Donor Story – Vernetta Haywood
As Joe Berghausen and I pulled up to the suburban house outside of New Orleans we were immediately an object of interest. I was in my Franciscan habit which attracted some dumbfounded stares from people on the street, including the grandsons of Vernetta Haywood, the donor we were visiting.
When Vernetta opened the door, she was pleasantly surprised to see us and she immediately engaged us in lively conversation as we thanked her for her support and gave her a small gift. A slight and graceful lady, Vernetta’s outward appearance belied the many crosses that she has had to bear the past few years: the deaths of two of her children, one of whom had been murdered, her daughter’s battle with cancer, as well as her own health scare which necessitated open-heart surgery. Our visit allowed her to give voice to these burdens and as she spoke so lovingly of the children who have been taken from her all too young she said, “I feel as if a heavy weight has been lifted from me by your visit.” Our visit was a consolation to her, and meeting her made my first trip to visit our donors and friends in Louisiana and Texas, all the more poignant. I thought to myself, “Consolation…this is what we are all about.” Despite the major challenges Vernetta has faced, she holds true to her faith in our Lord, and she generously helps us in our ministry.