mundelein Seminary. We cannot think of any more important mission than to help with the formation of parish priests. These men guide us and are together with us at the most special times in our lives—for baptism and marriage or for the anointing of the sick.

What or who inspired you to include Mundelein Seminary in your estate plans?
I joined the Board of Advisors in 2012 and became chair of the Development Committee. Working closely with the staff, I was aware of the many benefits of establishing a charitable gift annuity.* (Please see below to learn more about these benefits.) As Mary and I further reflected, we have been really blessed and wanted to support the Catholic organizations closest to us now and in the future, so we included Mundelein Seminary in our estate plans as well.

What are your hopes for your generous gifts?
While serving on the board, I know that the rector, staff and board are diligent in managing their finances and pay close attention to the capital needs and have a process to assess priorities. This gives Mary and me great confidence in providing future support for whatever are the greatest needs to take care of the seminary formation programs and assets in the future.

*There are many benefits to donors who elect to establish a charitable gift annuity.  You can receive dependable, guaranteed income for life, regardless of fluctuations in the market.  In many cases, the annuity payments a donor can receive now will be higher than the interest they could receive from savings accounts, CDs or other investments with today’s low interest rates.  You can receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the gift and a portion of the annuity payments will be tax-free.  Best of all, you can make an impactful gift to support the formation of our future parish priests!

To learn more, please contact Jim Jarocki, Senior Director of Development Operations, at jjarocki@usml.edu or 847-970-4841.

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