Oseola McCarty was born in 1908 in Wayne County, Mississippi. Known as a washerwoman, she spent her entire life washing and ironing. She left school in the sixth grade to take care of her grandmother so that her mother, Lucy, could continue to work.
On July 26, 1995, Oseola, single with no children of her own, donated $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi scholarship program. “I want to help somebody’s child go to college,” she said.
When asked how this started, Oseola explained, “I would go to school and come home and iron. I’d put money away and save it. When I got enough, I went to First Mississippi National Bank and put it in. The teller told me it would be best to put it in a savings account. I didn’t know. I just kept on saving.”
Oseola reminds me of the woman that Jesus commends for giving abundantly out of her few possessions. This kind of faith and vision is often overlooked today because we are impressed by celebrities and big fortunes, but it is not the size of the gift that makes the impression, it is the faithfulness.
This message was adapted from “What a Gift!” a post on the Women of the ELCA blog, written by Valora Starr.